MomBlog: The Chicken Sandwich Conundrum

Mom would LOVE this sandwich. Look how plain it is!

One of my goals for my summer is to have lunch with my parents more frequently. I do this for you, dear readers.

I have arranged my summer schedule to have Spiritually Enhancing Fridays. What this means is that I don’t work on Fridays and can do whatever I want. And truly, what can be more spiritually enhancing than lunch with my parents?

Well, lunch with my mom in particular. No offense to my esteemed father, but he is… well, he’s sort of normal. Events with him tend to go the way 90% of lunches in America probably go. Choose restaurant. Choose conversation topics. Order. Talk. Eat. Pay. Hug. The end.

But that doesn’t suffice for MomBlog entries. For one, there is no anxiety in that scenario. Lunches need more anxiety. There is just so much to worry about, dear readers. You will just never get around to worrying about them all.

To wit: Last Friday, I drove home to get my haircut because I get my haircuts across the street from my parents’ house by the man who gave me my first ever haircut 34 years ago. Why change? It’s also an excellent excuse to visit home and eat with my parents. We agreed to go to a restaurant I like 10 miles from my childhood home. 10 miles. It takes approximately 12 minutes to reach this restaurant. This is important math for you to remember later.

During the haircut, I mentioned to Mom that if she wanted to share a chicken sandwich and sweet potato fries for lunch, that would be great for me.  I only wanted half a sandwich and I know that she LOVES sweet potato fries. In my mind, I had offered a solution to my “light lunch” desires. I even said we could order it plain with honey mustard on the side. (If you are ever quizzed or ever out to lunch with Mom, this is what she will inevitably order. It’s not that she has any anxiety about change – it may actually be the ONE thing she doesn’t have anxiety about – it’s just that she’s found what she loves so why change?)

We were taking two vehicles to the restaurant so I could head back to Winona after lunch and Mom and Dad could go back home. Mom had Dad ride with me. She seems under the impression that she needs to force bonding between us even though that is not necessary. (A couple of weeks ago, I called home and talked to Dad for 5-8 minutes about the Cubs and a smattering of other things. At the end of the conversation, I asked to speak to Mom. She picked up the phone and immediately asked, “What’s wrong?” I laughed. “Mom, if something was wrong, do you think I would have talked to Dad? No. I would have bypassed him. Think about it.” She responded, “Well, if something was wrong, you’d tell me, right?” “Yes, Mom.”)

Dad and I hopped in my vehicle and headed out. Mom was lagging a bit, probably checking to make sure the toaster, iron, coffee pot, and all other electronics were unplugged in the house so the chances of a fire were greatly reduced. He and I drove out of town talking about baseball and the like. Remember the math from before? Pay attention.

Six minutes into our drive, Mom called Dad’s phone. He picked up and held the phone away from his ear a bit so I could hear the conversation, which I have transcribed below:

“Well, I’m going to be late… I seem to have gotten behind the two slowest trucks on the road and you know how hard it is to pass on this road. [The road my parents have driven probably 200,000 miles on in their lifetimes.] [Again, remember the math.] So I’m going to be late. I hate being late. And I was thinking about lunch and how Kelly said she would share a chicken sandwich with me. But I worry that she’s not getting to order that turkey sandwich she really likes. And she should really order what she likes. I eat there all the time; she only gets there so often so she should get what she wants. Don’t you think? I feel like she doesn’t need to eat a chicken sandwich if she really wants turkey. [Pause] These trucks are going so slowly. So make sure when you get there you go in and get a table right away, I know she’s on a schedule and wants to get back to Winona. [It’s 11:45 on a Friday. Doubt the restaurant was going to have a wait.] But you don’t have to talk to her about the turkey sandwich. I’ll work that out with her when I get there and I’m going to be late. Okay?”

Dad says okay and hangs up the phone. “You’re going to get the turkey sandwich. She has decided.”

Sure enough, we pull into the parking lot and calmly walk into the restaurant and they seat us in a booth. It could not have been three minutes. I mean, I know what three minutes feels like, and this was not three minutes. I could have planked the full amount of time between our arrival and when Mom came briskly through the doors of the restaurant. She had not even sat down yet when she began, “I really think you should get the turkey sandwich…”

I looked at her. I assuaged her fears and said I would order the turkey sandwich. “And we’ll just give the second half of the sandwich to Tim [who cuts my hair] and then the whole problem is solved!” she declared, looking relieved and proud of herself.

“I’m really going to enjoy our summer lunches,” she stated later, doing her cursory glance at the menu as if she is going to order anything other than a plain chicken sandwich with honey mustard on the side.

So am I, Mom. And, my guess is, so will everyone else.