Mr. Apron’s birthday is coming up.  I cannot reveal what it is I was doing specifically this evening, as he reads the blog.  At least, I hope he does (Hi, Buddy!).  Suffice it to say, I was down at Jo-Ann Fabrics Superstore buying items for a sewing project, as well as picking up supplies for a birthday something for Mr. Apron.  He had a small event/engagement at 7:30 which I was debating attending.  He had e-mailed me earlier today to tell me that the person I wanted specifically to see was not going to be there.  So I figured, I would take my jaunt to the fabric store, take my time, and not worry about rushing back. 

I ducked raindrops, having survived the Superstore, and ran to the car.  The clock read 6:50pm (so it was actually 6:49, ’cause I’m good like that), the gas tank read empty, and my stomach read hungry.  I spent most of the drive back teetering on the edge of indecisive madness, debating whether to get gas, a chore I detest like few others and could just ask Mr. Apron to do for me later; vacillating about attending Mr. Apron’s event, which I had told him I’d go to, but which he had seemed neutral about my attending; and trying to figure out what to do about being hungry.  It was a logic puzzle. 

a) I will make it back home and/or to the event if I do not get gas, but I may not make it to work tomorrow.

b) I may not make it to the event if I do not get gas.

c) I may not make it to the event if I have to stop for food.

d) I can go home for food, but then I will miss the event.

e) If I do not stop soon for food, I may not make it home.

Ah, the back story.  I have a series of stomach woes, including acid reflux, hypoglycemia, and lactose intolerace.  Plus, I choose to be a vegetarian.  So please meet Killjoy of Eating Out.  I have to snack regularly, like a cow grazing throughout the day, or I may shut down, or worse, become bitchy and snap at my husband.  I also must eat relatively small portions, such as only half a garden burger.  If I eat too much, I get nasty indigestion, heartburn, and feel like I’m throwing up in my mouth.  Plus occasional nausea from being hungry or too full.  Fun, right?  So if I was going to Mr. Apron’s no-food-included event with a start time at 7:30pm, and I hadn’t eaten since a modified stuff-my-face session on the drive home from work (approx 4:00-5:00pm), I needed to eat.  Fast.  But not greasy, meaty, or huge.  I knew that on the way home was a Wendy’s, a Panera, and a Popeye’s.  Guess which is most hospitable to this Pain-in-the-Ass veggie?  There were 3 turnoffs for Panera. 

As I passed the first: “Oh, I could have gotten off there.  No matter, I’m not going to the event.”

As my foot hovered over the brake pedal and my finger reached for the blinker near the second, “You know, I could just grab a ba- — shit, I missed it!”

And so, as I slammed on the brakes to make the third entrace, stunning the car behind me, I slid into a sweet parking spot, convinced I would get a savory bagel (onion, everything, garlic) with a veggie cream cheese, and make the show. 

Scanning the offerings at the bagel counter, I saw exactly one dutch apple bagel, a buttload of cinnamon crunch (an excellent junky breakfast bagel you can pretend is not just a bear claw in bagel’s clothing), a buttload of blueberry (never really tastes like blueberry, does it), and a shitload of whole wheat.  I made my way up to the cashier, whom I will call Keisha, because she looks like a Keisha, and I forgot to look at her nametag.  I deliberated, scanning the menu, trying to decide what I could a) eat in the car without making a total mess of myself, and b) afford with the meager offerings in my wallet. 

“Are you ready to order?” Keisha asked.

I squirmed, daring the menu board to tell me what I was ordering.  I stalled, in a silly, girlish way, the way little kids dance when they have to pee but don’t want to stop playing.  “Umm, I, just, knew what I wanted, and now I have to regroup, and figure it out again, because, well, the bagels, and I wanted a savory bagel, but it’s late and I don’t want a sweet one, and I just have to figure out what I want and think about, and come up with a new gameplan and…”

Keisha laughed as she cut me off.  “You know what’s really good?” she enticed.  “A slice of our sundried tomato basil bread with a vegetable cream cheese on top.  Would you like me to make you that?”

“Yeah.  Would you?”

She even toasted it and put it in a to-go bag for me.  And only charged me for cream cheese.  Panera, being a huge corporate subsidiary of McDonald’s, doesn’t want you to think they underpay folks like Keisha, so they don’t have a tip jar.  They do have some charity box where you put your changed, like McDonald’s has for the Ronald McDonald house, so I put my change in there.  And I skipped out a happy girl. 

On the way down to the fabric store, when there was a perceived rush, every single light turned red as I approached.  Now, as I attempted to spread cream cheese on two slices of warm bread while driving (watch out for me when I”m hungry and on the road — it ain’t pretty), all the lights bared their greenness to me.  I stopped for gas at a HESS which offered fuel for $2.08, as opposed to the BP which was charging $2.19 cash and $2.29 credit (and we alraedy know my cash situation this evening), and spead my bread while the car fuelled up. I event made it to the event on time, with bread in hand, polishing off the last bite as the event began.  Mr. Apron told me later he was glad I came.  I have Keisha to thank.  Sometimes it only takes one person to make your day.  And she made mine.  Try the sundried tomato basil bread from Panera, toasted — it’s like fluffy soft tomato soup with a dash of sunshine.

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