Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Surreal Jaunt to Chipotle

My wife had surgery today.  This surgery has been a long time coming.  Back at the end of last school year, in fact it was the day after school finished for students on the teacher work day, she was told she would have surgery over the summer.  The surgeon drug his feet scheduling an appointment, then asked that she have one more test done.  Then it was a three week wait to go over the results of the test, before they'd begin to consider scheduling surgery.  Once it was scheduled she had pre-admission testing, which turned out bad and cause the surgery to be postponed and sent us to have a visit to the Emergency Room instead.

Instead of happening one week before school started, or the middle of the summer as we had originally hoped, the surgery was pushed off until Halloween day.  The weekend was already busy enough.  My sister-in-law needed to move back in with us and that happened on Friday.  I am planning on missing the whole week of school after surgery and so I had to crank out a week's worth of quality sub lesson plans on Saturday, and some on Sunday.  Then I had to get my girls packed to spend a week with my parents and get Rachel packed for surgery.  Then finally I could settle in to do my grading, since this weekend also brought the end of the first quarter at school, and I have had many nervous students and anxious parents contacting me about being behind on grading.  I managed to finish grading Sunday night, and although I had hoped to be done putting grades into the computer by then as well, I came to the realization that I would have to spend the day of surgery typing in grades and posting updates on social media to friends and family.

Well this morning rolled around and although I got her all packed up and most of what I needed packed up, like an idiot this morning I left without the laptop charger.  I managed to get about two-thirds of my grades in and Rachel's surgery went well enough.  The doctor was only able to remove one of two bad disks in her neck and she spent the first three outs out of surgery in incredible amounts of pain.  About the time her pain began to be managed, I called the girls to tell them goodnight and Rachel fell asleep while I was out of the room.  Settling back in to continue inputting grades, the computer finally died. I arranged with my sister-in-law to meet at her work in North Dayton to get the charger from her. After that I swung one exit up to get Chipotle for dinner.
Chipotle was pretty packed because they had $3 burritos for customers who came in dressed up for Halloween. I started trying to find somewhere else nearby where I could go and get in and out faster. Then I noticed that the line wasn't as slow as it seemed, but instead the guy in the Donald Trump mask was holding things up by not advancing through the turnbuckles/s-turns. When he advanced the line moved fast and he was about one and a half lanes ahead of me. When he ordered I noticed two things: 1) he didn't take off the mask to talk, and 2) they were low on steak. As I contemplated trying a new meat and the line slowly worked its way forward I got to where I was at the last turn and ready for the straight-away to go order. Suddenly I was clapped on the shoulder by the fake Mr. Trump and as I paused my audiobook [Anathem by Neal Stephenson] he started to talk politics to me. I quickly realized another thing, this fake Trump was a lot older than he seemed at first and also is a Trump supporter.
He started off the conversation by saying, "You know Donald Trump is kind of a despicable guy and has a lot of personal problems, but when you get down to his policies they're great." My day had been too long to say anything in response, so I kind of just looked to my side and could see Mr. Trump's "backpfeifengesicht" face in his mask out of the corner of my eye [he was standing behind me after all- somewhat like the real Mr. Trump in the 2nd debate did to Secretary Clinton at one point]. For what seemed like forever, but was probably just 5 minutes, I watched the gap between the next person in line and myself grow as the line dwindled. I learned about Trump's policies on trade, security, Obamacare, college tuition, Russia, debt, Medicare, and a plethora of other issues. My favorite however, is that despite how old my beard makes me look and this day has made me feel, the fake Mr. Trump called me a millennial several times.
While fake Trump was talking the awesome employees at Chipotle #733 called out to see if anyone else in line wanted steak [there were only three of us left in line]. I gestured and hollered out that if it was possible I would like some and they put fresh steak on the grill for me. Fake Mr. Trump started to wrap up the conversation here, and when he asked me about myself he realized I was not as young as he thought, but encouraged me to do a good job shaping the students and wielding the influence I have over them. We shook hands and I got up to the window line just as the lady in front of me was ordering her second, and last, item.
The man on the tortilla press knew I was waiting for the steak so he and several other employees started making themselves food. The manager asked me which rice I wanted. Since I wanted white and it was low he picked the other rice. The employees were singing and having fun and beginning to get a little rowdy and one of them said something that could be offensive to the wrong person. When a co-worker said, "Hey idiot, knock it off there's still a customer here." I waved and we all laughed. As my steak came off the grill the manager thanked everyone for, "...staying late and working hard no questions asked. Well except for one person who asked one question. Five times. 'When can I leave?' And then left." Needless to say, Wes is in the doghouse next time he shows up to work with his co-workers who stayed tonight. They were dogging on him and honestly, I don't feel bad for Wes, even though he wasn't there to defend himself.
By now, my steak was ready, and someone new was on the tortilla press. As his co-workers began to put away the other meats and pack up the line, he asked me what I wanted. I made the same order I have made for years: steak burrito, white rice, black beans, no salsa, lots of cheese. It has been my experience that at times you can be begging for more cheese and they might add a dozen more thin strands. Well, it was closing time and this man knew how to make a burrito and how to treat a patient customer. After doing the rice and beans he added a scoop of steak, then a second, then said, "It's the end of the day," and scooped on a third scoop. There were maybe four cubes of steak left. Then he double fisted the cheese and puts on the biggest pile of cheese I have ever had on a burrito. But he wasn't done yet, he reached back into the container of cheese and grabbed another generous handful and piled that on as well. The man could barely fold the burrito closed and wrap it up for me. Then the wonderful lady at the checkout looked at me and thought to herself, he's wearing a hoodie and hasn't trimmed that beard in forever, so he must be dressed up as something and charged me $3 as if I was wearing a costume.
Yes I know that they probably charged everyone from fake Donald Trump to woman wearing a headband with cat ears, to normal guy like me $3 tonight instead of arguing with customers about whether they were dressed up or not. Either way after getting such a generous burrito, and having to wait past closing time to get steak cooked especially for me, I was expecting to pay normal price.
Anyway, it has been a long day, and it looks like it will be a late night. If you have read this far, thank you for letting me blow off some steam by sharing what was a very surreal, but in the end wonderful, experience. And fake Mr. Trump, if you're out there, way to go on voting absentee today, I hope to finalize my absentee ballot later this week. I'll weigh everything carefully and try to use my influence over students to encourage discourse and critical thinking, rather than trying to force my opinion into their head. Still I'm glad you're passionate and it was nice to talk to someone different about politics.

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