Our Daily Battles.

Sometimes, in the morning, I visit the deli across the street from where I work and order two eggs with cheese. The army of men working behind the counter can’t seem to get my orders right but because I’m not sure where else to go, I continue my patronage.

“I’d like two eggs scrambled with cheese. That’s it. I don’t want any meat. No roll. No carne.”

“Two eggs with cheese on a roll?”

“No. I don’t want a roll. Just the eggs. Scrambled.”

“Ok.”

I walk away from the counter and give someone else a turn. From behind the line, I watch the man crack my eggs, beat them in a metal bowl, and dump them out onto the grill.

At this point, I decide that it’s safe to grab water and some soy crisps for later. I do so. I return a few minutes later and wait.

“Egg and cheese on a roll!”

The guy I spoke to earlier is standing before me holding a wrapped sandwich in his hands. He’s holding it above the counter, dangling it in the air. I can see hovering above everyone else’s head.

Now, I know I could take the sandwich and remove the eggs once I get to work. After all, that’s what he does. (He also adds the tainted roll BACK in line with the other waiting buns. I often leave wondering about the cleanliness of the establisment.)

I choose to tell the man about his error.

“I said NO ROLL. I just want the eggs.”

We’re all given choices. And that’s when I decide that what he chooses to do is the wrong choice. Because, on this particular occasion, he chooses to argue with me.

“No. You asked for egg and cheese on a roll.”

He begins to remove the egg and cheese from the bun. He tosses the bun back and sends the container skidding across the counter.

I turn to leave. As I’m waiting in line at another counter to pay, I watch a tall man walk in through the front door, grab a 16-ounce can of beer, and casually move away from the deli. While he’s hurried, he’s not hurried enough. I see him open the can of Miller Hi-Life and take a long pull from it.

At first, I think that I must have imagined this. And then it occurs to me that someone must be filming a movie. I work right next to Grand Central Station, certainly this was a scene in a movie. Surely, this guy didn’t just steal a can of Miller Hi-Life.

The guy just stole a can of beer.

It’s not 9 AM, yet. I find I’m more annoyed with the fact that someone feels the need to drink that early in the morning than I am with the actual crime. For me, the dive is the crime. I’m left wondering what, if anything, I should do.

I begin to reason. The guy behind the counter is constantly screwing up my order and my eggs and he is often rude about it. But the ALL-Asian female workforces up front are usually very sweet. Plus, they’re easy on the eyes. I immediately feel sorry for them because this outsider is getting away with their 16-Ounce beer. What if they are responsible for stolen merchandise? What if it comes out of their pockets? Should I tell the sweet Asian woman about the 9 AM beer thief?

I’m not sure what to do. But I do know this: in the time it has taken me to decide, the guy is long gone. Way to act, Michele.

“Hi. Yeah. I just saw a guy walk in and steal a beer from the ice bin up front. Not that you can chase him down, but you might want to reconsider storing the beer up front like that.”

The woman is confused. She looks hurt and flustered or maybe just confused. She runs out from behind the counter and looks toward the front where the remaining cans of beer have fallen in their comrade’s place.

The woman makes a sound. Alone, she’s powerless. That realization becomes clear by the look on her face. She gets back behind the counter. She gets back in line. She mutters something in another language. I have no idea if it’s directed to me or if she’s merely blowing off steam. We have our money exchange and I’m off.

Today, I went back to the deli to order my eggs. Like choreographed cast members, the same staff is in place. I wait for my turn to order.

More and more people file in. I try to enlarge myself, fluff my feathers so they know that I am first, that I haven’t ordered my eggs yet. Finally, it’s my turn.

“Good morning. I’ll have two eggs scrambled. No roll. Just two eggs in a container. I want cheese and NO meat.”

The guy says something to the other guy in Spanish. I watch them crack my eggs, beat them in a metal bowl, and dump them onto the flattop below. I walk away to retrieve a yogurt for later.

“Here you go ma’am!”

