I went to Chipotle for the first time in forever. I braved disease. I felt bad about my whiny post. I wanted to redeem myself. Or prove that there are more reasons to hate this Build-A-Burrito Workshop than the norovirus and e-coli it secretly adds to your meal.
The menu was simple enough. It clearly outlined the progression your order should take. I planned on following it exactly as laid out.
I hit a snag almost immediately.
Cilantro-lime rice was listed as an option under the add-ons. But I didn’t want cilantro-lime rice. I wanted brown rice. But brown rice wasn’t listed as an option on the menu board. And yet the brown rice was in a bowl in front of me. I wanted to follow the instructions provided, but they were contradicted by the offerings on the other side of the sneeze guard.
Which was I to believe: the menu above my head or the bowl right in front of my face? The menu board did not want me to enjoy the brown rice. Was the brown rice offered only to secret burrito club members? How do I gain admission to this club? Will my burrito be delayed as my application is processed? Maybe it was employee-only brown rice? A perk for them as they toiled. I didn’t know. But the First Chipotle Person behind the counter asked me “Cilantro-lime or brown rice?”
It was suddenly available to me. Oh god!
I sputtered out “Brown please!”
I wanted to add “I DIDN’T KNOW BROWN WAS A FUCKING OPTION!”
But I didn’t.
Sweat made my forehead itch. I didn’t scratch, though. I didn’t want them to know my forehead itched.
She plopped the forbidden brown rice into my burrito tortilla casing with an unpoetic plop.
On to the Second Chipotle Person.
More forehead sweat.
“What kind of beans?”
That was easy.
“What meat did you want?”
Another plop. This was going smoothly now. Too smoothly?
One thing I noticed: there was no careful measuring of the ingredients. No thoughtful selection on exaclty the right amount of beans or meat to add to the pending burrito. Just a plop.
I don’t know, maybe the scoops were sized differently and held exactly enough of each particular item so deliciousness could be doled out expeditiously. Maybe equal plops of every ingredient was what my balanced burrito needed. I don’t know. I didn’t measure the scoops. Everything was happening too fast.
Then I was asked to approve the addition of the mild salsa and the sour cream. Plop and plop.
Then onto the Third Chipotle Person. By now, I was comfortable pointing and demanding ingredients without being asked.
When I demanded my lettuce, I got a look before I got the lettuce.
What the fuck was that?
If you’re going to question my burrito-decisions, then don’t fucking ask me how to build the fucking burrito.
It was just a look. Just a plop of a look.
Sprinkle went the lettuce.
Then, the Third Chipotle Person rolled the burrito until it was self contained. It looked more like a soccer ball than a football. I’m used to my burritos looking like footballs. Was the Third Chipotle Person making some kind of subtle slam against American football? Was the TCP anti-NFL? Or had I been eating poorly-designed burritos up until now? Was I getting a correct burrito finally?
Didn’t matter. I wasn’t there to eat a shape. I was here to eat something I created with three Chipotle food engineers. Did they guide me to the best burrito for my Monday? I’d find out. With my mouth.
I took the burrito back to the office, reading a quote from Mary Roach on the bag along the way. It made the trip back much faster. You get points for that, Chipotle. And also I have to look up Mary Roach now. Because I thought the quote was weird. It was a weird choice to put on the bag. The quote was:
“The best come-on line in the world is just, ‘Hi.'”
That bothered me. Mostly because it’s either a “pick-up line” or a “come-on.” But I’ve never seen it appear anywhere as a “come-on line.” And I thought that was stupid. It sounded vaguely crappy. Like relating to the “come line” in the dice game Craps. Also crappy as in “poorly phrased.” I don’t know. Maybe Mary Roach is a genius. I haven’t googled her yet.
Or maybe Chipotle was accusing me of harassing the staff with that quote. Maybe they had different bags under the counter and I got the “harassment warning” bag. Maybe the next person in line got the “have an enjoyable day” bag. I didn’t deserve the “harassment warning” bag. Because I assure you, I only answered their questions so I could get access to the food. I stayed within burrito-related dialogue. I’ll get a lawyer if I have to.
I felt chastised. Why was I being reminded about proper, respectful social interactions? Is this some sort of sensitivity training? Whatever it was, I’m sure it fell outside Chipotle’s jurisdiction.
Just give me the burrito, I could do without the shame.
Does Mary Roach know you’re using her words against me?
I thought all of these things as I traversed the electric forest to my work-stall. I reminded myself to look up Mary Roach as I unwrapped my soccer ball shaped burrito.
I took a bite.
I was instantly transported to Blandsville, population: Jeff.
Thanks for nothing Mary Roach.
Don’t ask me to make a burrito ever again.