My breakfasts are pretty standard and routine. I have a cup of coffee, a banana, and either a bowl of oatmeal or a yogurt. Sometimes I even throw a glass of OJ in there if I am feeling rebellious.
This morning, I forgot to throw a yogurt in my bag and when I got to work I realized I was all out of oatmeal. I looked at the lone banana on my desk and sadly realized it still wasn’t ripe enough for me to eat.
Le sigh. I was thinking of just skipping breakfast all together because it was already 9:00 and the wind in DC today is brutal. I’m talking bone-chilling, tornado-like winds that beat the breath out of you. I could go without food until lunch. As I am thinking this, my stomach starts to object. It started as a low growl that quickly turned into an angry grumble. I felt my stomach punch me from the inside letting me know that if I didn’t feed it soon it would rip my insides out.
So I made the executive decision to run across the street to Au Bon Pain for a breakfast sandwich. The place was packed. I almost turned around and left because the food isn’t good enough for me to wait in a 15 minute line. I also didn’t want to brave the freezing tornado outside and my stomach drop kicked me as a reminder that it needed sustenance… NOW. So I grudgingly stood behind 6 people and waited very impatiently for it to be my turn to order.
The woman at the counter looked at me and asked what I wanted over the heads of the 6 people in front of me. A jumble of thoughts run through my head: “Did I just win a door prize?” “Am I the next winner of One Million Dollars?! Man these people in front of me were going to be pissed!” “Should I back away slowly since the camera crew will jump out at any second and I don’t need that extra 10 pounds the camera adds for the world to see?”
Instead, I look at the people in front of me and politely ask them if they had already ordered. They all said they had and my fantasy of winning big at the local Au Bon Pain evaporated quicker than a puddle of water in the Sahara Desert. I was still poor.
“I would like an Egg White and Cheddar with Turkey Sausage on a Plain Bagel, please.” The lady behind the counter looked relieved. A smile slowly spread across her face and she told me she would have that right out. The girl working the toaster oven behind her asked if it was another Salmon order and she told her that it wasn’t and even added a “Thank God” at the end of her sentence.
As I am waiting, the lady behind the counter makes an announcement, “For everyone who has ordered and still waiting, we are just waiting on more Salmon from the back. It will probably be another 5 minutes or so.” She then reaches over the counter with my sandwich and says, “I don’t know why we have so many Salmon orders today.” I laugh and take my sandwich. A lady right next to me pipes up and says, “Because it is Friday and it’s Lent. People should not be eating meat today. It’s disrespectful.” She glances at me with a look of disgust. Why lady? Why did you have to pick me to say that next to? Do you want to be throat punched today? Why did you take that chance? Now I have to waste my breath on your judgmental ass.
“Excuse me?” I ask. She then proceeds to tell me again that it’s Lent. Everyone is ordering Salmon because nobody eats meat on Fridays during Lent. I calmly cleared my throat and said, “Well, I am not Catholic and I don’t participate in Lent. I don’t give up anything because I don’t have too.” She told me that was my prerogative.
“Yes, it is my prerogative. And it’s none of your business what I choose to eat or what anyone else chooses to eat. Even if I was Catholic and decided on sausage for breakfast on a Friday, it has nothing to do with you. Making snide remarks and casting judgmental glares in my direction is also something you probably shouldn’t be doing as a Catholic, but you seem to only follow the rules you want to follow. Enjoy your Salmon for breakfast. And tonight, when you are having tilapia over rice, I will be sinking my teeth into a very juicy Cheeseburger. I hope you think of me tonight. Have a nice day.”
Some old guy actually started to clap when I was finished. The other Salmon-ordering Catholics looked at me like I was the Devil. I assume I offended them. Mission Accomplished.
Side note: My turkey sausage was delicious.
Another Side note: Let it be known that I am well aware of the fact that it is not only the Catholics who observe Lent. There are many other forms of Christianity that choose to participate in Lent as well. However, it is more widely observed and discussed in the Catholic community than in any other.
And Another Side note: Don’t get this message twisted. I have zero beef with Catholics and Lent (you see what I did there? LOLOLOL). I only have issues with those that think they have a right to tell me what I can or cannot eat on a Friday. Or any other day for that matter. K. Thanks. Bye.