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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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If I Can’t Be ‘Normal’, Can’t I at Least Be ‘Regular’?

Okay, what’s it gonna take to get these Subway people on board?

Honestly, I think I’m doing all I can here. I’m completely holding up my end of the bargain, and doing all the right things. The ball is clearly in their court.

And yet, I’m getting shut out. Ignored. Forgotten. And so I ask, what on earth is it going to take?!

All I want is to be a regular customer. One of the guys, you know? Someone who’s at least recognized, if not anticipated. I want them to say things to me like:

Hey, you’re back again!


Oh, there he is — it must be lunchtime!

or, dare I dream it:

So, you want the usual?

Oh, ‘the usual‘ — how I long to have ‘the usual‘! I had it — and outstanding ‘regular’ treatment, I might add — at the sandwich shop I frequented at my last job. And I was only there two or three times a week! Still, after a month or so, they knew exactly what I wanted — chicken cutlet, bread toasted, without marinara, with lettuce, onions, mayo and jalapenos. Sometimes, I wouldn’t have to even wait in line to order — the guys would throw it in the oven for me as soon as I hit the door. It was paradise, I tell you — paradise!

But those days are gone now. Oh, are they ever. I’ve been going down to the Subway in the food court next door for two months now — at least two days a week, and every damned weekday in December — and what do I have to show for it? Nothing. Not even a glimmer of recognition.

Every day, I wait in line, until I get to the ‘Bread and Dressing Girl’. She’s Latina, kind of a big girl, unfortunate acne problem… but none of that’s really important. All I ever see is her eyes. I look into them every day, as I make my same order, over and over: ‘Footlong chicken breast on wheat, please.‘ I study her for some flash of remembrance, some clue that some day, some magical day, she’ll save me the trouble and ask me if that’s what I want. Or better yet, just assume that’s my order, and begin preparing it, with a little nod and a knowing smile in my direction.

And do I find that glimmer, that reason to hope? Ever? No. Every day, she stares back at me with those bored, tired, dead eyes, and sighs a little sigh, and turns around to get my bread. And does she then throw me a bone, perhaps asking, ‘Swiss cheese and mayo, as usual?’ Hardly. I get the ‘You want cheese, or dressing?‘ treatment, just like the other schmucks in line… like some rookie, some first-timer, some… some… Subway virgin. I don’t deserve this kind of treatment, man.

But I take it. What else can I do? A man’s gotta eat, right? It’s not like I’m gonna go to McDonalds, or Au Bon Pain — Subway’s my place. I’m gonna ‘eat fresh’, no matter how unpersonable and cold the heartless assholes who work there are.

Even so, I’ve still got some hope at that point. That first cold fish is just the beginning of the assembly line — I’ve got two, maybe three, more shots to feel like one of the gang. And so, I move on to the ‘Condiment Crew’.

Now, depending on what time I make it down for some grub, there’s either one or two people working the ‘veggie pit’. It’s either the professional, managerial Indian guy, or the younger, skate-punk dude, or (during the lunch rush) both. They seem like nice folks — people I could hang out with over a beer, in the right situation. Plus, they’re guys; maybe that bread bitch just has a ‘thing’ against men. Surely, at least one of these guys will hook me up and remember my order, right? Right?

*Bzzzzzzzt* Noooooo. Every stupid damned time, I bop my way down the line, hoping for some props. Sometimes, I even give them the ‘yo, what’s up?‘ head nod that we fellas give each other. And what’s the response, each and every mother-bitching time?

What would you like on your sandwich, sir?

Weh, weh, weh. ‘Wha’ would you like on yer sammich… sir?‘ Fuck you, dude. Where’s the love, man?

I know you get a fair number of people in here, but I’m here every damned day, dog. You oughta know what I’d ‘like on my sammich, sir‘ by now — lettuce, pickles, and all the peppers. Same as yesterday. Same as last week, and the week before that. Same as October, dude. Does anyone else come in here and order like that? I’m guessing, ‘no‘. So would it be such a gargantuan feat to put a face with an order, and at least — oh, at the very fucking least — remember it enough to not ask me, every single time:

Uh, you want the jalapenos, too?

Goddammit, yes, I want the jalapenos. Last I checked, there, Skippy, jalapenos were peppers. And I asked for ‘all the peppers‘, so yuh-huh, slap ’em on there, dude. Gimme the greens, and the yellows, and the jalapenos, and stop asking me dumbassed questions!