The guy is holding a wrapped sandwich in his hands. It dangles in the air. I take a deep breath.

“I said NO ROLL. I just want the eggs.”

The man in front of me turns around and looks at me. A very masculine woman is standing on his left. They do not know each other. If she had her way, she’d have him vanish. Her only concern is with when she gets to order. She’s visibly agitated.

The guy behind the counter looks annoyed with me, like it’s all my fault they can’t seem to get this right each and every day. Suddenly, I want to scream, “SOMEONE IS STEALING YOUR BEER! SO, HA!” But I don’t.

Instead, I mutter to myself.

“Every day. Every day. I am not sure how else to say it.”

Both the agitated lesbian and the man in front of me turn around and start to laugh. It’s clear that the woman needed to laugh because she is suddenly very pleasant. They both nod in agreement. The Lesbian woman begins to talk to me.

“Next time, order a bun. Really. They’ll get it right if you order the bun.”

I walk to the check-out counter; I do the usual dance with the Asian woman. We exchange monies and deliver pleasantries. I walk toward the ice coolers and nod at the 16-ounce beer cans. I notice the Miller Hi-Life aluminum army has fallen in on themselves once again. Like wounded soldiers, they appear to sigh along with me.

13 Comments

  1. Print out a sign that says, in gigantic letters, “EGGS AND CHEESE ONLY. NO MEAT, NO ROLL.”

    When they take your order, hold it up while you say what’s on it. When you get to the front, and they claim you are lying, hold up the sign and kick em in the nuts.

    Reply

  2. I can’t reach their nuts! I think I will try another deli. Lord knows, there are hundreds of them up in these parts.

    Reply

  3. another deli for sure!

    Reply

  4. I went back out there for lunch. Didn’t order from them, but I took some pictures of the crime scene. I added it above. Enjoy! Tomorrow, I’ll include images of them f’in up my eggs

    Reply

  5. How about a cheese omelette?

    Reply

  6. Oh my god, you are a freaking genius. Actually, question: Do they add milk to omlete eggs? Inquiring lactose intolerant minds wish to know.

    Reply

  7. I don’t think you have to … I know I add milk, but only a couple tablespoons. You could say “cheese omelette with NO MILK IN IT!! Sin leche!!”

    BTW, one benefit of working in the boonies is that I have a colleague who raises chickens. She gave me a dozen FRESH, farm-raised eggs the other day (they’re a beautiful brown). I think I’ll make an omelette for dinner tonight. She told me that many eggs bought in supermarkets can be 4-6 weeks old. I can’t wait to see what a fresh egg tastes like.

    Reply

  8. btw, i was in town yesterday for a series of meetings at the company office on the ave of americas near 23rd street. i thought about you guys, but didn’t have time to see anyone, as i had an 8pm flight outta jfk to get home (arrived at 7:30 am).

    Reply

  9. Bummer! So close! Well, next time. Next time we head out for scrambled eggs.

    I have not had fresh eggs that I know of. I have had fresh milk—you know, straight from the bovine. Nearly threw up. I think I told this story before…

    Reply

  10. I love that tobyjoe’s suggestion ends with “and kick em in the nuts.” Had me laughing out loud.

    Reply

  11. I wish I could have some chickens to get fresh eggs.

    My dream to one day live on a self sufficient farm. Have a few cows, a little garden, some chickens, a couple of hogs, maybe a goat.

    Green Arces here I come!

    Reply

  12. This happens to me all the time, the roll problem, except for me it’s potatoes. The idea of paying for something but not receiving it seems to be difficult to understand. I think there is also a kind of resentment. My potatoes aren’t good enough for you? So I’ve given up and just dump the potatoes in the trash.

    Reply

  13. BJT, I have a feeling that’s exactly what I’m going to have to start doing. It’s either that, or just find another deli. But that would be too easy. :]

    Diedre, I would love to have a couple of free-range chickens running around. Someday. Someday, I will.

    Goats are funny. I hear they are really over-protective.

    Reply

Leave a Reply