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It was a normal Sunday night. The standard ritual is to eat a full meal of food – healthy food, that is – in an effort to make myself feel better about heading into work the next morning. Eating a heavy meal on a Sunday night is a slippery slope. Could it possibly soak up the demons and booze that have infiltrated your body throughout the entire weekend? Of course. But it could also result in you sprinting to the bathroom at 3 a.m. to purge.
I will say that I have already lied. I didn’t actually go to a sushi restaurant. I went to a poké bowl restaurant. Poké bowls are the new acai bowls, which if you’re in the know, is the most Instagrammable and trendy food of the summer. I figured it would be the perfect mix of health and heftiness. An entire bowl of tuna mixed with assorted vegetables and oils? Yeah, sign me up. That sounds straight-up fucking delightful.
When I walked into the pop-up restaurant, there was a noticeable line. I wasn’t surprised because it had just been written-up on a popular food website, and it was a Sunday night. Upon entering, I noticed two things – the first was that the restaurant was incredibly hot. Being that it had just opened, I figure that they were still working out some of the kinks. Like, you know, how to work the damn air-conditioning.
The second thing I noticed, though, was what would become my worst enemy. There was a long line. “I’ve already made it this far,” I thought to myself. “Going to another restaurant would take just as long as waiting in this line. Let’s ride it out.”
But then I noticed that the line was comprised of those of a different breed. Their hair was exclusively in top buns. Their t-shirts looked like they’d fit me. Mediums, larges, extra larges. But they were sprinkled on size zeros and size twos. The shirts were even long enough to cover their shorts, which were 100 percent produced by Nike. Upon taking a closer look at the shirts, I started seeing letters. But not just any letters. Greek letters.
They were sorority girls.
My initial reaction was simple – it’s about to get really loud in here.
But then it happened.
It got loud. Really loud. Louder than the noise just one group of a dozen sorority girls could generate. And then I turned around to see what I imagine Mufasa saw just before he was viciously trampled to his death – another group of rival sorority girls quickly approaching from behind. They, too, were entering the restaurant looking to fulfill their hunger with the sweet tastes of sushi bowls.
“Fuck,” I thought. But it was too late. Even if I had wanted to get out, I wouldn’t have been able to. I was surrounded from all angles.
Now, normally, this would have been okay. But not anymore. I’m a red-blooded 29-year-old man with the mind and body of a 45-year-old man. Noise and banter crush my soul, and if there’s one demographic that I can no longer relate to, it’s most definitely 20-year-old sorority sisters. We don’t speak the same language because we don’t live in the same world.
Like I said, the restaurant was new. It wasn’t streamlined yet, which meant each order took a little longer while the line kept getting a little deeper. With their air-conditioning still not running full-steam ahead, I found myself sweating. The scene around me looked like what I’d imagine a Chainsmokers brunch show to look like if it was held at The Basic Bitch Festival that occurs between Coachella and Lolla. Snapchatting, Instagramming, whatever they were doing, it was supplemented with long drawn out, “Oh my Godddddds” and “Are you seriousssssss.”
The sweat came down from my brow.
“I’ll take,” she began at the register. “One spicy bowl.” Ten seconds passed. “With onion, jalapeńos…” Another ten seconds passed us by. “Kale…” And another. “What is chili oil?” The cashier answered. “Oh, that sounds good! Can I try that?” Another ten seconds. And then she paid. With a card. For only herself.
I selfishly and ignorantly assumed that these girls would pay as a group. They’re the Venmo generation, after all. But no. One-by-one, they made identical orders that all took at least ninety seconds to complete from start to finish. Meanwhile, I could still feel the heat of the rival sorority breathing down my neck as I pretended to be on my phone checking emails rather than hanging on their every annoying word about whatever choreographed dance they had to plan for whatever event was coming up.
Their presence and conversation behind me was like a tidal wave of positive energy just waiting to engulf me. And I hate every fucking second of it.
When I finally got to the register, my eyes were red and I guarantee I had sweat through my shirt. I was in a dazed panic.
“One Hawaiian-style bowl, please,” I ordered. “With chili oil and carrots.”
He wrote down my order and responded, “Alright, it’s going to be a while. Big group ahead of you.”
I leaned forward and grabbed him by the chest of his shirt. I pulled him closely to the point where our noses were almost touching.
“Just give me the goddamn bowl, man,” I shout-whispered. “Before things get ugly.”
Then I snapped out of it. I hadn’t actually accosted the owner of the poké bowl restaurant, but my fever dream was so accurate that I almost apologized.
“That’s fine, man. I’m just going to wait outside at that picnic table.”
And after I paid, I opened the door and felt the fresh air. Through the windows of the restaurant, I could see the herd of girls wearing Comfort Colors tees all laughing with one another as their bowls slowly came out from the kitchen. Despite the fact that they overwhelmed me with their sheer presence, I felt the loneliness one would feel after not getting a bid. There they were, just enjoying themselves while I was having a literal meltdown waiting for my dinner to come.
“An order for Will!” I heard twelve minutes after ordering. I didn’t even want it anymore. I just wanted to go home and get in bed and never hear anyone speak ever again.
“Thanks,” I muttered as I picked it up from the register. “This looks great.”
And then I left. Empty. Shattered. Defeated. .
Image via Foodies Feed