Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Salad Days

"I love it, but I hate it."

If any of you are members of the Tony Horton P90X cult, as I am, you'll recognize this from the intro to Ab Ripper X, the gut-wrenching abdominal workout that promises a six pack to all who faithfully perform the routine. I believe I will achieve the six pack, but it won't take 90 days. I might take 90 years.

"I love it, but I hate it" is also how I feel about Mrs. Winston's Salad Bar, arguably the greatest salad bar in all of Southern California. When I'm working at RPA in Santa Monica, I get my lunch there everyday. It allows me to load up on spinach, kidney beans, mushrooms, carrots, asparagus, just about any vegetable. And I can keep my calorie count in the 500-600 range.

That's why I love it.

Unfortunately, the line at Mrs. Winston's never looks like it does in the picture above. At one o'clock in the afternoon on a typical weekday, every media planner, every paralegal, every dental hygienist, every woman in the 90401-90409 zip code convenes at Mrs. Winston's for lunch.

That is why I hate it.

Because these women don't just bring their appetites, they bring their phones, so they can text while they are assembling their repast. They bring their friends so that in between the sprouts and the three bean salad they can chat about their latest e-harmony adventures or the low slung open toe shoes they have their eyes on. And they bring their god-awful indecision (you're really going to hold up the line to put two lentil beans on your plate), weighing each choice as if it were a Constitutional amendment that could alter the future of mankind.

Ladies, you're building a salad not the next Space Shuttle.

Before the charges of misogyny are leveled against me, it's worth noting that men at Mrs. Winston's go about their business very differently. We know what we want. We shovel it into the plastic tub and we get back to our desks with plenty of spare time to go online and surf for porn...uh, read CNN.com.

We make our salads the same way we shop for auto parts. We go in for a fan belt, we walk out with a fan belt. We don't spend time looking over the carburetors or the new brake pads.

I'm not alone in these sentiments.

Yesterday, the man standing behind me was venting even more vociferously. I suspect if the texting, the non-stop chatting and the high-maintenance salad tomfuckery doesn't end soon, it won't be long before some short-fused man--and I'm not saying who-- explodes in a full-blown case of Romaine Rage.