Sunday, October 11, 2009

You have a lot to answer for

Every time we make a choice, we are in effect painting ourself into a corner of narrowed future choices, and of our old friend, consequences.  As we stride purposefully through the pelting rain of stimuli, pausing to avoid the occasional puddle, we see how inextricably linked we are to consequences.  You don't believe it?  Hah; there are just as many consequences of not doing anything as there are consequences of taking a purposeful step into the ever widening gyre.  

Next time you are in line at a place where a rapid number of choices are visited upon you, say the ordering line at a Subway Sandwich, you'll begin to see said fast food outlet as more than it is, a gigantic metaphor for choice and for consequence.  If you had been hungry for brunch or a snack in the first place, you might well have chosen Subway Sandwiches over the likes of Cajun Kitchen or, Heaven forfend, IHOP, or Denny's where the menus go on for pages and you have to make and announce decisions relative to your opt-in or opt-out senior citizens' status.  You might even have to suffer the consequences of being reverse carded, which is to say being forced to produce ID that attests your seniority.  Is it, you wonder, as much of a crime to claim to be sixty-five or over as it is to be twenty-one or over?

At the Subway Sandwich, you are met with a large menu, after which, you are further distracted to fliers and displays revealing amounts of such concepts as calorie count, sodium content, fat, carbohydrate count, and not to forget protein, rendered in grams.  You learn things about your tuna sub or Italian meatball sandwich you may not wish to know.  There is the implicit vibe in Subway that everything there is good for you, but some things are better and, in consequence, maybe the thing you wanted is not so hot, maybe just okay on a scale of one to ten.

How long do you want your sandwich? you are asked, and you notice that you have gone from the metric system of grams back to inches.  Six-inches seems like a good compromise; you could eat the first three inches, then save the remainder for when you have the munchies later, secure in the knowledge that although the sandwich you ordered may not be optimally the healthiest for you, it is likely to be healthier than most stuff you encounter at random.  You did, after all, chose Subway over Denny's and IHOP (where, it had not been lost on you, most of the help seems to be overweight).  Already your choices have led you into a rabbit hole not unlike Alice's (P.S., Did she chose that particular rabbit hole?) because you now have to tote around a Subway Sandwich wrapper with the uneaten three inches of the sandwich you, of your own volition, chose.

You have a right to remain silent.  The mayonnaise in your tuna sub has cholesterol.  You may order your tuna sub without mayonnaise.  If you do not order mayonnaise, you will not be charged for it.

You may also decline to state when asked what kind of roll you want your sandwich on, thus relying on the server's shrug of shoulders and choosing for you or you may try to pull a Bartelby and choose instead of a sandwich a salad or a salad and soup combination.  If you happen to be at a Subway in New York or L.A., there is the possibility that your server will stare you down with the question, Something's maybe wrong with the sandwiches, you don't order one?

You could, of course, pack your own lunch and be done with the matter, but there are still consequences, some of which you will discover before the first bite has been chewed down.

Post a Comment