There comes a time in every man’s life, and woman’s life, I don’t want to leave anyone out here, when he must, plain and simple, perform a duty, his duty. What is duty, aside from a word that always makes me giggle when I say it aloud because I’m immature? Duty is the performing of an action independent of motivation, desire, or hope of praise and glory. Duty—I’m sorry, but that really is a funny word—is that which is done simply because it must be done. Integrity demands it, character initiates it, and determination accomplishes it. Though the fulfillment of duty is often a praise-less endeavor, there is a heroism in doing one’s duty. On the other hand, shirking one’s duty is a concrete indicator of cowardice.
I began my journey down Centre Street in excitement and expectation, looking forward to all the different restaurants I would visit and foods I would eat and unique experiences I would find. That motivation, that hope, compelled me and moved me forward in my quest. But I have reached, and too soon in my opinion, the point on my adventure in which I must accomplish my duty regardless of the lack of glory to be found in it.
What terrible tragedy has befallen my odyssey? Well, you see, after Cappy’s, the next restaurant on Centre Street is Subway. I know, I know, it’s terrible. I daresay you would understand if I were to turn back, to give up, to throw in the towel, as it were. But I must be strong. I must gather up all my courage and determination and plow on. I must perform my duty no matter the cost. Yes, I must go to Subway.
Okay, honestly, Subway’s not that bad. We all know this. In fact, compared to fast food in general, it’s actually pretty good stuff. I stayed with some wonderful people in El Salvador for a couple months, and I had the opportunity to witness their first experience with Subway. They were blown away! I think they told me that it was the best sandwich they had ever had! They wouldn’t stop talking about it for probably a week! I didn’t have the heart to tell them about Quizno’s.
I like Subway, too. Not as much as my friends in El Salvador, I grant you, but still. My problem is that I know Subway; everyone knows Subway. My journey down Centre Street was meant to allow me to try new food and to find unexpected sources of great food. Subway will accomplish neither of those things: it isn’t new, and it won’t be great—good maybe, but not great.
But my task has been set, so I press on. However, I know Subway, so I understand how it works, leading me to realize that this is going to be a bit difficult. I have to get the worker to essentially tell me what I should get. That is hard enough to do once, but at Subway, I have so many choices to make!
I enter, size up the situation, approach the counter, and ask the guy what he recommends. He smiles uncomfortably and asks me what I’d like. This guy’s not helping me. I leave. Not rudely, I just stepped back, pretended to deliberate some more, and then walk out. Another time.
Okay, take two. I enter. The wonderful aroma of Subway is really quite lovely, though friends of mine who used to work at Subway assure me that it’s not so lovely when you come home every day reeking of it. Noted.
Different workers. Good. Maybe I’ll have better luck.
“What’s your most popular sandwich?” I ask. This gets an immediate response. Perhaps because I’m not asking for an opinion, like, “What’s your favorite?” but I’m asking for a measurable fact. Something concrete.
“BLT?” I respond, not hearing her correctly. BLT? A classic, but I wouldn’t expect it to be a favorite.
“No, BMT,” she replies gesturing to the pepperoni, the Genoa salami, and the Black Forest ham. I assent, though I was momentarily looking forward to bacon. “What kind of bread?” The choices, so many choices. Here we go.
“What do you recommend?”
She gives a sheepish smile, and says in a quiet voice, “Italian.”
“That’s perfect.” She pulls the bread out and cuts it.
“What kind of cheese?” I smile; she smiles back, knowing what I’m about to ask.
“What do you recommend?”
“Pepper jack, that’s what I like,” she says through a smile.
“Yes.” No need to get her opinion; a toasted sandwich is pretty much always better.
Now she asks me about vegetables. I think she expects me to ask her what she thinks I should put on my sandwich, but I decided ahead of time that I would choose my own vegetables. Vegetables on a sandwich are something that, the way I see it, are entirely subjective. Everyone has vegetables he or she likes and vegetables he or she does not like. Tomatoes may be a popular choice, but it’s not going to improve the sandwich for me, as I don’t really like tomatoes. So I just get spinach on my sandwich.
Now for the sauce. I’m nervous about this one. I already know my personal choice, but I don’t know what would be the most popular. Please, don’t let it be mustard!
“What’s most popular?” I ask.
“Chipotle.” Glorious. That’s what I was hoping for.
I go to pay, and as the cashier, a different person, rings up my order, I realize I don’t know what BMT stands for. So I ask him.
He replies, hesitantly, “Umm…Biggest, meatiest, tastiest…”
I think he’s just making it up on the spot. “Wait, seriously?”
“Well,” he responds, “there are a lot of abbreviations, but that’s the one that I know.” Interesting. Upon doing some research later on, I found out that the Italian BMT is indeed Subway’s most popular sandwich, and although BMT is indeed an abbreviation for Biggest Meatiest Tastiest, it used to stand for Brooklyn Manhattan Transit. Bet you didn’t know that!
I pay for my meal, $6.75 for the footlong, return home and enjoy my sandwich as I’m talking with my roommate about this, that, and the other. I forgot to take a picture, but you all know what a Subway sandwich looks like. My assessment? I mean, it was good. You know, it was Subway, so it was good. Nothing phenomenal. It wasn’t even my favorite sandwich that I’ve had there. But I had to do it. I was my duty.
And, sadly, this solemn duty must continue at next restaurant. Stay tuned.
Oh, I forgot to add, when I ate my sandwich, it was made with white bread, not the Italian bread that the girl had suggested. Maybe this invalidates my experience. But you know what, I don’t even care. Moving on…