May 26, 2007

My Nightmare

Yesterday morning we packed up the car and drove our family up north for a few days of relaxation with Spike's family. Our six week old baby is in hot demand and we were excited to show her off to the clan. Unfortunately, this requires a 10+ hour road trip each way. I was prepared for the worst as we pulled out of our garage and headed towards the freeway. I'd frantically thrown most of our belongings in white trash bags that morning trying to anticipate every emergency situation we'd encounter on the road. I'd be ready.

The girls were mildly fussy for the first few hours, but nothing I couldn't handle without too much snapping. We stopped for lunch in Baker, California. The town sported a shady restaurant called The Mad Greek, another dingy shack purporting to sell Fresh Alien Jerky and a healthy line of overpriced gas stations. When my husband suggested we eat at the local Arby's I didn't have much choice. Somehow in our six years of marriage I've avoided eating at Arby's but yesterday, it was the big red hat or alien jerky and I'm a nursing mother so I had to choose the lesser of two evils.

Before we even entered the restaurant I was in a state. Could things get any worse? I was facing an entire day of driving, both my children had poopy diapers, it was 100+ degrees outside and I was eating at Arby's. This was my seventh circle of hell.

"What do you want, sweetie?" asked Spike, as he faced the cashier.

Want? I thought? A week at a spa...the perfect body...a horse that talks... But instead I picked the only thing on the menu that didn't have that nasty roast beef on it.

As I sat trying to juggle eating my lunch with nursing, my toddler dumped a glass of ice water all over me and the baby. No biggie. Well actually...

"This is a NIGHTMARE!" I yelled.

Spike looked at me like I was daft.

"Honey, it's just water."

I looked up with disbelief. Didn't he sense the total awfulness of the situation? A look around the other diners at the restaurant proved that no one else seemed to be sitting in the black hole of rage that occupied my side of the booth. The guy with a handlbar mustache eating curly fries looked at our family with boredom. What was wrong with everybody? Didn't they realize they were spending their holiday weekend eating at Arby's? ARBY'S!!? Where was the outrage?

My attention returned to my family. Spike was still looking at me with an confused smile, Pixie was happily slashing in the puddles of water collecting on my bench and Cher nursed, unflapped and soaking wet. Could it be that I was overreacting?

It's been hard for me to gauge the atmosphere of reality with all my postpartum delusions. Even thought I couldn't understand how, everyone in that restaurant seemed blissfully unaware of the nightmarish situation they were in. I took a deep breath and picked up my sandwich. I could do this. My mom loved to tell us girls, "fake it till you make it." I wrapped my lips around that sandwich and bit down. Much to my disbelief, it wasn't disgusting. In fact, the Chicken Condon Bleu Sandwich is nothing less than divine. I closed my eyes and found that with a little bit of effort, I could ignore the black hole of angst swirling around my booth. As it turns out, happiness is just a delusion away. Right then and there on that bench I recommited to use my delusional powers for good rather than evil. I, Hollywood, could eat at Arby's.

28 comments:

Heather O. said...

Honey, that's a nightmare, no matter what post partem issues you are dealing with. I'm just impressed you didn't chuck your own water across the room and smear that Chicken Cordon Bleu all over your husband when he said, "It's just water". You are a serious trooper.

Samantha said...

I have never understood why some people hate Arby's with so much passion! I mean granted it's not the best food in the world, but it's fast food so what can you expect? To me it's no worse than all the other fast food restaurants and I would never guess that some people hate it so much without being told! My husband hates Arby's too. How does it survive?

Kimberly Bluestocking: said...

The Market Fresh sandwiches are decent, but nothing you couldn't make at home. On the other hand, the Roast Beef and Cheddar (translation: Velveeta) is indeed vile.

Erin Marie said...

Although I like Arby's... and your picture makes me want a sandwich really bad... Mad Greek is actually a nice place to eat with YUMMY food. If I had a little more time to stop and eat when I am driving, I'd eat there more often.

glittersmama said...

I didn't know that Arby's met with that much disgust and hatred. Do I dare say that I like Arby's? I enjoy the chicken, bacon and swiss sandwiches AND the curly fries. I really have to be okay with it. I live in a wretched part of the country that has neither In & Out NOR Sonic.

Adrienne said...

Isn't that an episode of The Simpsons? Where all the kids are on a "Model UN" fieldtrip and end up shipwrecked?

Creepy twin #1: "I'm so hungry I could eat at ARBY'S!"
All the other kids: "Whooooaaaaahhhh..."

I am also not an Arby's fan, so don't feel bad. But those deli sandwiches are okay.

Jamie J said...

I'm not an Arby's fan either...I can totally relate. I get really cranky on road trips too without having just given birth. Hope you made it safe and sane.

Chanel said...

You did the right thing-Alien jerky isn't as tasty as fresh alien, Mad Greek is HORENDOUS! Seriously, fresh strawberry shakes my butt! They were the biggest dissapointment of any dinning experience I have ever had! I waited years to stop at that craphole, and when I finally did I wanted to cry. Maybe its just the hell hole town of Baker???
Enjoy your Utah experience!

Toni said...

I love Arby's! Don't know how one couldn't! Have a good trip!

Shiloah B. said...

I love Arby's! At least, I love their cheese sticks! I rarely eat out with hords of kids, but Arby's isn't the last place ever. LOL

Congratulations on your new daughter, BTW! She is adorable! We hadn't heard from our one and only visitor to our blog for a while, so I thought I'd pop in and see if you had your baby. It looks like not only did you have her, but you've been enjoying Arby's sandwiches!

Amy said...

