So I had this job interview thing back in the town I went to college in. It was the first time in years that I’d been back there.
College was not an amazing experience for me. It wasn’t a really bad experience either. I have some really fond memories of sitting in my dorm, with the white cinderblock walls covered in print-out photos I’d taken of flowers and boys and my friends, writing music and eating dining hall takeout. I didn’t have one of those epic college experiences that people seem to always be having, where I made the best friends I’ll ever make, got so drunk that hilarious things happened, found myself, discovered what inspired me most, and earned the right to forever reference all that as the “best time of my life.” Which I think is good, really. Because it would be sad to get the best time of my life out of my system so young.
In college, I was pretty sure I’d like whatever came next better. I couldn’t wait to be out in the world. I knew I’d like it. And I was right. There was only ever one thing that I missed about college:
I can’t get them out of my head. Actually, this is my second post about them. Because they are that amazing. They are the extreme sport version of the regular sandwich. I’m bad at analogies today. They are gross. They have everything you can imagine on them. I build my own– with cheesesteak, mozzarella sticks, french fries, lettuce, gyro, hot sauce, and white sauce. I am not ashamed. I am not exactly proud, either, because I think that makes me sound like I’m trying to kill myself.
I am not trying to kill myself. But I really appreciate a good fat sandwich.
And they don’t make them like that anywhere except New Brunswick, NJ. I feel like there should be a huge banner at the entrance to the city: “HOME OF THE FAMOUS FAT SANDWICH.” I feel like there should be an annual parade in their honor.
I feel like sometimes it’s hard to accurately portray my passionate love of delicious, unhealthy food. We’re talking intense love. We’re talking “Do not stand in my way. You will be destroyed.” There have been times when I thought I was going to get pizza, and then fate cruelly intervened, and it has been difficult for me to recover. I’m serious. I get upset.
I was wearing heels and a pencil skirt and a nice blouse. I had finished my interviews, and I was walking to my favorite little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, called Nuebies, home of the best interpretation of the Grease Trucks’ fat sandwiches (Nuebies makes the sandwiches with fresher ingredients, and the bread is a lot less likely to be stale).
It was kind of a long walk for my high heels, but I didn’t care. Inside Nuebies, I was suddenly pouring out my heart to the older Middle Eastern owner with the bad eye behind the sunglasses, and the one stocky Mexican guy working the grill.
“I graduated three years ago,” I was saying. “But I think about this place all the time. You guys make the best sandwiches ever. I live in New York City now, but it’s not the same. I mean, even in New York City, you can’t find one of these! I’m not kidding. You can’t. I’ve really missed this. A lot.”
The owner said, “How do you like the city?”
“Oh, I love it! So much energy.” I always say that when I don’t have enough time to think of a better description. I don’t like the word “energy.” “New York City is great.”
“I love it there,” he said. “I have a cousin who lives in Brooklyn.”
“Me too! I mean, I live in Brooklyn!”
“Oh yeah? Good for you!”
We bonded. The Mexican guy smiled in this really warm way– maybe he understood, maybe not. He handed me my sandwiches (I’d gotten two, because I had to make sure Bear could try one, too).
And then the owner leaned forward over the counter and he said really earnestly, “I wish you the best of everything. From the bottom of my heart.”
I was taken aback, touched.
I said, “I wish that for you too.” I looked at the other guy. “And you.” He smiled at me.
If sudden golden light could’ve burst from every surface of that tiny, run-down place, it would have. What I’m saying is, it was kind of a spiritual experience.
I left. I was grinning.
I ate an entire sandwich on the train. And let me tell you, those things are huge. It was incredible. It was otherworldly.
There is nothing like some truly delectable unhealthy food. I want to take a moment to celebrate it. To celebrate how it makes me feel. To enjoy being a self-conscious woman with a voice in her head that is going nonstop “Did you gain some weight? Look at those arms! You should be disgusted with yourself. No carbs for a year. Forever. I’m not kidding. Are you listening to me? Put that down! PUT IT DOWN! Did you not hear me JUST say no carbs?! You are pathetic. PATHETIC”, and yet who is still capable of relishing the sheer bliss of a fantastic fat sandwich. That is an achievement, I think. I’m going to go with that being an achievement.
After I finished the sandwich, I remembered that we were meeting people for dinner that night. In an hour.
Whatever. Totally worth it.
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What’s your favorite unhealthy food, guys? Tell me!
Unroast: Today I love the way the backs of my hands look. The skin is sort of creamy there, and gentle-looking.