The End of Civilization or just another Sad Day at Subway?

I’m a regular at the Subway Sandwich Shop next to the Braddock Road Metro Stop. I walk down there from my house in Old Town about twice a week along the bike path. Listening to my tunes, enjoying whatever weather nature’s throwing at me. I eat at Subway and people watch. Then I walk home and sit down for a serious writing session. This puts my mind in a sort of Zen trance that really inspires some good writing.

Most of the time this ritual is pure joy. The highlight of my week. And with the weather being beautiful today, I couldn’t resist heading down to Subway for lunch.

I ordered my sandwich from the very friendly Indian girl who works the counter, grabbed my usual table and started to eat. For some reason though I did not bring my MP3 player today. And that’s how I witnessed/overheard one of the most pathetic things I’ve ever encountered.

There was a family of about 5 women in line after me. All of them had that Virginia twang in their voice. That old Virginia family twang. That we’ve been inbreeding since the end of the Southern War for Independence twang. They we’re all obese, they were all wearing far too little clothing and what they were wearing were either free-cigarette-points catalogue gear, Nascar or bearing (I swear) the Confederate flag.

This family of buck-toothed yokels, stride on into Subway like they are lords of the place. They start treating the nice Indian girl behind the counter like she is a piece of trash. Overhearing the air of superiority in their voices towards this nice girl, who I buy a sandwich from weekly, really got my fire up.

Ultimately these women, all of whom (without question) are over 30 year sold. Ultimately they order 5 sandwiches. Belittling the poor Subway girl the whole time. Finally when they get to the register they claim that half of their sandwiches are free.

Get this…free under the Subway Kids meal plan. If a mother buys a footlong, the child gets a free 6-inch, or something like that. Anyway these in-bred, Lords of the Old South, beer-belly, she-beasts have the nerve to claim that 3 of them are the children of the other two and therefore deserve free sandwiches. They scream and yell. They threaten to sue for “false-advertising” because the Subway girl cannot point to proof that only children under 12 get the free sandwich.

The leader, I’ll call her Mama Trash, does her best asshole, poor-folk, trailer-park lawyering to get out of paying for 3 six-inch subs. She points to me and says, “this guy has a Mama!” She points to the Subway girl and says, “You got a Mama!”

Ultimately the Subway girl (God bless her) refuses to give in. For all of Mama Trash’s passionate closing argument, the Subway girl tells them they will have to pay or leave.

So what does Mama Trash and her brood do? They, all 5 of them, simultaneously start cursing out the Subway girl’s mother! And then they storm out, screaming “Yo Mama can stick those samiches up her asshole!”

The subway girl threw away the 5 wasted sandwiches. She and I exchanged a few statements of disbelief. And then she sat down to resume studying her MCSE bible for night-school waiting for the next jerk to come in and order.

It is obvious whose side I am on in this story. But it really got me thinking about the American dream and what that means to all of us. For these assholes, it means they have the right to treat the Subway girl like trash because their family has been here for generations. For the Subway girl it means tolerating idiots like these so she can pay her way through night-school to achieve a better life.

And me, I am just a guy who wanted a sandwich but ended up with a whole lot more. I am left wondering how can such ignorance and enlightenment co-exist? And why is it that our fast-food restaurants are the field on which these clashes are so often played out?

5 Comments so far

  1. Derek (unregistered) on May 9th, 2005 @ 8:04 am

    The American Dream? I think the Indian girl was the only one genuinely pursuing it. The trailer trash had the attitude that they were going to steal sandwiches from Subway by trying to trick the girl behind the counter. If tricking her didn’t work, they would resort to cursing at her.

    Yes, they were obviously native Virginians and felt that they were entitled boss immigants (say that in Moe’s voice) around. But I don’t think that squares with the American Dream. I always saw it as the idea that people work for a living and get a whole bunch of stuff (cars, houses, cool electronics) that are supposed to make them happy.

    The five ladies that day did not feel they had to work for their food (and by ‘work’ I mean discount the act of theft and intimidation).

  2. KCinDC (unregistered) on May 9th, 2005 @ 9:31 am

    I agree with you, but from your description I think you need to examine some of your own prejudices about Southerners. How would you have described the women if they had been black, for example? Would you have made similar comments about their appearance?

    What other accents would you make such sweeping generalizations about? There are plenty of people with “Virginia twangs” who would be just as disgusted by the behavior of these women as you were.

  3. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on May 9th, 2005 @ 11:45 am

    Testing out the comment issues..

  4. darpino (unregistered) on May 9th, 2005 @ 1:20 pm

    Derek – I agree with you that those 5 women do not represent the American Dream. I was commenting on their warped perception of it. Where they would rather spend energy trying to weasel for free sandwiches rather than work for them. While at the same time feeling they were superior to the girl making their sandwich.

    KCinDC – I assumed with the rest of my description of these ladies (which was accurate, not exaggerated) that I had separated these jerks from most of the “Virginia Twang” speaking community. In most people I find the accent a charming lilt, otherwise how could I live here without going mad?

    My comments were not about Southerners in general, they were about this family of con artists.

    As far as portrayal of other accents or races? Any ignoramus (be they rich or poor, North or South, Black or White) who launches attacks on honest working people in my presence will get a similar “glowing” review.

  5. wayan (unregistered) on November 13th, 2005 @ 4:11 pm

    Huh. Darpino calling out folks by race and class, in a negative way no less. So Pot, its Kettle, you could’ve gone with “white-trash” and saved yourself a few key strokes.

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