I love my husband. Very much. And I prove it every week by going to the deli counter.
To paraphrase Molly Ringwald in “16 Candles,” I loathe the deli counter. It’s not so much that I don’t get good service or that I hate lunch meat. It’s that the deli counter is a giant potential pain in the ass in a long line of grocery store pain-in-the-asses, and since it is the first thing you generally come to, it has the power to make or break the rest of the trip. Is there a line? Is the lady in front of me doing a world tour of cheese samples? Will the person behind the counter have to go to the space-time continuum refrigerator in the back to access whatever dimension has the sale items? I am typically a kind, flexible, and even-tempered human, but there is something about the stupid deli counter that makes me want to tinkle in the display of potato salad. This makes life interesting, because my husband, who has very particular tastes about certain things in this world, happens to have strong opinions about lunch meat. Sometimes he needs me to go buy this lunch meat at the deli counter. And we all know how I feel about the deli counter.
Now, I adore my husband, but he is the original creature of habit. He takes his lunch to work pretty much every day and he prefers to eat the same thing pretty much every day, and if he was running the world, his meat would be sliced pretty much the same way every day. When he goes to the deli, he takes pride in making sure his order is done to his exacting standards. I believe there is comfort to him in the familiarity of a consistent sandwich, or at least a sort of relief in the fact that in a swirling vortex of day, he knows he can have his thing – his one thing – that’s exactly how he wants it, even if it’s just lunchmeat. I appreciate that, I truly do, but I do not share his philosophy. I would never think to eat the same thing for lunch for a week, let alone two days in a row. Not when there’s a whole word of amazing lunch possibilities out there. I mean you could have soup, a cheeseburger, a soufflé, a barbecue ribs … lunch is like early dinner, and just think of all the things you could have for dinner. I love an inconsistent lunch. Which is, of course, exactly why I married my husband. He needs a bit of Maria to balance out his Captain Von Trapp, and I need some of the good Captain to keep me from repeatedly turning the curtains into jaunty, matching play clothes. I would never, of my own accord, go to the damn deli counter for the joy of consistency, but it makes my husband exceedingly happy. I love him, so making him happy is fun.
That’s why, most weeks, I go to the deli counter with two wiggly and or cranky children at an inconvenient time, when I have many, many other groceries to buy and places to go, and I patiently wait my turn. I smile at the lady as she goes into the vortex in the back to get the items on sale, and I do not pee in the potato salad. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is a many splendored thing. And in my house, love is also a half a pound of Boar’s Head low sodium turkey breast – not the “catering” one with the brown skin, the other one – sliced on setting number 5, and seven slices of Boar’s Head yellow American cheese sliced on setting 6 (slightly thicker than the turkey) with papers in between them.
Hi. I'm Amanda Dobbs.