My friend Ashley and I have a wonderful little tradition of hanging out at her place in the middle of the week, eating takeout on the floor in front of the TV, and watching The Bachelor. This week, while deciding via texting what we wanted to eat, she mentioned she didn’t really want Subway. Ashley’s one of my best friends, and she knows that Subway is usually my default choice. However, I told her I’m just not into it anymore. When I was in Australia I think I had it like twice, and when I got back the jalapeno chips had changed their recipe and it all lost its charm like a road trip at the second gas station. Here’s the story of how the disenchantment began, which I wrote about a year ago for a little webzine that posts food rants (they didn’t take it):
“RIP: Subway Wheat Wraps”
I have a confession: I’m a Subway addict.
It started innocently enough. In college, I defied my meal plan every Sunday night, treating myself to a post-workout Subway meal while turning my nose up at the cafeteria’s traditional Sabbath offerings: Cajun shrimp (yup, with that dark line of waste still running down the middle of their backs) or Chicken Nantucket (that’s a veiny chicken breast with lumpy shrimp gravy ladled over it). I would settle on the floor, with my back resting against my bottom bunk and my Subway feast spread out before me, indulging in my one hour of TV that week with the episode of Gilmore Girls I had recorded earlier on my television/VCR combo. After six days of cafeteria meals, nothing tasted quite so good as that toasted parmesean oregano bread, hugging a few meager slices of roast beef, provolone cheese, and yellow mustard. My small pile of jalapeno chips and rationed Diet Coke were the sandwich’s perfect companions.
My first year out of college, I was living on my own with a kitchen that did not double as my bathroom, and I wasn’t really sure what to do about it. I remember my first few ambitious trips to the grocery store, daring to buy a few fixings for meals that weren’t completely pre-prepared. After a couple weeks of coming home and not wanting to deal with it or embarrass myself in front of my roommates as I bumbled my way through a self-taught Cooking 101, I succumbed to visiting the local Subway at least three times a week. The white-bearded manager, Domingo, would act so happy to see me and send me off with a heavily accented, “See you tomorrow, yes?”
However, as the months went on, my sandwich tastes got a little fancy, a little daring. By the Golden Age of my addiction, I was ordering a roast beef wheat wrap, with crumbled feta cheese, spicy deli mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, green peppers, and avocado, doused with a few good shakes of black pepper (okay, more than a few. One time I made an employee sneeze). Oh, those were the days, methodically rotating through the meal: one bite of the wrap, one jalapeno chip, one swig of Diet Coke.
Then one hateful day, I came home NEEDING a Subway fix. When I asked for my wrap, all smiles, the employee in the green visor slapped town a white flour tortilla. “Um…where are the regular wraps? …You don’t have those anymore? …They’ve been DISCONTINUED?! …Never coming back, you say? …Mind if I come back there behind the counter and stick my head in the bread oven?” That night, as I slowly chewed my sandwich, wrapped in a dry white tortilla, I knew life would never be the same.
Oh my GOSH I’m such a nerd.
P.S. The title of this post reminds me of a little story: When I was in Mexico we painted a church and sometimes I would just put in my iPod and get lost in Matisyahu’s Youth. My team member, Trevor, would also listen to his iPod but he usually listened to sermons. It took me about a day to figure out that’s what he was listening to, which helped me understand why he would randomly say “Amen” or chuckle every few minutes. Anyway, at one point I was on a ladder , and Trevor was right under where I was painting. I casually said, “Trevor, I’m over you,” so he would be aware of dripping paint and whatnot. Then we continued to work silently with our earbuds in. Later, I found out that the rest of the team had heard my words and found them hilarious, and made up a whole story about how I was a cold-hearted biotch breaking up with poor Trev in 4 words. Hee…