I seldom rant in public, but this one is well deserved.

I'm something of an oddity, locally, in that I can't eat spicy foods.


... ... notice that I didn't say I didn't like them (I don't, for the most part) but that I can't eat them.

Oh yes, I like *spice*, salt, garlic, various and assorted herbs, but not hot peppers or anything that has produces capsaicin or any of the various acids so many people seem to enjoy.

According to wikipedia ...

It is common for people to experience pleasurable and even euphoriant effects from eating capsaicin-flavored foods. Folklore among self-described "pepperheads" attributes this to pain-stimulated release of endorphins, a different mechanism from the local receptor overload that makes capsaicin effective as a topical analgesic.

Pardon me!? ... It doesn't seem to me that I'm the one who should be looked at strangely.

Be that as it may, I don't really care what other people eat.

The problem I have is that so many people seem to have a problem with what I don't eat. I've learned I have to be careful when I'm ordering out because nacho rings come standard on a staggering assortment of foods.

- if you order a baked potato at a steak house, they ask if you want cheese and sour cream on it. Is it too much trouble, if you order enchiladas, to ask if you want peppers on them?

The pseudo problem is the eye-rolling and not-so-subtle inference that I'm high-maintenance when I'm careful to avoid peppers.

The real problem:
and I'm going to put this in bold because people don't seem to be able to grasp the concept...

You CAN NOT pick them off because the juice is still in the food. (Like olives. I don't like olives either, but they don't cause me pain. You can't pick olives off because you can still taste them. Mushrooms, you can pick off. No problem.)

If you use a fork to pick peppers out of the jar, do NOT use the same fork for ANYTHING else.

... and I get accused of being too sensitive and over reactive.

So this all came to a head last Friday night.

I'd been on the road since 8am and hadn't eaten since 2pm. At 10pm, I drove thru my favorite Sonic, ordered a Mayo-cheeseburger and continued down the road.

with the first bite, I realized I'd gotten a mustard burger instead. yuck. But, you know, you always get screwed in the drive through. And that seems to go double for me. No matter how polite and/or precise I am, I tend not to get exactly what I ordered.

On the second bite - the mustard seemed a little spicy. I had never had Sonic's mustard before so I wasn't sure what to think. It certainly didn't taste good to me in any way, but I was hungry and already several miles down the road.

On the third bite, I got a mouthful of jalapeƱo. The inside of my mouth felt like it'd been spritzed with acid. (literally, actually, that's about what happened. ..swabbed, not spritzed).

I pulled over, turned the light on and, yes, my burger had a generous handful of pepper slices, seeds and hot stuff and all. I turned around and drove back to the Sonic and had a chat with the manager about it. He was very understanding and sympathetic as was the young lady who had worked the window.

They gave my $4 back and I went on my way.

The problem is that, for a moments inattention by the girl working the window, my mouth burned for nearly 40 minutes. By the next day, the roof of my mouth had blistered.

- I'm assuming she simply grabbed the wrong burger and that it wasn't some kind of sick, malicious joke on the part of the kitchen.

Three days later, the blisters are finally healing.

Now, I don't know if the girl at the window was stressed in some way, if she'd had a bad day, or maybe one that was good enough to keep her distracted, but for whatever reason, she handed that burger out the window. Maybe it wasn't her, maybe the kitchen staff accidentally switched the bags. Who knows?

The girl that served me that burger has probably never considered that it might *really* be important to get the orders right, or that she might have a real influence on someone's day. She probably gets frustrated and even agitated at the complaints she has to put up with. But wouldn't it be great if more servers would take a real personal interest in customer satisfaction?

I'll bet if she had blistered the top of her mouth, she'd start being more careful about what she handed out the window.

(argh - this is getting too long) but to tie it back in to writing, my Sideways class last week was on using intended, as well as unintended, consequences in your plotting. This is certainly the kind of thing that would be guaranteed to cause conflict between characters.

- And this is exactly the kind of thing Holly talks about in using unintended consequences in your plotting ... following a simple, seemingly inconsequential action, to a logical yet unexpected conclusion.


Leah Braemel said...

(What's a Nacho Ring?)

I like spicy food, but these days, it doesn't like me :(

Luckily for me, although I've had bad experiences with the drive thru, they've never caused that type of distress. BUT my son's girlfriend is deathly allergic to anything with nuts. Even though she tells the people at restaurants she goes to, there is often miscommunication between the dining area and the kitchen. A few years ago, she was working at the Cannes Film Festival and the restaurant she went to must have served her something with nuts because very quickly she ended up in a French hospital minutes away from dying - her epipen just wasn't enough.

On behalf of the girl working the window, the places I've been there's usually someone else filling the bags and hopefully it was an honest mistake where someone misread Mayo for Mustard but still ... that could have been a deadly mistake.

Leah Braemel said...

I forgot to say - I LOVE your rants. It makes me feel so much better when I go on my own.

L.A. Mitchell said...

Yuck. My pet peeve is when they're slipped unbenownst to me in someone's recipe. It's like a stealth attack.

Eat some Halloween candy. It'll make your mouth feel better :)

Val said...

[Nacho Ring = sliced jalapeno pepper]
Sorry to hear about your bad experience @ Sonic... Karen M used to live right around the corner from good ol' Sonic & was a frequent customer until one day she looked through the window & saw an employee BLOWING INTO the hot-dog bag to open it! I find my stomach is not nearly as forgiving of my dietary indiscretions as she used to be...