Sunday night, after a day of what you could hardly call hard work, my Father and I decided to have some dinner. Mind you, dinner in a small town on a Sunday night means your options are almost exclusively fast food.
We eventually decided on Subway, and went in, with my Dad deciding to leave the car running. “You must have a lot of trust in their speed” I told him.
I have never entered a Subway without having one person ahead of me, and was not surprised. I’m not even mad, but it’s always been a strange phenomenon to me.
I went up and ordered my sandwich, and my Father noticed the “Flatizza”, he asked about it and I described that I have had it once before and gestured how big it was (roughly a 6x6 square), as well as what it was (a cheap little pizza basically). After a bout of my Dad looking at the menu confusedly, he made his order and subsequently ordered a Veggie and Spicy Italian Flatizza, as per the “2 for $5” deal.
The sandwiches went smoothly, but when Flatizza time came, it really put everything into perspective. Life. America. The Human Condition.
One girl started to get the unfolded Flatizza boxes out and proceeded to strenuously origami them into something that could hold food. The second girl was asking my Dad what veggies he wanted on one of them while the other girl was trying to figure out the register option for this new novelty food product.
When the time came to take out said toasted Flat-pizzas, both girls dropped what they were doing to inspect under one of the Flatizzas. Apparently some of the paper from the flatbread packaging was stuck to the bottom, and they weren’t in any hurry to replace it, but instead all 4 of us had an awkward moment of decision. Do we request a replacement? Can they scrape it off? And lastly, the question that rang in my head and made me smile uncontrollably was WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING?
Four people surrounding some of the cheapest quality pizzas ever, all concerned with it. In that moment, all that mattered to all of us was the Flatizza. This shitty little pizza meant to symbolize some fun innovative new product from a corporation making hundreds of millions of dollars, yet so cheap the paper is stuck to the bottom. We somehow care about this $2.50 thing. Them because it’s their job, and their manager is an iron-fisted bitch trying to get a bonus for meeting some quota. These two high school girls too scared to put an extra slice of cheese on a sandwich or god forbid replace the Flatizza, because they may feel the wrath of their employer. And then there’s us, two guys who just want our shitty little sandwiches and this stupid, stupid thing because we were suckers to the advertising. They were scared of doing their job right, and we weren’t necessarily mad, but we did want to go home since the car was running, and having packaging stuck to something you’re about to eat doesn’t look very appetizing (especially when they both observe it above their heads).
We all stood under the sad fluorescent lighting for just a few second before my Dad uncharacteristically told them we could just scrape it off when we got home (although everyone present knew we wouldn’t). And she proceeded to try to cut the Flatizza explaining that they’re “still trying to figure out how to cook them”.
The whole time during that exchange (which realistically lasted like 4 minutes but felt like an hour), I was looking at the situation from the outside, again smiling incredibly hard. Everyone was sad, extremely involved, and yet apathetic- all four of us.
I don’t really know how to put it in words, although I tried, but the thing I kept thinking and wanting to say to everyone there was “What is this? Why are we doing this? What the fuck are we doing?”