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Taking My Kids To The Salad Place

I took my kids to the salad place. It’s this great big huge salad buffet with everything you can imagine putting on a salad ever. Plus there’s soup and some pasta and muffins and ice cream. Though not without beauty, it was a terrifying experience.

My daughter and I got the pre-made Caesar salads and just added a few things like blue cheese crumbles and croutons. My son, however, started from scratch and created his salad out of the whispered inspiration of his salad muse. This prompted me and my daughter to start calling him The Salad Artist. He took pride, at first, in being called The Salad Artist but my daughter, as she often does, took things too far until The Salad Artist started whining Stop calling me The Salad Artist, to which my daughter or I would respond Okay okay okay; take it easy, Salad Artist. More exasperation. More exasperating. An entertaining vicious cycle.

The salad bar overwhelmed me and I wanted to count the garbanzo beans to assume some semblance of control in that chaos of vegetables. I thought bitter things about abundance, America, and capitalism, and then I thought bitter things about being the kind of person who thinks bitter things about abundance, America, and capitalism. I told myself to shut up and snag some couscous.

I was especially attuned to the noise in the restaurant and I had this weird depersonalized experience where all the people talking too loud with their mouths full of salad appeared absurd in a godless world that lacked meaning. Everything was groundless. Or maybe I was hungry. So I ate my salad but the restaurant remained loud and strange.

There was an old woman there with a cane and a knee brace, limping to and from the buffet. I had the odd sensation of hating her. What? I know. She never did anything to me. And yet there was an urgent feeling lurking within that the woman was a menace and I imagined myself kicking her cane. But I didn’t. I just kept my eye on her while wondering what kind of untamed beast raged inside my outrageous heart.

The best part about taking my kids to the salad place was that they both got orange pop. They got into this really cool brother/sister groove where they’d grab their glasses at the same time and slurp on orange pop. I wanted to write a poem about it. Wanting to write a poem about it is my way of telling you that I don’t fully understand the significance of this synchronized pop sipping. But I watched them, my daughter and The Salad Artist, swigging orange pop in unison, and I forgot about the noise and the menacing old woman. I thought that perhaps we would all be okay.

1 out of 4 stars.

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