Crazy thing, but when I was pregnant, a classic Arby's sandwich with curly fries was one of the few foods that sounded appetizing. Due to some serious self-control and the thought of cottage cheese at home (the other palatable food) I only actually ate there once during the whole nine months, but every time I drove by, I was sorely tempted.

Melissa said...

Ah... it wasn't post partum... I ALWAYS feel that way when we have to stop in Baker... there's just nothing good to say about it. Although, I have to say that I do like Arbys... and I'm proud of you for choosing good over evil! You must have been wearing your CTR ring that day ;) Have a great time in Utah!! (Give the kids to some relatives and take a NAP!!!)

Rachel said...

On a yum scale of one to ten, ten being best: The Mad Greek is about an 8 yum... Have you ever tried Arby's deli sandwiches? Those are about a 6 yum. But when you throw in the atmosphere, the yum factor seems to go down because the restaurant just LOOKS gross.

Janell said...

So long as you avoid anything with the yellow plasticy sauce, you'll be ok at Arby's. Should you ever be cursed with another visit to Arby's give the curly fries a try.

drainey said...

Sarah it looks like you've stirred up a hotbed of controversy over Arby's.

That's too intense for me.

But congrats on getting thru another day of mommy boot camp.y

Rachelle said...

Baker and Blythe- the armpits of California baby. Arby's- the hair in the pit. Yuck, I grossed myself out......
As if you don't already have enough to do, I tagged you. Play if you want, but no pressure.
see my last post.
Slainte~
Rachelle

Jenny said...

This week I am visiting my mother in-law, which includes my husband's entire extended family on several generations and "once-removed" connections, and all that is offered is filipino food or fast food from a hole-in-the-wall mexican or chinese joint. Why can't we eat something that doesn't make me queasy at first smell? I can't even go in the restaurant or kitchen for fear of making a bee-line to the garbage can. I WANT to go to Arby's! (Dare I reveal my identity now that you know that I actually prefer Arby's to any other fast food destination?---Watch "Supersize me" and you'll take a roast beef sandwich over a Big Mac any day...)

Suzie Petunia said...

Whenever my hubby or I say "You know what I'm thinkin'?" the other one ALWAYS says "ARBY'S?!" We are easily influence by catchy slogans. And their non-roast beef sandwiches are yummy!

Anonymous said...

Never mind Arby's... I understand the nightmare part. I've been there. I remember being out grocery shopping a month or so after a traumatic, life changing experience. I looked around me and felt like I was on another planet. I thought how can these people go about their lives pretending that everything is normal? Don't they know that nothing is the same and will never be the same again. I felt like I was in a nightmare and abandoned my groceries and ran to my car and cried.

pflower10 said...

I have a strong aversion to Arby's that I know has no logical reason behind it, just an overactive imagination of a child's memory to spur me on.

When I was little we went to our local Arby's (it was new back in the late 70's early 80's) for some food. After we had ordered and given the cashier our money I noticed the cashier was missing the pinky finger off of one hand. (Enter overactive imagination) The cashier then turned around and started to slice the the meat in a meat slicer to create our order for us. In my mind I thought that the missing finger was probably sitting in someone's meat sandwich. I don't even think I ate what I ordered that day much to the consternation of my family, I'm sure! Ever since then I have not been able to make myself go to Arby's.

You can call me crazy, you can call me silly but at least you can't call me a cannibal!!

BTW if you come to Provo, Stop on by!!!!

compulsive writer said...

Um Sarah, where are you? I want to see the baby! E-mail me (please) at henfeatherzATgmailDOTcom.

Sarah said...

Sorry Compulsive! I just arrived back in CA. It was a short trip to the in-laws to showcase our newbie then back. You'll be glad to know we ate at Burger King on the way back.

Anonymous - I'm glad you get me. The littlest things seem insurmountable right now. I just keep gushing to my husband at the end of each day how glad I am he's sticking with me through the crazy.

pflower - that pinky thing is GROSS!! My hatred of Arby's goes back to my first experience there when I had one of the roast beef sandwiches and got violently ill (maybe not even Arby's fault) but now the thought of ever eating those nasty things again makes me queasy. Oh, and there was a pinky finger in my sandwich. I guess that might have done it too!

As for the rest of you Arby's lovers, I continue to hate the sin, love the sinner.

Colleen said...

Wow, what a timely post! We just got back from a trip to Denver with Pelt to visit Honaker. (Wow, that's a frightening assortment of names, isn't it?) On the way up on Friday, we stopped in Laramie Wyoming for lunch. Jim got it into his head that he absolutely had to eat lunch at Arby's. We passed a McDonald's, a Hardee's, and a Pizza Hut looking for the elusive Arby's. All while I pictured that Velveeta-soaked fake roast beef and tried not to dry heave. Alas, we were unsuccessful. His craving unsatisfied, though, we stopped in Evanston a few hours ago and had dinner at Arby's. And that may explain the odd gurgling sensations currently taking place in my intestinal region...

cackel said...

Wow. I love Arby's. I'm not a huge fan of the roast beef sandwiches, but they have the best vaue menu in the fast food industry. Instead of chicken nuggets and small sodas, you get shakes, curly fries, and mozarella sticks. 3 of my favorite evil foods. mmmm...Arby's. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

chronicler said...

NOt just Arby's, but Arby's in Baker. Wow you guys really know how to party! Next time you go, let me know, I'll tag along witha camera! ;-) Cuz, ya know, these kinds of events really should be saved on pixels!

Adam said...

Adrienne, that is one of the best Simpsons quotes ever. Sarah or I will bust it out about once a week.

Th. said...

.

Next time go to the Mad Greek.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I love Arby's!