While standing in a long line at a San Diego Zoo snack bar, I noticed a slight commotion coming from the picnic table area my friend Karen and our combined six kids sat. I didn’t think much of it as the outside lunch area was pretty busy. To stay within our budgets, we both brought our packed lunches planning on only buying drinks.
I walked towards the picnic table careful not to drop the full tray of drinks, only to find Karen and the kids bursting with giggles and grins.
“What are you all so excited about?” I said. Everyone burst out laughing. All at once, all six kids began their rendition of what just happened. Still confused, I looked at Karen. She couldn’t contain her laughter. We shushed the kids so that she could speak.
“You’ll never believe what happened!” She said pointing to the sky between bursts of laughter. “A seagull swooped down on the table and took your sandwich! But don’t worry, I chased it down and got it back! It dropped it when it saw me chasing it.”
The roar and shrills of laughter nearly deafened me. I stood there dumbfounded, then the kids pointed at the twisted sandwich, still in its sandwich bag, at the end of the table where I had set my things. I took my seat and stared at the mangled sandwich. Miraculously, the baggie had not torn or opened.
We worked up our appetite that morning walking all around the zoo, but the thought of a seagull infested sandwich took most of my appetite away. I used my last bit of change to buy drinks for my family and Karen didn’t have much money with her. I couldn’t buy anything else.
Everyone’s eyes curiously watched me wondering if I would eat it. After much hesitation, I took a couple of baby wipes out of my purse, and wiped down the baggy. If baby wipes were good enough for baby’s soiled bottom, they had to work on seagull saliva. All eyes got bigger and throats gulped, including mine; as I reluctantly prepared to take a bite. Time seemed to freeze. The bologna, cheese, lettuce, and bread where smashed beyond recognition in the middle of the sandwich from the seagull’s beak imprint. It resembled different colors of play dough mixed together. It still tasted okay, though. The kids ewwwed, cheered and laughed, then went back to eating their lunches.
“I wondered if you would really eat it!” Karen said.
“I can’t believe you chased a seagull!” I said giggling. “What was I supposed to do? You fought a seagull for my sandwich! The least I could do is eat it!”
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian ©2013