The Grapes of Wrath

Every time I order from my local Chinese take out place (which is often, I have a fried chicken wing addiction) they include a free can of grape soda.

I’ve tried asking them not to. I don’t drink soda that often and when I do, it’s never sugary florescent purple stuff. But when I say “no grape soda,” they somehow think I’m ordering grape soda. And when that happens, I get two cans: one I pay for and one that they insist on giving me. They must really think I love that stuff.

Which, of course, must be why they get so confused on the rare occasions they understand I’m saying no grape soda. They get so sad. “NO grapesodaaa?” And I feel like I’ve wronged them. So of course, the first time that happened, I relented. My words echo in my mind to this day. “Oh no, it’s ok, you can give me the grape soda.” And then the nice old man on the phone laughed as if we’d shared some sort of private joke.

That should’ve given me a hint of what was to come. The next time I tried to request no grape soda, desperately, he recognized my voice and he understood me. God help me, he understood the words I said, but he laughed off my request like some cosmically funny inside joke that the two of us had created together. “Ah yes, ‘no’ grape soda,” he said with a wink that I could hear over the phone.

Nooooo! I screamed (in my head). “I mean it, no grape soda.” “Ok, ok,” he replied, sounding tired of “our” joke but committed to humoring me. When I got my order, I knew what I would find. A pristine, frosty cartoon purple can tucked to one side of my greasy bag of food.

Desperate and running out of fridge space (because I guiltily stored every can I got), I tried a new tactic. I started ordering gingerale. I was hopeful that they’d match the free soda to the one I ordered. But no. More grape soda.

At this point I’d run out of shelf space. I was starting to stack bright purple cans on top of each other, to fit in the fridge. I started offering them to people. This destroyed both friendships and my foodie cred. How could I be offering this stuff to people?

The truth was, I didn’t know what else to do. I had tried every possible way of refusing them, short of throwing the cans at the innocent delivery man when he brought my order. So one day, I gave in and did this.

Might as well start enjoying them however I can. Olé!


Classing It Up

It’s that wonderful time of year again! When Ben and/or Jerry decide to give out free ice cream cones. When BBC America deems that yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch. And Gotham, ah Gotham, provides two full days of free writing classes to would-be wordsmiths.

I took a fiction class tonight to kickstart my personal writing back up. That whole be-careful-what-you-wish-for thing totally applies to my dream food writing job. Doing it all day long makes it a lil harder to want to do it more afterhours. (Why does that whole sentence sound so dirty?)

Because there were so many fiction classes to choose from, I went the creepy route and googled the heck out of all the instructors. One stood out because she taught writing in a prison. I figured she had to be good or else they’d have shanked her.

Now, I think if I’d kept this quiet, I could have been proud of my proactive approach to finding a good teacher. But no. Of course I had to go and raise my hand during the Q&A and ask about the prison thing. And of course she had to pause and tilt her head and muse, “Oh I mentioned that? (puzzled look)” And then of course, I had to explain my whole Google-based decision making process to an entire room full of people edging their chairs away from me. The coup de grace was when I waved my hand dismissively and giggled “Creeeepiee!” Yeah, one guy screamed and ran out the door.

Ugh. Maybe I should just get therapy. Do they give any free sessions or discounts through Groupon?