Dear J Waves,
I just got back from a delightful meal at the India Dreams Lunch Buffet. “Lunch Buffet” isn’t included in the name of the restaurant, just the name of my meal. I am proud to report that I was not fooled by the raita this time; the first six times I graced the India Dreams with my presence, I spent all eight of my buffet dollars on six bowls of rice pudding and maybe a cube of cheese from the saag paneer. I think the staff was onto me, though, because on my seventh visit, blinded by my desire for rice pudding, I immediately made a beeline for it without looking at the nametag, which clearly read “Raita”. I piled up my plate with the shit and took a giant bite of. . .cucumber tzatziki.
They fooled me.
This is rice pudding:
This is Raita:
And it was in the same place on the buffet line. I HATE raita. That’s the India Dreams staff’s idea of a practical joke, I’m pretty sure. I deserved it. I was eating them out of house and rice pudding home.
On my way to lunch, I stopped at La Potosina for a MexiCoke, which we all know tastes better than AmeriCoke because of the cane sugar. On my way out the door, I ran into Pedro, the Carrburritos grill cook. Pedro gets very startled and shy whenever he sees one of his American coworkers in the Real World. He stopped short and looked at me, then at the door to La Potosina, then at me again with a bewildered expression.
“Ho- Hola?” he said.
And I replied, loudly, “Oh-law, Pay-drow!” like the white bitch I am.
“Don’t. . .don-don’t you know dees ees Mexican?” Pedro asked, pointing to the door. Why in the world would I be going to a Mexican grocery store?
“Necesito Coca Cola,” I replied, holding up my half-empty bottle.
He just stared at me and giggled nervously. “A-Adios,” and with that, he was gone.
I made it to India Dreams, met up with Aaron, and bypassed the Riddle Me Raita for some chicken curry. We were in a booth adjacent to one occupied by a ginormous fifty-something man I used to work with. His normal breathing patterns mimic those of a guy who smoked a pack of Lucky Strikes during a marathon. He had food all over his shirt, his mouth, and his cheeks, and there was a glob of tomato sauce about to complete a frantic surge to the carpeted floor via the outside of his left pants leg. He had two empty plates in front of him when Aaron and I got there and he made no less than four additional trips to the buffet during our twenty minute lunch.
I used his frequent absences to fill Aaron in on who he was and why he was gross. He got up for his fifth trip since our arrival and in order to do so, he heaved himself to the edge of the seat and, building momentum, managed to ROCK himself out of the booth and stagger over to the buffet line.
I took a giant bite of food just in time to see him come back to his seat, not with a plate of food but instead clutching a BARE FISTFUL OF NAAN. I lost my shit. I laughed all the rice right out of my mouth. I clapped my hands to my face and ended up with a palm full of palak paneer. I thought I was going to die.
On our way out, I stopped to say hey to Naan Fist, which was a mistake. It only took an, “Oh, hey,” from him for him to launch a chunk of prechewed chicken out of his mouth where it rested serenely on his upper lip. It stayed there for the entirety of our five-minute conversation and stared its angry chicken stare at me as I inched my way backwards out the door and onto the snow-covered sidewalk, my whole rice-puddingless lunch threatening to reintroduce itself in front of the bus stop.
What’d you eat today?