Man, if you want inner turmoil and general bad-feelingness, you need to come and spend a lunch with me. Like that time I created a bird revolution with my sandwich, or that other time I ran into a friend on campus, had a great conversation, and left feeling like I was the biggest jerk on earth, my lunches are fraught with tiny crises.
Today, for example.
I go to my favorite on-campus cheap-food place, the pasta-and-garlic-bread restaurant. At some point maybe a year or so ago, they started offering "Vegan Sauce" as one of their options, along with the regular Meat Sauce/Marinara/Alfredo triumvirate. Out of curiosity, I asked for it one day, and saw that all it consists of is marinara with some mystery... pebbles... mixed in. Like, you're standing there, and they get out this bowl and pour some marinara in and scoop in these whitish-yellowish breadcrumb-looking pebbles, mix it up with a whisk, and plop it on your penne. I must say, it's quite delicious. I don't know what the pebbles are, or how they enhance the marinara sauce, but they do. I like it, so I always get it now.
There was a server girl I'd never seen there before today, and when I asked for the vegan sauce she dutifully made it the way she should. Then she reached for the garlic bread, stopped herself, and presented the plate to me sans bread.
"No bread, right?"
I haven't really been on top of my game recently, I think I'm coming down with a cold, so I just kind of stood there, looking at her, saying, "uhhhhh...." In my head I was wondering if maybe they had some policy that the vegan sauce no longer comes with bread because it's already got those expensive extra pebbles in it, so maybe I shouldn't say anything. Finally I asked, meaning to be sheepish (but I think coming across as rude-ish), "the bread comes with the pasta, right?"
At this point I began to get an inkling of what was going on. "Well, it's just that usually when people want the vegan sauce, they... don't want... the bread."
Ah hah! Suddenly I'm being judged because I asked for this health nut protester lunch, with a side of unhealthy brick o'butter. I wasn't sure what to say except that did want the bread, and walk away quickly. By this point our conversation had slowed up the rest of the line and people were starting to pay attention to what was going on. I wondered what they thought of me- did they think I was a vegan and also stupid for not knowing that there is butter all over the garlic bread? Did they think I was a selfish jerk who wanted to get as much food as possible jammed into the low, low price of a plate of pasta? Did they think I was a total idiot who doesn't even know what vegan means?
All I wanted was lunch, but what I got was lunch with a side of guilt for ordering vegan food when I am so obviously not vegan.