Neurotic Monologue

By Brandi Haas

The workout of champions, that is what I will call it: a four-mile run on the treadmill followed by an hour of weight training. I feel bionic as I leave the gym. I’m still basking in my endorphin-filled glory when I see it–that burger place. So we meet again, McBurger in the Box–my old nemesis. I can go literally months without a single thought of a cheeseburger, then something snaps and I am caught in it’s tractor beam of greasy goodness.

Before I can stop myself, I’m in the drive-through lane nervously waiting my turn to talk to the magic speaker that will transform my words into carb-loaded reality. Maybe I should just get a salad. No dressing. Water. Yes, that is what I should get. Don’t waste that workout on this stuff. Okay, a salad it is. One more car and it’s my turn to order.

But I ran four miles and a ‘cheat day’ now and then is fine. Yeah, everyone has a cheat day. I should have a cheat day. Cheating. Cheating is okay. I cheated on four out of five vocabulary tests my freshman year of high school. I even won an award for it. Not for cheating, for ‘Outstanding Work in Vocabulary.’ I got a parchment certificate suitable for framing. Of course, I never framed it because it’s still a sad reminder that I have no idea what ‘umbrage’ means.

“Order when you’re ready.” Okay, this is it, the moment of truth. Order something that will not cause butt-expansion. “I’ll have a cheeseburger and a large Diet Coke.” Who said that?! The mere phrase filled me with trepidation and exhilaration. I glanced in the mirror at the woman in the car behind me. She’s probably ordering a salad. Her yoga pants will still fit tomorrow. What? I think I heard her say ‘chocolate shake.’ Wow, no self-control for that lady. I am better than her.

I pull away with my cheeseburger and the calorie-balancing Diet Coke and head home. Should I eat this now? The question barely floats through my head when I get stopped at a red light. Surely an invitation to take the paper off of this bun-wrapped slice of joy. I take a bite. I look around to see if anyone is looking. Just one car next to me. A good-looking businessman in a Jaguar. Great. Like I need his judgement. I take another bite. Look at him. Just sitting there, judging me. He doesn’t know. He doesn’t what it’s like to have a cheeseburger beckon you as this one did to me. He doesn’t know that I need this cheeseburger. He thinks he’s fooling me by looking straight ahead; I know he’s watching. Another bite. Sure, I’ll regret it after I finish it. Like when I coincidentally back up at the same time as the trash truck and that ‘beep, beep, beep’ seems to warn the people behind me, ‘Watch out, here she comes!’ And I’ll regret it when I’m too big to fit into my cute new boots. Yeah, Mr. Judging Face, I will be too fat for footwear! I’ll certainly regret it, but for now, can’t I just have this moment without his judgement?!  Another bite.

I wash down the rest of my cheeseburger with the Diet Coke, infuriated that this guy has just ruined what should have been a special moment between a woman and her cheeseburger. Wait, he’s on the phone. He isn’t looking at me. I just ate an entire cheeseburger during the course of a single red light and that guy didn’t look over once! Oh, now he finally glances up at me. He gives me a smile. I made a cheeseburger disappear in five bites and you just look over and smile?!

What a nut.

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