A Disturbing Lack of Fries

I've been running nearly every weekday since I decided to enter the Corporate Challenge for the first time in years. I've only entered this 3.5 mile race between the employees of the greatest companies on Long Island on two previous occasions, and survived each one with a time that was neither impressive nor embarrassing. And that's my goal this year, especially since I only started running regularly again a month ago. Anything over 45 minutes will be embarrassing; anything under 40 will be acceptable. I have one friend whose goal is to do it in half that time, but my goals are realistic and based on my physique and ability.

I suppose I could eat healthier, or diet more. I guess as we get older and our metabolisms slow down, no amount of exercise will cancel out the junk food the way it did when we were kids. I'd love to be able to look down and see my feet when I'm in a standing position, but I'm glad that even my toes have begun to peek out. I've eliminated ice cream and Starbucks completely during my “training” period, and if I must snack after dinner I try to eat something small like a pudding cup or an oatmeal cookie. I know even those aren't the best choices, but at least they aren't the worst.

One thing I haven't eliminated completely that would help me is fast food. Thankfully, there are only two fast food restaurants within walking distance of my office, a Burger King and a Taco Bell. I try to avoid Burger King since that's my family's routine Saturday night dinner, but Taco Bell usually makes it into the rotation, just about every Monday now. I'll only get Burger King for lunch on days where I'm super busy and can't spend a full hour on lunch.

On Thursday, after a crazed morning trying to get several assignments out since we were rumored to have an early closing for the holiday weekend, I cleared enough space on my desk to take a break. It was Wednesday that had really hurt me, when a lightning strike knocked out our power for only a few seconds, but my computer wouldn't restart until one of the tech guys ran some serious repair software on it, a process that ended up taking over two hours. At least it was right before lunch, but when I returned he was still working on it, didn't think he had a temporary computer available for me, and long story short my office got really clean that afternoon. It wasn't a great start to a July that's already promising multiple new assignments as well as band jobs every weekend and on a few weekdays. And it's all going to culminate in that race at the end of the month, after which I can collapse and enjoy most of August.

After getting caught up from the time I'd lost the day before, I decided to grab a quick bite from Burger King. If we were getting out around 2 PM, it didn't feel right to go out for an hour, then come back and leave for the day. Thursday was even stranger than Wednesdays, with a series of massive storms spaced out between clear skies and high humidity. I managed to get my walk on in between these storms, and when I arrived at Burger King I pondered my options. A Transformers-themed sandwich called a “Double Stackticon” was calling to me, but I'd waved an old woman and her two grandchildren ahead of me.

“What do you mean no fries?” she asked the young clerk, who turned and conferred with his manager before gesturing to the empty fry rack. I've never seen that silver bin empty, devoid of golden greasy goodness. But there it sat, dull lifeless metal with no heat lamps on. “Ask her if they'd want apple fries instead,” said the manager to her young protegé, which struck me as odd since we could all hear her. “We have apple fries,” he repeated, while the little boy and girl continued to shove one another and voice their concerns about the lack of French fries. I thought of being a wiseass and asking if they had Freedom fries instead in honor of July 4th, but the screaming kids, increasing line behind me, and thought of fast food without a proper side was enough for me, and I was already walking out the door.

There were only four other options in that strip mall. I could eat Taco Bell for the second time in the same week, which was a serious consideration. I could get Chinese food, but it was getting close to 1:30 and I didn't want to stay out much longer. That left a deli and a pizza place. A few paces ahead of me, a quartet of high school girls were arguing about something. One spit in the other's face, who complained it was disgusting. The other retorted with something that sounded like, “I'll spit in your ###HOLE!”, but I must have heard that wrong. Kids don't talk like that, especially girls, right? Right? Oh, America. They went into the pizza place; I went into the deli. There I enjoyed an iced tea and a hero with lettuce, tomato, turkey, ham, and American cheese. There's also the possibility that I found half of a fly smashed into a piece of lettuce, but I'm trying really hard not to think about that, or the swarm around the counter that reminded me why I rarely eat in that particular deli.

In the end, I got back to the office at 2, and put in another hour of work. I got to the gym three hours earlier than usual, and got a decent parking spot for once. And, after two days of gradually running less distance over the course of an hour, I got back up to 5.49 miles, and felt great doing so. We are what we eat, after all. After eating at Taco Bell, Dunkin' Donuts(love their flatbread sandwiches and hash browns), and Subway the three days prior, maybe a deli sandwich was slightly more healthy. Maybe that fly even gave me extra zip. As for Burger King, when I walked by on my way back, I saw that they'd put a sign up that they'd be closed for the next hour. Perhaps I wasn't the only patron disturbed by the lack of fries, and they opted to shut down completely until the problem was resolved. At the very least, it forced me to eat real food, and that's not bad.


Post a Comment

<< Home