Posts Tagged ‘food’

It was late Sunday evening, and me and Sejin were hungry.  Receiving no answer after phoning a local Sharjah Pizza Hut for delivery, we visited their website and lodged a light-hearted complaint.

Sent: Sunday, June 24, 2012 11:16 PM
To: MENAPAKT PH Customer Care
Subject: Customer Feedback

From: Madam Josh, Yager

Comments : 11pm no delivery? ㅋㅋ I am disappointed. This is infuriating. If you don’t want my money, you should have just said so on your website. Now I have to go eat my money because I can’t have any pizza tonight!

It was Sejin’s quick thinking that cleverly disguised me as a woman.  In the end, I did not follow through on my threat to eat my money that night.  We had some Trix cereal, fell asleep, and generally did everything outside of thinking about Pizza Hut.  The next morning, Sejin found this in her work inbox, since we had regrettably provided her real e-mail address:

Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 9:57 AM
Subject: FW: Customer Feedback

Dear   Madam Josh,

Thank you for bringing this feedback to our attention and please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience brought by this situation.

Please be informed that by copy of this message, we are forwarding your comments to Mrs. Faten Sabek from Kuwait Food Company, Americana   our Pizza Hut franchise partner in UAE who will be contacting you to discuss further the issue you have raised.

Please do not hesitate to contact us again in the future.

Thanks and regards,
Pizza Hut Customer Care
Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey

It was clear that upper-level management of Pizza Hut felt genuinely hurt that I had chosen to consume my money out of spite.  But they weren’t about to let me keep eating my money, not when they could conceivably convince me to trade it for one of their marginally less nutritious pizzas instead.  I have to commend their business acumen; a lesser company would not have made this connection.

Later in the evening, Sejin received a new e-mail from one Mohamed Yakout, whose mail signature revealed that he was a rogue operative working outside the Pizza Hut bureacracy:

Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 6:04 PM
From: Mohamed Yakout
Subject: RE: Customer Feedback

Dear Ms. Josh,

Thanks a lot for bringing your feedback about Pizza Hut to my attention but kindly email your contact number in order to get more details from you and take the necessary action.

Best regards,

Mohamed Yakout
Kuwait Food Co. (Americana)

“Take the necessary action?”  My blood ran cold.  I immediately established that the executive bigwigs at Pizza Hut had gotten wind of my complaint and wanted to silence me for good.  Shit, I had gotten in too deep!  They knew they should have made delivery available until at least midnight–they knew it!–but now that I had the power to topple their empire, they had no choice.  Had Pizza Hut really just outsourced a hit on me, Ms. Josh, using this Kuwaiti hired hitman?  Curious to a fault, I told Sejin to go ahead and e-mail her home telephone number to this corporate assassin.

Sejin left for work the next morning.  After she closed the front door, the phone rang down the hallway.  I walked to it, reached down, and picked up the receiver, expecting Sejin had forgotten something.  Maybe she wanted to take some Trix cereal for the work commute.  Maybe she liked Trix as much as I did.  Instead, I was greeted by the raspy voice of Murderin’ Mohamed.

“Hello, can I speak to… Madam… Joshua Yager?”

To be continued…?

 

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I guess it would be good to establish the scene.


I’m sitting in a freezing tent overlooking Rome’s Tiber River.  The time is hovering around 1:00 AM.  It has been a drizzly day, a rainy week, and a boozy binge.  Wine is cheap in Italy, but its quality is not.


I’ve been going at this trip for three months now.  Grazing glaciers, inside ruins, under seas, over seas, through valleys, above mountains, 12,000 kilometers by rail, boat, bus, bike, plane and foot–this is the easy part of my plan.  I never, ever know where I will be two days from the current day.  I usually don’t know what day of the week it is.  Sometimes I’ve had to sleep in a different place every night.  I’ve woken up once and forgotten which country I was in.  People I meet along the way ask me what my plans are, where I’m going, or how long I’m going to do this.  I just don’t know.  There is no hint in my answer as to whether this is a good or bad deal; it is the deal, and I neither mind it nor relish it.  I appreciate the rush of cultures and the chance it provides to meet the world on my own terms.  I regret the missed opportunities to stay and learn more.  I am very fortunate.  I am whittling away mispent youth.  I am happy.  I am happy.


They ask me if I’m traveling alone.  The most common question.  They look at my backpack and ask.  Well, yeah, I am.  Of course.  Except that I’m not.  Physically, yes, but I’m connected with friends old and new, the people I’ve known and the people I’m coming to know.  I’m always missing people.  The pattern: I meet people, get to know them, escalate a friendship, we have fun, maybe some mutual epiphanies or two, then abruptly separate.  This trip is supposed to help me connect with people, and every day, it is.  But I guess I never stopped to think for how long I could be connected.


Then there’s Caligula.  They always ask me about Caligula.  I enthusiastically explain that he’s a 1979 historical pornography.  They invariably knod their heads in silence.   It makes me think I’m the only person who can appreciate Caligula for who he is.

