[Language warning! Do I even need to warn you at this point? I’m going to stop issuing language warnings. From this point on just assume everything I post will contain a barrage of eff-bombs. It’ll just be easier for everyone this way, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when I manage to do without, and write like a real LADY every so often.]
Yesterday morning, Lizzie and I headed out for a Nephrologist appointment. She has the same kidney disorder that I do, and I was tagging along to her appointment in the hopes that I could meet her doctor and have him accept me as a patient as well.
To be honest, I’ve been struggling with my health a little bit in the past few months, with an ER visit a few weeks ago and an almost constant roller coaster of energy levels and muscle pain. It’s really frustrating losing whole days to headaches and fatigue, so the sooner I can get this sorted out, the better.
When we arrived and checked in, the receptionist told us that the nephrologist was running about an hour behind. Lovely! Liz called her work to let them know she’d be late coming in and then we chilled out in the waiting room for a bit, flipping through surprisingly up-to-date copies of Flare and Good Housekeeping.
And then we got thirsty. Really thirsty. Lizzie may have been a bit hungover, so getting a drink was more of a necessity than an option at this point, so we decided to go in search of a something to quench our dry mouths.
We let the receptionist know we would be back and started wandering through the halls of the hospital, passing scores of cute med students and weary staff along the way. Eventually, the corridors wound around to the cafeteria, where Lizzie and I spotted it at the same time- a pita place.
I don’t even know how to describe to you how obsessed I was with pitas in high school. My high school was on a fairly busy main drag, right opposite a row of cute shops, restaurants and, yes, an Extreme Pita joint. I swear I went there almost every day, and it got to the point where they would see me coming through the door and just start making my order. On days where I forgot my wallet they’d just give it to me for free, they knew I’d be back.
Lizzie shares this obsession, and our orders are the same. You might be expecting something FANTASTIC, but the whole thing is pretty basic, really:
- whole wheat pita
- green peppers
- black olives
- green olives (if they have them. If they have them, my day gets approximately EIGHTEEN MILLION times better, but finding pita places with green olives is getting more and more challenging. I should really just start bringing my own. I DIGRESS.)
- pickles. I usually say “Lots of pickles, please” and depending on the disposition of the Pita-maker this will mean like, three pickles, or more rarely, a HANDFUL of pickles. Guys, why so stingy with the pickles??
- feta cheese
- salt and pepper
I mean, it’s nothing wild, you know? It’s just a wholesome vegetable sandwich. UNTIL. Until they add the tzatziki sauce. I fucking love tzatziki sauce. It was one of exactly two food recipes which I included in my book, and I have to say my tzatziki sauce is pretty fantastic but it is still nothing compared to the tzatziki sauce they have at this place. I have no idea why it’s so amazing, but I am not exaggerating one bit when I say I could easily eat a 5lb tub of it with a spoon. Or possibly my hands. You know, if I had to or whatever.
So we were excited to find this place, is what I’m saying. We didn’t even communicate with each other, we just both moved towards the line up like mindless automatons.
There was a guy around my age placing his order when we rolled up, and I am going to say he was a doctor for no other reason except that it fits nicely into my fantasies about cute doctors. So, the cute young doctor is ordering from the woman behind the counter, who is clad in maroon, and wearing a hairnet and a name tag that reads MABEL, which to me, a lady who loves old-lady names (I named my daughter Olive) is basically the best name ever.
So, cute doctor is ordering his pita, MABEL is creating his pita, and Lizzie and I are slowly drowning in a puddle of drool, anticipating our pita.
I don’t know precisely what happened next because Liz and I were chatting, but all of a sudden MABEL’s head snaps up and she glares at the cute doctor.
“You follow the recipe!” she shouts
“Wh-what?” he stammers
“You follow the recipe! Or not follow the recipe!” she snaps again.
“I don’t- I mean…what?” the cute doctor has no idea what’s going on, and he is sort of glancing around like, Someone? What is happening? Someone help me!
