Last I left you a couple of weeks ago the time was 3:35pm and I was standing in what looked like a Subway sandwich shop but what, in actuality, may have very well been the Twilight Zone what with all the weird things going on at that point. If you’re just joining us you can read HERE, HERE, and HERE to get caught up. And now…
I laughed as I took a look at the clock on the wall as it read 3:35 which meant that I’d been foolish enough to stand pat in line at this particular Subway for over nearly 20 minutes, 30 minutes if you count the time that I sat in the car listening to the Braves on the radio get the final three outs in their afternoon game against the Phillies. How bad must I have wanted to take advantage of Buy One, Get One Free at Subway? I guess about as bad as I wanted a hamburger from a Hardee’s that I thought was being robbed, but I digress. But there was light at the end of the tunnel because there were only two people ahead of me now. Two young men, somewhere between the ages of 18-20 if I had to guess, were standing in line in the typical ‘hood uniform of sagging shorts, nondescript plain shirts – one a white wifebeater and the other a black t shirt at least 3 sizes too big – white socks, and houseshoes. Both of them deemed it appropriate to come out of the house wearing fuzzy houseshoes. After giving them the quick once over I was doubtful that this would be a swift transaction, then once one of the young men asked the following question, I knew I should probably pull up a chair because this was going to take a while:
‘Ey, shawty, what up wit’ dis special y’all havin’ up in here? How it work?”
If you remember from the first installment of this tale there was a sign taped to the front door that denoted the Buy One, Get One deal. There was another one taped to the soda machine, then there was one taped to the wall over the chips, then there were two more taped to the sneeze guard, all of which were in plain view and expressly stated that you could buy any footlong and get another footlong for free. That’s exactly how it works. The Sandwich Artist gave the young man an incredulous look amazed that the BOGO concept had somehow escaped his comprehension, yet there he stood on this side of the waiting on an answer. Finally, the Subway employee relented.
Worker: What exactly do you mean, “how it work”?
Young Man: I mean… *sucks teeth*…damn, like I said, shawty, how it work?
Worker: *agitated* Please don’t call me shawty.
Young Man: *laughs, then sucks teeth again* Man, whateva shawty. Tell me ‘bout this special.
Worker: Look, don’t call me, “shawty”, please!
See, I can already tell what’s about to go on here. All points leading to now in this restaurant have had me descending the lesser circles of hell, the sock man peddling Ronald Reagan pictures, the man with the list, the lady with eyelashes like blades of uncut grass, all of these were the warm up. But this fella here, the one that had no concept of buy one get one free with a penchant for employee disrespect, he of the fuzzy black houseshoes and basketball shorts sagging to reveal underwear that no one needed to see, this was the one that was going to break me; the others were just the warm up, this guy was the closer. More annoying though than this young man though was his friend who giggled annoyingly at anything that his partner said. If you remember the old cartoon with the big boss dog and the little crony dog that tagged along with him all the time this young man was very much like the little crony dog.
Anyway, the Subway worker was able to break down the calculus that was the BOGO special enough that the young man in the fuzzy black houseshoes could move forward with his order, a steak sub and a turkey sub and then, just to make sure he asked:
Young Man: So u’mma have to only pay for one of these, shawty?
Worker: *drops the knife that she was cutting bread with onto the counter* Didn’t I ask you NOT to call me, shawty?
Young Man #2: **annoying giggle**
Young Man #1: A’ight den, damn Miss Shawty. You ain’t got to be so mean!
Young Man #2: **annoying giggle**
Me: **fighting the urge to ask for the bread knife to slit my own wrists**
The “shawty” conversation went on and on through the toasting and subsequent dressing of the first young man’s sandwiches. A tune that I like was playing over the store’s speakers, “When You Were Young” by The Killers; I tried to lose myself in the song, I sang along with the lyrics, eyes closed and foot tapping trying to block out the ghetto fabulosity that was abounding in the nearby space but I couldn’t fully escape what with the Young Man in the fuzzy black houseshoes switching back and forth between purposely annoying the young female Sandwich Artist and trying to acquire her phone number and back again.
“Giggles” stepped up to the plate to order his sandwiches now and I was thinking to myself that there was nothing that he could do to top what I had seen up to this point. I should have known that I was wrong in that early assessment.
Worker: *exasperated* What would you like?
Young Man #2: **giggles** Umm, I don’t know. **giggles**
Me: **physically tries to cut jugular vein with a bag of Sun Chips**
Worker: What do you mean? You’ve been standing here for 10 minutes!
Young Man #2: Damn, I don’t know, shawty…gimme a minute.
Me: **just sawing away at my jugular with the bag of chips**
**after about 30 seconds of giggling and looking at menu**
Young Man #2: Man, just give me a Bacon sub.
**after all that time he decided that he wanted something that wasn’t even on the menu**
Worker: A bacon sub? We don’t sell a bacon sub.
Young Man #2: It’s some bacon right there, just put it on some white bread and put some lettuce and mustard on that bitch…(author’s note: the sandwich was the “bitch”, not the worker.)
Me: ** I’ve just about drawn blood on my neck via the Sun Chips bag**
Finally. FINALLY. The ‘hood twins were gone, after incessantly calling the Subway girl “shawty” and repeatedly asking for her number (which he didn’t get) and then after dealing with a young man so dense that he thought to order something that wasn’t on the menu, a bacon sub with lettuce and some mustard (on that bitch…) it was my turn. Finally, at 3:43pm, 28 minutes after walking into the place, it was finally my turn. She looked at me as I stepped up to the counter and, as if seeing normalcy in my eyes, she shook her head and said, “People are crazy.” Indeed, Sandwich Artist, indeed they are.
At 3:47pm, I walked out of the Subway with a steak and cheese sub and a roasted chicken sub and I only had to trade $7.00 and about 13% of my sanity in exchange. As I made my way to the car, I saw the sock man exiting a nearby chinese food establishment with his duffel bag full of socks where he’d likely just finished preaching the gospel of Ronald Reagan. There were no yellow bricks nor munchkins frolicking about, but this place, Decatur, certainly resembles Oz from time to time.
~thanks for reading
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