The Salad Bar: Fraught With Danger!

I’m at the salad bar of my local grocery store grabbing lunch before the onslaught of preschool pickup, and while this particular salad bar is deliciously more than just salad, the place is fraught with danger.

The other day, I encountered OLD MAN YELLING.

{squiggly flashback lines}

I sit down to blog and eat.

Old man: WHAT’S THAT?

I look down at my countertop: laptop, iPhone, plastic salad to-go container.  I look at his table: newspaper, plastic salad to-go container.  So I’ve it narrowed down to TECHNOLOGY.

Me: My phone? and I wave my iPhone like a flag of surrender to my elders.


Me: Well, you can use it as a phone (I think), but mostly I use it to access the Internet or find my car in parking lots.

Old man brightens up at the thought of taming mall parking lots and wanders over to me.  Although once he notices that he couldn’t read a single tiny word on my iPhone, he moves on to my computer.


Me: An Apple.  It’s by the same company that made my phone.

And on and on the yelling went. We covered my age, my marriage, my education, my kids, my aspirations, my money situation.  And by “we”, I mean the entire grocery store.

However, on this day, my problems arise before I even have food.  I reach for my salad bar container and file behind Salad Bar Aficionado, which is no big deal since her sheer willpower at forcing so many items to be in one giant mound is enjoyable.

The problem was behind me.  As in too close behind me.

That’s right, the woman next in line is a TOO CLOSE IN LINE-ER. {shudder}

Now, I’m not against touching, but I’m awkward with hugs at best.  And when it comes to the general public, I like to picture a bubble around me. And as I’ve explained on many a college night when faced with the Pelvic Dance Club-ers, this bubble has a radius of at least a foot.

My first stop is lettuce. And Too Close In Line-er stops at the lettuce.  Except there was NO ROOM FOR HER AND THE LETTUCE AND MY BUBBLE. I couldn’t even pick through the lettuce like I usually do when faced with paying for my food by the pound. I was forced to keep brown lettuce AND PAY FOR IT.

I pick up the pace. I grab at the cucumbers while she’s still at the lettuce hoping for enough time to tong some broccoli, but suddenly, she’s shoulder-to-shoulder before I could say: Ooh, edamame!

I take a stand at my favorite vegetable, but she was too powerful with her standing so closeness.

I am forced to sprint ahead to the potato salad only to be held up by Salad Bar Aficionado balancing a second scoop of chicken salad on her tower of deliciousness.  Afraid to turn around, I hear Too Close In Line-er sigh, and I know my days of mozzarella and tomato salad are numbered.

But the salad bar gods interceded.  While the Aficionado and I enjoy indulging in the pasta section, Too Close moves right on to the fruit.  SHE CUT THE SALAD BAR LINE.  But I don’t even care.

Because I am free… to scoop as many croutons as I want, that is.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

20 thoughts to “The Salad Bar: Fraught With Danger!”

  1. I hate to close in liners! I have been known to then go EXTREMELY slow as a polite way to say if you weren’t so rushed and in my space you too can enjoy salad bars and enjoy it’s bounty with me. It’s our call to teach humanity kindness.

  2. laughing. I’m with you and I love hugs but not like this. I would have backed up and said GO AHEAD, HONEY, I’M NOT READY TO MOVE ON.

  3. If I can smell your breath or touch your skin, you are too close to me, Stranger!

    And I’m a hugger, so I’m not even sure how you didn’t come out of your skin as an awkward hugger.

  4. Stand up for yourself, woman! Tell that biatch to back the hell up.

    (I totally would have done exactly what you did, though, because I can talk a good game but I’m totally an unconfrontational wimp.)

  5. Ha! Old man? So sweet. I’ll never forget the complicated patience of explaining my “not an iPhone” to my grandpa. He was in awe. Just from the fact that it had a touch screen. Forget the internet/texting/Angry Birds.

    I too have severe personal space requirements. Even around my Hubs sometimes. How do some people NOT?

  6. Wouldn’t it be great if your iPhone had a iPhaser app. A flick of the iPhone,ZZZZZZap and Too Close In Line-er napping on the floor while you leisurely pick lettuce. Hmmm? Maybe iTaser would be more practical?



    I’m also not a fan of all caps people, but sometimes? It’s necessary.

    I tend to be really passive aggressive and stand as far from the person in front of me as I can and get really territorial about where I am.

    At those times? I wish I could fart on command.

  8. I have really sharp elbows and I know how to use them.

    When I bonk into a too-close-in-line-er, I smile sweetly and say “Oh, dear! I’m so sorry, I think you’re too close. A little more room, please?” or “Would you like to go around? I’m need a bit more time to decide.”

    I’ve never had anyone react badly.

  9. While I enjoyed your description of the dangers of your local salad bar, all I can think about now is how much I want a salad.


    This may drastically change my dinner plans.

  10. At LEAST you got the croutons!

    I love how old people have no cares left and just say what they want without worrying if it’s appropriate or not.

  11. I just step aside and let Too Close In Liners walk pass. After all, it’s never pleasant to have one’s neck hairs practically singed off by a stranger breathing down one’s collar. Ugh and eww.

    Oh, and I don’t know how you feel about “blog awards,” but I’ve nominated you for one. Do whatever you want with it. Just know that someone likes what you have to say and how you say it.

    Have an awesome start to your Memorial Day weekend!!

  12. this happens to me in lines ALL THE DAMN TIME! do i have a sign on my back that calls for people to just breath on my neck?

    I think there is some sort of magnetic field on our bubbles that sucks people in. it’s the only explanation.

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