 

 

“This place has really gone to shit.”

 


I stand in front of ruins, or, if I’m lucky enough, in them.  I think about the people who used to stand and walk and talk where I am now, and how much we would have in common.  But that’s just the effect of ruins: by definition they evoke thoughts of the past and a future without us in which everything we’ve ever known will have similarly eroded.  I think about the people I’ve met and I wonder what they’re doing right at that moment.


Like now, my host in Reykjavik.  What’s she doing?  Scuba diving?  She was an instructor.  Or Ewen in Dunoon?  He fucked up his leg.  Probably having sex with sheep.  Taro in dirty Wales?  Could be watching Ewen’s sheep sex via camchat.  Kristina in London?  Reading would be a good guess.  Friends from Amsterdam?  Back to real life.  And the Erasmus students, my God, the students from Brno!  They’re probably just getting really drunk or dancing, but definitely not dying anywhere.  The Japanese friends I met in Prague?  Back in Japan, but doing what?  Karaoke?  And this one other guy who got banned from Europe.  Not any specific country, but Europe.  The whole thing.  How much of a badass do you have to be to get blacklisted from an entire continent?  Apparently, as much of one as he was.  The Slovenian who designed a spaceship powered by bearshit and hosted me for a week?  Moving on to the building phase?  I wonder.  All these things, I wonder while I wander.


It’s freezing in this tent.  I don’t know why I thought this might be a good idea.  The tent, I mean.  I also don’t know why I wrote this out, but then again, I still don’t know where I’ll even be tomorrow.  Taking a cheap train south, but then what?  I’m running out of Europe; only Greece is left.  I have to climb Mt. Olympus in a Kratos costume and topple Zeus before I start to enter the long string of countries I couldn’t even place on a map.  The main part of the trip.  The long part.  Then, finally, at the end where these sorts of things tend to be, is the goal.


And I wonder what will happen then.

 

Back when I first arrived in Japan three-and-a-half years ago, I was deeply in lust.  The cashier at my local McDonald’s (the one just past the rice fields) caught my eye and I wrote a power ballad on a series of napkins, lamenting the unattainable.  Although I later learned that she may have been, in fact, a teenager, that didn’t alter the fundamental dynamics of our relationship.  I associated McPork sandwiches with pleasure and those who handled my McPork sandwiches with all the trappings of a common streetwalker.  Pleasure was provided at a cost–120 yen for two buns–and I could scarcely hide the euphoria of interaction from my young students, who brought our relationship to a climax by confronting both of us at the counter: “Joshu, is she your type?”

“O damnation, children; it is not for you to bring into the light that which survives only when nurtured in the darkest recesses of our subconscious.”  Ours was the bread mold of love.

McDonald’s Girl, although your smile eventually faded as more stable and long-term relationships truly impacted more than my colon alone, one of whom is at the very heart of my trip around the world, I want to thank you for briefly making me feel like a schoolboy. I’ve thought about you and the fascinating 1:1 correspondence between food and romance.  I fear you would not recognize me anymore.  I’m much more confident.  I also hate your former employer.  And I don’t even really eat beef so much now.  But thanks to you, I once was lovin’ it.

 

Like this, except with more lotion.

 

To all the unrequited lovers out there, supersize your hearts and hear my sad story:

 

Ode to the McDonald’s Girl

Oh, McDonald’s Girl!

The way

You tilt your head

Your eyes light up

You stare at me

–And giggle!–

When I try to order every night, stammering

“Uhh, yes, good evening…I…umm…hmm…well…I want…”

But you

Just cut me off now,

Already knowing my order full well.

I pay you, briefly touching

And out from the fryer come

Two hot McPork sandwiches

My favorite.

Oh, you know me too well!

Just not Biblically,

But, oh,

How I would love to see you smile.

 

 

Oh, McDonald’s Girl!

I have been

So patient

Waiting in line for you

Behind all these other suitors.

How I

Would love for you to say,

“Welcome. Can I take your order?”

But until then

I wait,

Thinking

When will you let me

Have you to go?

Super-size our love?

Get free refills?

I want to do

Everything.

I’m lovin’ it.

 

 

Oh, McDonald’s Girl!

Why do you even ask?

You know

The only combo I want is

Me

And

You

And maybe

Your sister

Space permitting.

But please,

Hold the pickles.

Especially mine.

 

 

Oh, McDonald’s Girl!

Your food, it is

So bad

Yet it tastes

So good.

I wonder–

Is it cooked

With love?

Or is it

Something else–

Hydrogenated bean oil,

Perhaps?

But now there is no time,

Not to think

Not to muse

Not to ogle

Because my sandwiches

Are done,

Already.

Wow,

That’s the fastest

That’s ever happened,

I swear.

 

 

Oh, McDonald’s Girl!

I have to know:

Am I your only regular customer?

I sit at the booth and

I think about

The things I would do to you

If I knew your name

If I knew you consented

If I knew you were legal

But

Until I know your language,

I will never know you,

Biblically

Or otherwise.