Our world is potato-dominated, and I don't know if I can take it anymore. The potato, although seemingly harmless, has more power than most under-developed nations like Ghana and Canada.
Typically, you can order fries: any time, any place. That's your prerogative. That's American, damn it.
Let's take my experience at Coco's this morning for an example. I unwittingly fell into the tangled web of potato-driven economy...and perhaps I should blame myself for being so naive to the world around me.
Tauni and I decided we would have an "All American" dining environment to accompany our Saturday morning gluttony, so of course Coco's was high on our list. Upon entering, as most people do during breakfast, I asked for the lunch menu: "That's what breakfast is all about..." once said a famous breakfast historian, "...eating lunch at a breakfast time pre-ordained by a society driven by bacon, eggs, and potatoes."
To reassure that I would be able to enjoy my lunch-laden breakfast, I even double-checked with "Ben" my friendly, mid-thirties manager. He had obviously wanted to be a Coco's Saturday Morning Breakfast Manager as long as he could walk. He had the tattoos and "I will kill the next person who asks me if we have decaf" look to prove it. Of course they have decaf, people. Let Ben be.
Ben eased much of my fear. He laid down some of that renowned Coco's training on me with a mere flick of the tongue. I didn't even know he was doing it. "We have everything but baked potatoes right now."
Did that ever end up being an ironic and preplanned slap to the face.
Great! Lead the way, Ben, I thought. My breakfast feast awaits, and I don't have time to dilly-dally. I didn't come for eggs. I didn't come for bacon. I don't even want homefries. I want lunch, and lunch, you said, I could have.
Tauni and I were sat in a roomy booth fit for a king. When queried about my drink of choice, I still decided to straddle the line between breakfast and lunch by choosing both orange juice and iced tea. We all fall in line: OJ is for breakfast (and for armed robbery and casual, violent murders) and tea is for lunch. My waitress knew greatness when she saw it. She knew that I would be throwing her a curve...and she was ready for me. Her retorts were too well timed. I should have expected it. No baked potatoes. Please.
I perused both the breakfast and lunch menus and decided that I would take advantage of my supposed freedom. Tauni did as well. We were both "doing" lunch.
Braveheart. Mel Gibson. William Wallace. The scream is well known.
Our waitress returned, stomach brimming over her belt, her nails freshly painted. Jewelery, not seeming to match her substandard attire, glistened in the Coco's fluorescent lights. How could she afford such diamonds? Such pearls? It all fits!
Josie, I'll take the ham and cheddar sandwich.
I was too prideful. I should have said it with a sense gratitude. Why do I always have to be so smug.
And for your side? She smiled. An evil smile. Down came the hammer.
She continued: Would you like fries with that? So coy. Like I had a choice.
No! I was so American. So free. No, I think I'll have a side salad.
She smirked...and I knew it had all been a set up from the start. She was in on it...the jewelery should have given it away, but I was too mesmerized by the multiple menus. Shit, Ben must have been on it, too.
Oh, I'm sorry, hun. It's too early for salad. Would you like fries?
The same choice! Choice! Ha! I was still in the dark about the conspiracy. I said yes. Why not have the fries...it was an "option." My only option. No salad. Who knew?
Josie changed her attention from me to my boothmate. She had patiently waited to order. My plight left her quite frazzled, but she moved forward, like a snake toward a field mouse. Victory was imminent.
I'll have the cobb salad. And it hung in the air, while Josie's pen scribbled the request with a quiet sigh. The lobbyists in the kitchen inhaled.
What kind of dressing would you like? Josie knew when to cut her loses. She wouldn't even look at me.
They continued to transact. Good for them. Seriously. Good for them! Why shouldn't they pretend like this wasn't Communist Russia circa 1985? The more they ignored it, the more Ben wiped down the counters...the more the patrons walked in, the more we could all hip hip hurray our camaraderie. Where are my hammer and sickle? Let's start burying ourselves in the lies.
It's the potatoes! Can't you see? The potatoes have complete control!
Our meals came, and I dipped my fries in the irony. My sandwich had no egg on it, but my face did.
Land of the free, my ass.
I'm going to Denny's tomorrow.