I arrive at Harris-Teeter. The automatic doors bring a rush of air upon me when I walk in. I pause for a moment to ponder what I might buy to eat. A glimmer of hope rushes through my head as I think “It’s not so late that I couldn’t get some fresh sushi.”
Passing all manner of fruits and vegetables, I rushed pass the deli to a booth beside the bakery – where they cut up fresh sushi.
I press my hands on the glass to see a California Roll. “That’s the one!” I think to myself. My mouth salivates at the mere sight of it.
A middle-aged Asian woman is behind the counter. She is speaking to an associate, and they seem to be enjoying themselves. I make eye contact with her and gesture “hello” with my hand, as I ask for assistance.
In what I can only say was a stereotypical Asian accent, the woman looks at me and says, “No. No.”
Before I have time to ask what she meant by that – she motions to her friend and they walk to an area behind the counter that I cannot see. I ask someone else for assistance, and they tell me to ask the Asian woman behind the counter. “I’ve already tried that!” I respond.
“Oh okay!” The associate says. He walks behind the sushi counter – I presume to deliver me a California Roll. Instead – he just looks around and says, “Sorry. I can’t find her.” Then he walks off.
I stand there beside of the glass with the sushi taunting me. With no one willing to give it to me – I walk away.
I look over to the sub area to see if there are any sandwiches prepared for purchase. I don’t see any – but I do see another associate behind the sub counter. It’s a tall man, and he is washing his hands.
I begin to open my mouth to ask for his assistance, but before I can he says, “Sorry. This station is closed.” He dries his hands, and then walks away.
Again – my hopes were dashed, and I start to wonder if I will ever have anything for dinner. My blood feels like its boiling. Between Amanda on the phone, the Sushi lady ignoring me, and the sub guy closing his station right in front of me, I’m seriously on edge.
I quickly look to my left and right to see where I can get something fresh – anything. Then I see the deli man cutting meat.
I literally run the 60 feet that separates me and the meat cutter. “HEY YOU!” I declare. “You going to close on me too?” The man looks a bit shocked that I ask this. He’s older and has a very kind face.
“Why no, sir, and I would love to help you.” His timid kindness makes me regret the authoritative tone I used to ask for his help. A bit humbler I continue my search for food.
“Well good then! What do you got? I’m starving!” I said.
“Umm, well. We have all kinds of deli meats…” I cut him off before he can finish.
“Whatever is on sale – I’ll take it.” I just wanted something to eat right now so I didn’t want to examine all the options. “Just give me whatever special you have.”
“The best I can offer you is a pound of honey man. If you don’t buy it by the pound – it’s going to be a dollar more.” He tells me trying to make sure I take the deal.
“That’ll do me fine.” I tell him.
It felt like weeks were passing as he cut the ham. Suddenly – he stops. “Hey! I forgot to ask. Do you want thick cuts or thin cuts?”
“Thin is fine. I’m just in a hurry sir, so whatever you can…” Before I can finish, he cuts me off.
“Well shoot! I done cut it thick. Don’t worry about it though!” He tosses the thick cuts of ham to the side.
I protest. “No that’s fine. I’ll take it! I’ll take it!”
“Sir! I won’t let you compromise because I didn’t ask. You just wait right there.” He continues to cut at what feels like a glacial pace.
So I do what I should have done a very long time ago – I just stop, take a deep breath, and then patiently wait on my pound of ham.
Finally – he finishes. He hands me the meat – after he puts the sticker price on it.
He is very surprised when I just open the bag up he just sealed and start eating the ham in the store. With a perplexed look on his face – he waves goodbye and says “Have a nice day, sir!”
The ham feels very greasy – but it’s no matter. I put this glorious moment of triumph in my mouth. With each bite of the ham – I feel my hunger subsiding. I am relishing every single sweet, greasy, savory bite – thanking God for even the pigs that were sacrificed so that I could have this delicious experience.
I pay for the meat, and I began my walk home.