Breakfast tends to be a hurried, scattered affair where we dart from coffee maker *gulp* to toaster *chomp* to car *swallow* without tasting a thing. Dinner, by comparison, is more deliberate and considered, and is the most likely to require real, genuine table manners.
Lunch, though, lunch falls somewhere in the middle — not as rushed as breakfast, not as formal as dinner. I like lunch the best. It’s in the afternoon, when we’re wide awake and still have plenty of energy. Plus, it’s a meal we can eat with our hands without raising eyebrows. Unless you’re having soup, then zip, up go the eyebrows. Like flags up a flagpole.
Then, too, going out for lunch is cheaper than dinner. The same exact food from the same exact menu, but at a lower price. These things defy explanation, don’t they? Why, I wonder, does the time of day affect the cost of a meal? I won’t even pretend to understand.
Last week I went to lunch with a friend of mine on a beautiful summer afternoon along the riverfront. We were the only people on the patio, everyone else was inside, packed like sardines in dim lighting and stale air conditioning. And it’s unfortunate, really, because they missed quite a show.
I had the Crispy Shrimp Tacos, thank you, and a Coke. It was the Coke that was my undoing.
In a hurry to chatter and gab, I swallowed a big, unchewed mouthful of food. Now, I do this fairly regularly, swallow big, whole bites of food, no problem. This time was no different. It made its way s.l.o.w.l.y. down my throat and, thunk, stopped. I just kept breathing and waited for it to move along. Did I mention I was in a hurry? I was, but this wad of shrimp was taking it’s own sweet time.
So I took a drink of Coke. Bad move. The Coke started fizzing violently, like it’d been shaken, and backed up into my nose, my throat, my ears, too, I think. My friend popped out of her seat, ran around the table, applied the Heimlich maneuver, and Coke exploded from everywhere.
I sat there dripping and dazed, my nasal passages on fire, but the shrimp? It hadn’t budged. I sighed, dried my face, mopped up the table, hid the wet napkins in my purse, and slunk out of there. Halfway to the car, I felt the shrimp loosen its grip and, whee, down it went. I briefly considered dessert. Very, very briefly.
On a positive note: my sinuses have never be clearer.
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