Of modern technology and strange donuts
Mr. Sparky and I went out to do some comparison shopping tonight because we are thinking that maybe it’s time to bring our entertainment system, which is a fancy phrase meaning “television”, into the current century. Ours isn’t so old that it sits in a console on the living room floor with a large vase of artificial flowers on top, but it is old enough that Mr. Sparky can’t see how many miles are left while watching the current stage of the Tour de France because the Tour is broadcast in letterbox format, and our cube, which is as deep as it is wide, is decidedly un-letterbox. Thus the reason for the timing of retiring the 17-year-old cube.
So…now I finally know what it takes.
I am a dedicated comparison shopper. I like to exhaust the options because then I am satisfied that I have enough information to make the wisest choice.
Mr. Sparky has grown to humor me in this over the years.
All that shopping, however, left us a tad peckish and in need of sustenance. This is a fancy phrase that means “we got hungry and wanted some dinner”.
I’m diggin’ the fancy phrases tonight.
We decided to try out the shiny new Panda Express that has suddenly appeared in front of the Walmart. Neither of us had ever eaten at a Panda Express before, but we both like Asian food, so it seemed like a reasonable adventure.
The place was bright, shiny, and clean. The people who worked in there were friendly, although nobody was breaking any speed records. But here’s the deal: all the food is in large serving bowls behind a glass shield, and the workers scoop it onto plates for you. And at the beginning of the line, they expect you to know what you want before you’ve even looked at all the options of what you could have. And there’s no listing on the posted menu to help you decide.
My friends, there should be a law. They don’t make you do this at Baskin Robbins, and they should not make you do it at Panda Express. A person should be permitted to peruse the options. I’m just sayin’. It’s a sure way to cause a short-circuit in the brain of a true comparison shopper.
I did, however, make a choice with reasonable swiftness. I chose brown rice, some Kung Pao Chicken, and some Orange Chicken.
As we were eating, we began to discuss what we thought of our food, each of us trying to be politely positive. But finally I couldn’t stand it anymore. The Orange Chicken wasn’t awful, but the chicken pieces were heavily coated in some kind of thick batter and then deep-fried and drenched in a very sweet sauce reminiscent of melted jam.
“It tastes like orange chicken donuts,” I said.
It took Mr. Sparky about two more bites with that very un-fancy phrase ringing in his ears to decide that I had nailed it.
Don’t get me wrong—I like donuts. And I like chicken. But if I’m going to have a donut, give me a flippin’ donut, for pete’s sake, and don’t be trying to sneak chicken nuggets in the middle of it. No dinner entree should be that sweet. Unless you’re having pancakes for dinner. I like pancakes for dinner, but we were at Panda Express, not Cracker Barrel.
We left the establishment in agreement that it was ok. Not bad. Not great. But ok.
Unfortunately, we also had post-Chinese Food Syndrome all evening. The trouble with Asian food is that it wears off in about an hour and then you’re hungry again. I’ve spent the evening telling myself that I had a decent meal, but apparently my stomach thinks it had orange chicken donuts, so where’s the real food?
Oh, and if you go to Panda Express and try that Orange Chicken, you’ll see what I’m saying. And then you’ll want to munch the rest of the day.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.