We make eye contact and I immediately look away and raise my eyebrows in the universal sign for for Heyyyy, yeah so you’re adorable and I will fully acknowledge the crazy unfolding here, but I need this pita so I reeeeeally can’t get involved with whatever is happening between you and MABEL- you’re on your own, buddy!
I mean I feel a bit guilty, and have definitely ruined my chances with this cute doctor, but at that moment I had to make a choice and I chose the pita. I regret nothing.
He looks at MABEL and obviously decides that she is not to be messed with so he just rolls over.
“Sure! I mean, whatever you think!”
MABEL glares, mutters something and finishes his pita.
Lizzie and I exchange glances, like shiiiit! This woman is not fucking around! Plus, it is becoming readily apparent that MABEL is probably not a handful-of-pickles lady, she is probably not even a three pickles lady. MABEL is going to cheap out and lay one lonely pickle on our pita. Our hearts start sinking in unison at the thought.
MABEL finishes with the cute doctor, and comes over to our end of the counter.
I flash her my biggest smile. “Hi!” I chirp.
She grunts in my direction. “What you want?”
“May I please have a veggie pita?” I ask
She grudgingly complies and starts loading it with my requested vegetables.
The first sign that this is going to be a lousy pita is that she fills it 90% full of lettuce. I don’t even have to explain why that’s horrible.
Things just go downhill from there. Like, two pickles. Seriously, Mabel??
I am still holding my breath though because we haven’t gotten to the tzatziki yet. And if she is generous with the tzatziki sauce, everything will be OK. Even eating a pita that is 90% lettuce.
“What sauce?” she barks, and I look at Lizzie. Lizzie nods.
“Tzatziki sauce, please!” I say, brightly, and then I add, “I love that stuff!”
She shoots me a withering stare and then proceeds to scrape the thinnest layer of tzatziki sauce that is humanly possible to scrape, onto the pita.
Lizzie looks at me, panic in her eyes. “I don’t even think she dipped the spatula!” she whispers frantically, “She just gave us the shit that was left over from the last guy!”
I can’t let this go, I have to draw the line somewhere.
“Hey, could I please have a bit more tzatziki sauce, please?” I ask
MABEL looks at me again, and without breaking eye contact, takes the spatula and smears it again over my pita, but Lizzie was right! She wasn’t even scooping the spatula into the sauce! I think she actually managed to remove more tzatziki sauce than she applied!
She moves to start wrapping up the pita and I, like a FOOL, without even THINKING, said
“Oh, can I have feta cheese, too?”
and that was it. MABEL had had enough of our bullshit.
“YOU FOLLOW THE RECIPE” she snaps.
It was just like the cute doctor all over again! I did not speak up for him, and now there was no one left to speak for me! Karma! Always with the karma!
I was panicking and MABEL and I had the following, terrifying rapid fire exchange:
“The RECIPE. You not follow the RECIPE”
“What? The recipe? I-” Liz and I are looking around frantically trying to locate this recipe she keeps talking about, what the fuck is going on??
“No CHEESE” she says angrily
“Yes but can we just-”
“YOU FOLLOW THE RECIPE”
“I just want-”
“Feta cheese? I mean can we add it or-”
*GLARING. SILENT ANGRY GLARING*
Finally, Lizzie gets involved. She decides to just throw money at the problem.
“Can we pay extra?” she squeaks, “I mean we’d be happy to just pay extra if-”
MABEL cuts her off with a disgusted “Hmpphhh” and then LO! she reluctantly sprinkles 1/2 teaspoon of feta cheese onto the pita.
She wraps it up and hands it to us and we take it, quickly, and hustle over to the cashier line where we stand in dumbfounded silence.
We sit down and slowly start eating our pita. After a few minutes of silently chewing our mouthfuls of lettuce we look at each other and start laughing. Hysterically.
“What the fuuuuck just happened??” I managed to choke.
“MABEL!” Lizzie replies.
“Fucking MABEL.” I concur.
We ate the whole thing. And it was the worst.