It occurred to me the other day that I don’t know your name even though you wear a name tag. I never even bothered to look at it. I think about that more than it makes any sense to think about that.
I’ve been coming here a lot and ordering the exact same thing – romaine, chicken, parmesan, cucumber, heavy on the ranch – for a few weeks now. I do this because when my anxiety’s really bad I go for days without eating but for some reason this stupid $6.47 make your own salad is one of the things that I can stomach. I like to make fun of people who eat salads. I want to sink my teeth into a juicy cheeseburger, not the crunchy centerfold of a piece of lettuce. You don’t know this. You think I just really like salad.
Maybe not though. Nobody really likes salad.
What I would like to know is your name. I only see you and will only ever see you from behind a plexi-glass sneezeguard. 11-6. Do you get bored? You must. You must know my order by now. I get bored doing anything, driving to the store, sitting a bar, watching a movie. You must get bored putting those same damned tomatoes on my salad. It must make you feel existential, wondering why you put tomatoes on a salad and I eat them and if life is nothing more than a cycle of cutting up and eating tomatoes. I get existential about you, wondering if that’s what you wonder. I wonder what you wonder about me.
Maybe you wonder nothing. Maybe you stand for 8 hours a day and make salads and meatball sandwiches and the routine of it all buzzes in your head until you are done. Maybe you go home to your family and call your mother and thank her for the t-shirts she bought for Danny. Maybe you spend the tips you made that day on a trip to get frozen yogurt and laugh and never question why the world works the way it does.
I will never know. You are the lady who makes my salad. You are a human trapped in my head in a 5×5 box full of mushrooms and mayonnaise. You never leave, according to the girl who eats the salads you make.
All I know is next time I go, ignoring the knot of worry in my stomach, I’ll read your name tag and say thank you.
LilyAnne Rice is currently finishing up her degree in Creative Writing with a minor in psychology, where she probably spent more time laughing at Youtube videos than putting pen to paper. She likes talking to funny people, drinking midori sours, and finding money on the ground.