I’m standing in Clover. I’m thinking, “Goddammit, now I have to eat food without meat in it.” I look at the menu, a confusing flurry of new age mumbo jumbo. It tells me the wait time for various dishes, proving to me that Clover has never learned the lesson that my dad’s frown taught me in fifth grade: keep expectations low.
I have some thoughts about the menu.
I order a breakfast sandwich. The sweet, bearded man with the iPhone takes my order, and asks me what my name is. I tell him, and he points at his iPhone, saying, “This thing just doesn’t want me to put Niv in.” I laugh because that’s the best response to not fitting in.
He rounds up my change and gives me a dime instead of eight cents. This is not sustainable. Shame on you, sweet bearded man.
I wait for my sandwich amidst repeated cries of “Ali? Granola for Ali?” I become convinced that if Ali were to wait a few more minutes before accepting her granola, the lady behind the counter would have said “Please, Ali! I made it for you! Where are you? Why do you want to hurt me?”
I ask if I can have a cup for water, and the lady behind the counter excitedly says, “Yes, of course!” I like to be challenged, so I don’t enjoy my free, clean, perfect-temperature water.
I eat the breakfast sandwich, and it’s actually really good. But, Clover failed to pick up on my food critic vibes, and didn’t give me the two-for-one that I expected.
Shame on you, sweet bearded man.
— Niv M. Sultan