Item 1: Subway
I was just at Subway picking up some lunch and I noticed something that I've noticed before. When you ask for cheese, you get 2 measly triangles that are so thin they are nearly translucent. When you ask for tomatoes on your sub, you get 3 slices the size of nickels.
But when you ask for banana peppers, your whole sub becomes 80% banana peppers. The sandwich-maker sticks both hands into the banana pepper tub, scoops out giant mountains of peppers, and mashes them onto the sub. Peppers are falling off the top of the heap, but the sandwich-maker gathers them up and places them back on top. They add the top half of the roll, then cram more banana peppers into the crevices on both sides of the sub. "Would you like some extra banana peppers in a little cup on the side? In case you need more?"
I've noticed this also happens if you request jalapeños or dill pickles. Those little items that are only meant to add a touch of flavor.
Item 2: Excess of Target clothing
While I was waiting in line to pay for my banana pepper sub, I looked down and admired my shoes. "You'd never guess they were from Target," I thought to myself. Then I noticed my pants are from Target. And so is my shirt. Indeed, Target clothes are to my closet as banana peppers are to my sub.
I didn't want it to be this way. I know I am thrifty. And poor. And that I hate spending a lot of money on clothes because I always end up spilling soy sauce or red wine all over them. But still...a whole outfit from Target?
Item 3: The dent in my car
Once I left Subway, I got in my car to drive back to work. As I drove through the parking lot, I slowed down to go over the speed bumps. It was at one of these speed bumps that a man in a truck going the opposite direction waved his hand to get my attention. I nearly ignored him, but then noticed he was looking at the side of my car. Right away, I knew what he was trying to tell me. I rolled down my window to see if my hunch was right.
"I can fix that scratch on the side for ya," he offered.
"I work at a dealership, but I will do it on the side. I'll fix the paint, pop out those dents."
You see, I got my car brand new 2 years ago. When I drove it off the lot it had 24 miles on it.
I bought the car to replace Misty, my previous car, who was killed in an accident. Misty also had a giant scratch along her side, resulting from a parking garage with tight corners and a big cement pole near my assigned space. I'd done this damage about 3 days after moving into my first apartment in LA.
When I drove Misty around, I'd often get stopped by car repair people --when she was parked at the 7/11, when I'd pick her up at valet --who would offer to fix the damage. "How dare they!" I thought. "How do they know I don't like my car all scratched up. And...and who are they to butt in and point out her flaws?"
Still, when I brought my brand spankin' new car, I was happy to drive something around that wasn't all scratched up.
This lasted for about 2 months. Until I pulled into my parking space and scratched the whole side of it. Same situation, different parking space. Go me!
And so when this guy in the Subway parking lot pointed out my unsightly dent, I tried to pretend there was no dent.
"It's fine! I hardly notice it!"
He had a little kid in the passenger seat. I could see him pearing from behind his dad's shoulder. Judging me. I pictured them later driving off, the father saying to his boy, "Now when you grow up, you have to take good care of your things. Or you'll be like that lady with the banged up car."
The man was persistent.
"Won't take me long. I'll charge you $170."
Cars were backing up behind both of us. The kid was squirming around in the passenger seat. I was holding him up from his Subway lunch.
I sighed. "Fine. I'll think about it."
"Great. I'm Peter. Just ask for me at the Ford dealership up the road."
I know already I'll never go get the dent repaired. But I'm getting a step closer. And I know that years from now, when I scratch up my next car, I'll be sure to get it fixed immediately.