Today is one of those days where I’m sort of stuck in the vague zone of melancholy — not so depressed I can’t actually function but still lacking the motivation to do much besides stare into space. Work feels monotonous, the usual time-wasters are missing their luster and the half-written Friday flashback just seems way too crappy to publish.
In an effort to shake the funk, I decided to forgo the packed lunch I brought to work and indulge a sudden craving for greasy Chinese food. I work in the ‘burbs and don’t really have a sense of the food offerings around the office building, so I just aimed my car toward the closest Chinese restaurant — one that did not require me to brave any of the nearby soul-sucking seven-lane intersections. I thought about calling in the order and bringing it back to the office, but I figured a solo lunch out might do my melancholy some good.
I almost laughed out loud when I noticed all seven people dining in the establishment when I walked in were dining alone. It was as if this tiny dark Chinese food restaurant in the middle of a suburban strip mall was the place where social skills go to die.
Y’all. The food was horrible. I know by definition, most greasy Chinese food is bad, but it’s generally bad in that oh-so-good kind of way. This food was just bad bad. The wonton soup had a single bland wonton with tasteless meat-like filling. The fried rice was burnt. The egg roll filling had this weird bitter taste. Also, the assortment of music playing included — but was not limited to — Katy Perry’s Fireworks and TLC’s Waterfalls.
But it was cheap and the food was ready immediately, two things I’ll never complain about. The lady running the joint was attentive enough to get the job done without hovering or really ever checking on me, which is exactly my preferred level of interaction for a lunch like that. She also gave me a to-go Diet Coke without me asking for one, and anyone who sends me on my way with a fountain Diet Coke has a special place in my heart. And I do actually like TLC’s Waterfalls.
Maybe there’s some moral to be drawn from my lunch excursion, or maybe what I really need to be doing is exploring the reason(s) for my melancholia, but, I don’t know. This notion of a dark, dingy strip mall Chinese food restaurant with bad food and diners who all roll solo just seemed significant enough to stand on its own.