I live in Utah County so I try to embrace it. Truly I do. I lived here for the first thirteen years of my life for crying out loud! I was born in the hospital at the bottom of the hill in Provo! The UC has roots to me. But I keep getting reasons and reminders of why I try to stay out of the Orem/Provo area.
Cafe Rio at two-thirty in the afternoon. Not a lunch time rush but still a line. I'm no stranger to the cafeteria style ordering process, but the lady behind me seemed to be. I ordered a tostada (it has to go through the oven) and she ordered a salad. If you're familiar with how these are served, you might know that the salad is done before the tostada. In front of us there are about 12 or 13 people waiting to be rung up or for their burritos to come out of the cheese melter or whatever.
The salad belonging to the lady behind me is done. Keep in mind she is about two steps too close. She is officially in what one might call my "comfort zone." I can almost feel her breath behind me as she says, "Mine is done. Do I go up there and pay for it?" Meaning does she bypass all the other people in line in front of us to get her salad. I don't want to turn around to answer her because I'm afraid we might accidentally kiss.
"No." Is all I can manage to say in an awkward half turn. All the while I'm getting dangerously close to the comfort zone of the guy in front of me. As we get toward the end of the ordering process the normal questions of "What dressing?" "To stay or to go?" "Would you like anything else?" These are fired at me and before I can answer Ms. Salad is answering over the end of their questions. "That one is my salad...I need mine to go...I want the light green dressing...I need a drink with my order..."
I'm waiting for the two guys in front of me to pay. I'm trying to give them their socially acceptable cushion of space before I move toward the cash register. Salad lady behind me is ready to pay. I know she is ready because the 20 dollar bill she is anticipating paying with is crinkling in my ear. I should have guessed she would be an interesting Cafe Rio customer when she asked for extra sauce on her chicken and the guy behind the counter told her it would twenty dollars extra. She didn't give a polite smile and chuckle. She raised her voice to the incredulous level and said, "What?!" She must have processed what he said after she responded and realized it was a joke. I'm guessing this is her normal communication process. One step ahead of where she is actually supposed to be. (I also don't think she realized the Cafe Rio order takers have super human powers of keeping everyone's order straight.) Deep breath salad lady, and breathe...breathe.
Despite all this, my tostada was delicious. And this Cafe Rio had the hot sauce I love. Secret ingredient that makes it the best hot sauce ever: carrots.