I said all the peppers, Flubbo — all of ’em. You got habaneros, or Scotch bonnets, or chipotles lyin’ around back there, then give ’em to me! Gimme all the peppers, and if I find out that I can’t handle the heat, then I’ll change my order next time. I promise you’ll be in the clear — I’m not gonna come storming back with lips on fire, threatening a lawsuit because you gave me jalapenos when I said ‘all the peppers‘. What I am gonna do, though, is shove one of those loaves of ‘hearty Italian’ bread up your ass, if you don’t remember my order, and stop asking me if ‘all the peppersmeansall the peppers‘! I’m already saying way more things to you than I should have to at this point in the game — don’t make this harder on us both, dude.

So, needless to say, I’m in a pretty crappy mood by the time I get to the timid little Indian girl at the cash register. Which is too bad, really, because she seems nice, and I’ve thought — between the waves of seething frustration blocking my vision — that she might even have that faint glimmer of recognition that I’m looking for. Certainly, she doesn’t seem all that surprised any more when I ask for ‘a medium drink, no chips‘. But by the time I get to her, I’ve given up, and I just listlessly fork over the dough, take my cup and my sandwich, and slink off to mope, and eat, and mope some more. Lunches are just so depressing now.

I’m not sure where all this is gonna end. I figure I’ll give these jokers until Christmas to shape up, it being the holiday season and all. But so help me, if I go down there in January, and I get asked what kind of cheese I want, or whether I want the meal special, or if I’m interested in ‘the jalapenos, too‘, I’m gonna go postal on those bitches. I can just see me leaping over the counter, and grabbing one of them by the collar, screaming, ‘It’s me, dammit! It’s me! Don’t play dumb with me, you asshole — you know what I want!!

So, um, yeah… if I suddenly stop posting after the new year begins, you’ll know that I’m probably in jail. Locked up for assault, or under psychiatric observation — something like that. Which is fine, I guess. At least in those places, they bring the food to you, and you don’t have to make any choices or talk to anyone about how you’d like your food prepared. It’s not quite the same as being a ‘regular’, but it’s a helluva lot better than the crap I’m putting up with now. I just hope they put jalapenos on the sandwiches in jail. Otherwise, I’m gonna have a whole different set of issues. Bitches!

Permalink  |  8 Comments

8 Responses to “If I Can’t Be ‘Normal’, Can’t I at Least Be ‘Regular’?”

  1. SuperSteve says:

    *wild applause*

    As a former “sandwich artist” many years back, this is the funniest thing I have ever read. Kudos to you…

  2. Adrienne says:

    I feel for ya. When you go to the same place that often they should remember what you want.

  3. liz says:

    you’re starting to sound like a celebrity who got pulled over to drunk driving – don’t you know who I m??? well, I’m “all the peppers guy”. how dare you question me??

  4. Buzz says:

    I hear ya, dawg. Years ago, when I spent way way way too much time in a certain local drinking establishment, it got to the point where my drink was waiting for me at MY seat before I even got there. I thought that was SO AWESOME! All it really meant was that it was about time to check into a rehab, but my point is, I dig where you are coming from, cat. (Yeah, I’m reading a lot of Kerouac these days.)

  5. nefarious says:

    Here’s what you do: Throw an ever-lovin’ $#!t-fit one day. ‘How many #$%^ days do I have to order the same #@$^^%&# sandwich with the same mutha #%*^$@#$ toppings, the same shi@#ing bread, the same @#$^^& dressings EVERY #$%*^& DAY for you to remember, you $^%&^@ IDIOT!!!

    Then, the next day, act like nothing ever happened. Be as polite as possible. Compliment acne-girl on her dead, lifeless eyes.

    Rotate strategies until they remember you. You might not end up with “NORM!!!!!” results, but a “Hey, here comes the nutjob” is better than nothing!


  6. Monkey says:

    How the steaming cunt does one pronounce “#@$^^%&#”?

  7. Scott-san says:

    See, the way I feel is that the moment I become “regular” and they assume they know what I want is the day I’m gonna be in the mood for a change, and they’ll feel belittled / embittered for asking if I want “the usual.”

    And I’m kind-of a misanthrope, so I don’t care if these people recognize me or not.

  8. Lara says:

    Charlie, you’re our “regular blogger” or at least mine! Screw the subway people! You have us!!! Who needs those BASTARDS! That Jared has really been getting on my nerves lately, I should have known from his commercials that the people who work there are just untrustworthy and evil!

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