“Quarter-white. Dirty rice. Sweet tea.” The cashier’s voice rang out over the Bojangles intercom. Memories of high school washed over me. I was a cashier at Bojangles during my junior and senior year. Although back then we had to wear a hideous orange and brown striped shirt, matching scarf and brown pants. I envied the jeans and t-shirt attire the staff now sported.
Serving up southern cuisine in my orange outfit, I looked like a 1970’s reject, and worse, I consistently reeked of fryer grease, buttered oil, biscuits, fried chicken, and teenage angst. It was a potent concoction. No wonder I didn’t date much. Who wants to go out with a greasy-smelling, emotional cashier from Bojangles?
As I stood there reliving years of high school rejection, I glanced up at the menu. Surely, some things had changed since then. Their menu must have healthier options now.
Um, not really.
There wasn’t a salad on the list. Not one. You can get any combination of fried chicken—all dark meat, all white meat, just a breast, just a leg, a breast and a leg, etc., but nothing incorporating fresh produce. Accompanying the fried poultry, are a number of high fat, high glycemic index side dishes: mashed potatoes, fries, biscuits, rice.
I ordered the only thing not fried on the menu, a grilled chicken sandwich and a glass of water.
How did we end up at my high school alma mater anyway?
Michael was driving.
While I repeatedly called out the locations of several Subway sandwich shops along our route, he consistently said, “Uh huh. Is there a Bojangles? Find a Bojangles.”
Pulling into the parking lot, Michael stated proudly to the children, “You’re lucky I was driving. I saved you from Subway.”
Our road trip rule is: whoever’s driving gets the final say-so in deciding dining options. Everyone can express an opinion, but it’s the driver that makes the call. Thus it’s no surprise that Michael announced at lunch he would be strategically maneuvering to always have the driving shift during mealtimes. His fear is I’d pull into restaurants called “House of Broccoli” or “Celebration of Salad.” He’s right to be fearful. That’s exactly what I’d do.
Staring at my family greedily devouring their chicken, fries, biscuits and sweet tea, I cringed.
Michael may have won the first battle, but I’m in it to win the war, and I’ve got a lot of weapons at my disposal.
Moo-wah-ah-ah-ah-ah (Commencing evil laughter now.)