I'm blogging from a cafe at my school right now, where I've set up camp to have conferences with my students. The problem is that seating is limited, so people keep sitting in a chair about two feet from me and wolfing down meals on their way to class. First there was the girl with the frappucino, soft pretzel, and brownie. (Mmm, nutritious!) Her methodical ripping of the pretzel in such close proximity to me, combined with the sounds of her working through the doughy material in her mouth made me want to scream.
Then she left, and another girl sat down. It hit me--the unmistakeable smell of fast food. She was holding a Wendy's bag. She pulled out a big juicy burger and fucking mauled that thing. Sesame seeds and ketchup were flying everywhere--handfuls of fries alternated with enormous swallows of fire-grilled beef patties--slices of onion and tomato slipped down into her lap. I could not take my eyes off her. Then, in the midst of the carnage, she pulled out a cell phone. I wept for the person on the other line, listening through the layers of cheese and bread and beef. She said, "I'm (snort) trying (chomp chomp) to eat real fast (gurgle, swallow). Call me back later. (snort swallow chomp gurgle)"
She hung up. She finished the burger. I started to breathe again.
And then she reached back into that damn bag and pulled out another burger.
The worst part of this whole experience--and these are only two of the meals I watched/smelled/heard being eaten during my 5 hours in this seat--was how I was simultaneously disgusted and jealous. I wanted the frappucino (and I hate frappucinos), the pretzel, the burger, the chips I could hear the guy eating from the next booth over. How gross is that?
Note to self: for sanity and self-preservation, schedule all future conferences in your office.