Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Grilled Chicken Salad


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One weekend can feel like an eternity when I return to campus. I feel years behind those who decided to stick it out and stay. I ran home and now I feel as if everyone I have made connections with has to catch me up on their life. But I was only gone for three days.

So many stories have molested my ears and filled my head, I am surprised I did not call out for an aspirin. Food is the best way to swap stories. And that was precisely what my roommate and I did after I returned from my somewhat uneventful philosophy class--group assignments lead to little brain activity, thus, I felt disturbingly tired.

The latest hot spot for this semester--typically infested by many with which I would not want to be trapped in an elevator--was eerily vacant for the afternoon. Cieanna and I made our way to one of the restaurants inside, ordered a quick meal and received the annoying, buzzing, flashing plastic discs that alarm the customer of their food waiting for their consumption. I hate those discs. I had just gotten my drink from the fountain when mine began "alerting" me, quite violently actually, of the salad set out on the counter. Cieanna's quickly mimicked the same noise and we promptly found a place to sit and enjoy our meal.

A grilled chicken salad--that is what they call it. The chicken does not look grilled. The leaves were not just lettuce, but a mixture of red cabbage, spinach and romaine and iceberg lettuce. The tomatoes and onions were left for me to chop as I please. Because of this, I just tossed them to the side. It was a good salad, just unexpected. Cieanna kept it safe: chicken tenders and fries. While I attempted to attack the large bowl of salad, she spoke.

"I can't believe I did it, Jennifer," she said.

I could not believe it either. Though the details shall remain scant, I am sure she will be thinking differently about how she handles herself. I am gone for a weekend, and she ensues a possible riot. It would not be the first time she has done something weird over the period of a short weekend, but her feelings about her decisions seem to intensify as the year presses on. I try to not make a point to judge, but listen. It is not like I have not put myself in dumber, though not necessarily similar, situations.

She finished her food before I did. There was something in her voice as she spoke. Words were coming, however her mind seemed to be still reeling over the details, and as the empty words fell from her, clearly only for her benefit, I just sat in my seat quietly trying to stab a flimsy, plastic fork through a fresh, rather large, crouton. One thing that pleases me: they use fresh, buttery croutons. Even Truett's does not accommodate me in such a way. Changes one's whole idea of the salad.

"So, what have we learned from this experience?" I said, rather sarcastically, once she had dotted the last "i" of her thoughts.

Cieanna then gave me the look. She and I both knew as long as she was still here, it would be more than difficult to escape these types of situations. She had already made the riotous connections.

"I know I don't want to be that type of person," she said. A good decision given the circumstances.

The ranch dressing the restaurant gave me was hardly enough for the entire salad. I suppose it is to keep me from soaking my salad and turning my rather healthy meal into a fattening party for my easily expandable stomach. They must know me and my eating habits. However, if they were, indeed, such amazing foreseers, they would have known I would want more ranch, thus, to be good servers, would have presented me with a size option on the amount of ranch--or dressing of my choice--I am allowed to drizzle onto the plethora of leaves and veggies handed to me in the large, porcelain bowl. During my roommate's slew of thoughts, I was contemplating how to distribute the contents of the plastic cup evenly. About a second after I began, I quickly gave up and began stabbing my remaining croutons again.

Her stories reminded me of mine from this past weekend. There was not a lot to say, but I am known for remember more details than some, so I was able to conjure up a nice small tale when asked, "What did you do this weekend while you were home?"

"Not much... I mean..." I sat there thinking, "Should I tell the story--the one real story I have?" I decided to make things even, I would. After all, she knew I would not be able to top her this afternoon. I was, after all, only home. I did not go to the city and hit up some big club. (As if I would.)

Surprisingly enough, I did not bore her. My story required a quick backtrack of history between characters and their relation to me, but she listened. After I had finished, it was interesting the conclusion to which I had arrived. Some of the characters in my life are just as wilted and repulsive as the salad's leaves had become over the course of my meal. I kept such a thought to myself and laughed internally. Three hours from here, I have stories full of characters who live in the past, or have trapped themselves in situations they could have avoided. Right now, my roommate and I were sitting at a table in a university, with a world of more stories still untold and characters still unmet, and we both are two people determined to not allow ourselves to be stuck in a rut. We know what we want, and are preparing ourselves for the future.

I love those characters at home, however, their complaints leave me shaking my head later. I guess it is safe to say, I learn from their mistakes. While I have never been one to shy away from routine, I am not going to let myself get so caught in it I begin to hate the routine.

10 comments:

  1. Interesting story! I hate to be away from my friends for some time and realize they've gotten weird or slutty or did something they KNOW not to do.. and then I think, would that have happened if I were there? Hmm.. and you don't like clubbin? GIRRRL.. ! No, I kid.. I hate that kind of stuff, and the whole college party binge drinking scene as well. I'm totally mature enough to binge drink at an expensive hotel bar.. PSH! :)

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  2. Hahaha, I know what you mean. I'm SO past the whole frat house partying. I know the best places these days. :P

    Hahaha. That comment got me. You're too funny.

    But yeah, I know people gotta' grow, but it's like some don't really... They just... Go in the opposite direction... I'm all for change if it's going to benefit you later...

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  3. I use to feel the same exact way in school. If I went home it was like months. College is seriously a 24 hour day with 24 hours of things happening. It can be a lifetime. My friends use to tell me all these stories & I had one story about going to CVS at prom. lol. I miss college. The foood at any college campus is disgraceful, hehe. =)

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  4. Haha, yeah, the food is really not always that great. It has its moments, though. ;)

    And yeah, college has taught me that a lot can happen in even just a few minutes... Never try to predict things...

    Either I've been the one to experience it firsthand, or I hear about it.

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  5. Now I really want to know what the stories were that you and your friend told each other.

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  6. I would tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. ;) Haha, just kidding.

    I would be more specific, but clearly I got you interested without those details, and in the off-chance that the characters of our stories happen to stumble across this.... Yikes... That's all I'm gonna' say...

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  7. Hey Jennifer.

    Thanks for your kind words, although I may say the same about your posts. Beautiful photography.

    I will be back for more, thanks again.

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  8. Thanks so much! I hope our blogging paths cross again.

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  9. It's always good to learn from mistakes...especially theirs!
    hehe...
    Enjoy your weekend~
    xo

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  10. Thanks. I hope you enjoy yours. ;)

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