Wednesday, September 6, 2017. Richard had to have Mohs surgery on his left cheek this morning. Not THAT cheek, the one on his face, where a squamous cell carcinoma had recently been identified. We got up at 7:00 a.m., dressed, and left for the doctor’s office, where the procedure would take place at 8:00. We did this 10 days ago as well, but on that day we arrived at the doctor’s office to learn the doctor had called in sick for only the second time anyone could remember.
Today the surgery was a go. Richard had been prohibited from eating, so I left to get some breakfast at the nearby Starbuck’s at Markham and University in the Midtowne Shopping Center. I could get one of their breakfast sandwiches to go, along with a latte and head back to operation central.
After a short wait, I placed my Starbuck’s order: a bacon, gouda, and egg breakfast sandwich and a grande, decaf, non-fat latte. An easy order for professionals, right? Hmmm…
“We’re out of lids for the grande cups. Are you okay without a lid?”
“No, not really.” I was sure to have coffee all over the car before I got back to the doctor’s office.
“Well, we could put it in two tall cups, each with a lid.” Why are the small cups called “tall”?
“Sounds a little awkward, but okay.”
“Or you could buy a venti.”
“No, I don’t want a venti. Just do the two-cup thing.”
As the clerk rang up the order, the barista leaned over and said, “I’m going to give you Pike, okay? We’re out of decaf expresso.”
“Yeah, Pike Place Roast. Coffee not espresso.”
“You know what? I have to keep making decisions. Just cancel the order.”
“Holiday,” someone else from behind the counter chimed in. Trucks are late with our order.”
“The holiday was Monday,” I said on my way out. “Order more stuff before the next holiday.”
I wish I had thought to say, “And offer to put the next grande in one venti cup instead of two tall cups,” but oh, well.
Back in the car I had a brainstorm and drove to the Dunkin’ Donuts on Cantrell Road. They have lattes, and my mouth started watering just thinking about a chocolate-frosted, raised donut or better yet a chocolate-covered Boston Kreme. So much better than a bacon, gouda, and egg sandwich heated in a microwave, I thought.
Inside the DD, I ordered the latte—medium, decaf, non-fat, and all was well until I looked at the donut selection. Not a chocolate-covered anything in sight! “No, we sold out of chocolate early,” the young girl explained. Geesh! It was just 8:20! I couldn’t get excited about any donut that was left.
Back in the parking lot I spied a Subway that had a lighted, “Open” sign and a poster touting breakfast in the window. I pulled out my phone to check out the Subway breakfast menu and nutrition chart. If I couldn’t have donuts, I might as well try to eat a little healthy, and there it was, a 6-inch, egg and cheese, folded-over, flatbread sandwich, a mere 380 calories, probably less than a donut! And I could add some healthy toppings! Sounded perfect, IF I couldn’t have the donut of my dreams.
I was the only customer in the Subway, and the one employee, a slight woman of about 45, was cleaning away—always a good sign. I ordered the sandwich and was sideswiped with this:
“Vite oo veet?”
“Vite oo veet?”
I was clueless. My shoulders went up, and a long “aaaaaa” came out.
“Vite oo veet?” she said again, but now she pointed to the glass-doored oven where the bread was baked behind her.
“Oh, white or wheat. I don’t want that bread. I want the flatbread thingy.”
“Yes, flatbread, vite or veet?”
“Oh, white or wheat flatbread?” She nodded. “Wheat, please.”
“Sees oo twel?”
I’m sure I gave her the open-mouthed stare of non-comprehending lunacy.
“Sees?” she asked, followed by showing her hands about six inches apart. “Twel?” as her hands moved farther apart.
“Oh, yes!” I said with the joy of understanding. “Six inches!” Hooray, hooray, I was back on board.
The lady turned around and got a piece of unappetizing-looking flatbread from a place behind her, and she turned back to me. “Vite oo yellow?” Good Night Nurse! What the heck did she want from me now?
“Igs. Vite oo yellow?” I wondered if every day went like this all day, repeating undecipherable words to the confused and hungry. I understood the white or yellow, but “igs”? She got me again.
“Igs?” I repeated, and she pointed to one of those stainless steel containers on the buffet of staples and toppings behind the glass sneeze shield in front of me. It contained round white things and round yellow things about the size of a saucer. “Eggs!” I shouted in glee. “Yellow,” I calmly replied.
Next she gestured to the buffet. Such a relief, I had this one! “Please add some tomato, some spinach, and a few (accompanied by three fingers held aloft) banana peppers.” I was going to eat after all!
“Ot oo no?”
Crap! What now? Oh, she was pointing to the oven, microwave, toaster, whatever that thing was! “Hot, please.”
I was exhausted!
While I waited for the hot, finished product, a really big guy came in, and the lady started to take his order. “Vite oo veet?” she asked.
He leaned toward her as if he hadn’t heard her. “Vite or veet?” she patiently repeated. How does she keep this calm?
Nowhere near as patient, I jumped in, “White or wheat bread.”
“Oh, thanks,” he said to me. “Wheat,” he told her.
The bell dinged, and she retrieved my sandwich. “Ear oo go?” she said pointing to the door. Charades, so much more effective!
“Here,” I said as I handed her the credit card. It would be cold if I took it back to the doctor’s office. She wrapped up the sandwich and rang up the payment. I had survived!
I sat down with the weight of the world now off my shoulders, when I heard her say, “Vite oo yellow?”
“Egg whites or whole eggs,” I tossed over my shoulder to the big guy who once again is thankful for the help.
One bite of the sandwich and I knew I had made a mistake with the veet flatbread. It tasted like cardboard. Other than that it was a nice breakfast.
Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll go for the vite flatbread and probably a different Subway location!
On a positive note, Richard’s surgery went very well as did the plastic surgery which followed the Mohs, and that was a relief, much larger than the thrill of getting a Subway breakfast sandwich!