Custom anything is a nightmare. It is a nightmare because you’re never ready. You wave me over and tell me you need to order and you’re in a hurry and you are going to have a custom salad and I’m already dreading this because I know the inevitable result. You get to pick seven items and a lettuce. You start off strong. The gun fires and the tip of my pen lands upon the pad of paper in my book and you’re off. There she goes. Spinach. Turkey. Jack. Cucumber.  But then you falter. You stumble a little you should have tied your shoes before the race.

Um. Well, let’s see. Carrots? No, no, not carrots. Well, maybe. How do the carrots come? Are they chopped, grated, julienned?

Chopped.

Oh, no. Not carrots. How about olives?

*insert scratching noise as I black out the word carrot from the paper before me.

Greek or black?

Oh, I don’t know. What do you think would be good?

Greek. Greek olives are delicious they will positively complement the turkey in your salad it will be divine please just pick something already.

How many items is that?

Four. Four items.

So I have to pick three more?

Yes, yes you have to pick three more seven minus four is three which means you can pick three more items.

Can I split one of the items and do half feta, half cheddar?

No. No but you can use feta as one of the items and cheddar as the other.

No, no I don’t want that much cheese. How about tomatoes?

What about them? Do you want tomatoes? I’m growing confused here. Yes or no on the tomatoes. Yes? Okay, great. Tomatoes. Two more.

Okay, let’s do walnuts and…um…corn.

Corn? This sounds like the absolutely worst salad I’ve ever heard of it’s like when you’re in an all you can eat buffet and you just start slopping food on your plate without even factoring in what food compliments what and at the end you’re left with this horrifying pile of chunky mashed potatoes, crispy rice pilaf, over cooked pot roast, greasy fried chicken, cold fries, and sautéed spinach.

What dressing would you like?

What dressings do you have?

Oh we’re about to play my favorite game it’s called the “Did the customer read the menu?” They are all written on the page before you we have ranch, balsamic, bleu cheese, thousand island, oil and vinegar, and at least five more please train better next time you’re in last place.

How’s your bleu cheese?

It’s the greatest. We make it fresh here and every time the back kitchen preps the dressing we walk around plugging our noses because the fierce stench of the hunk of bleu cheese is enough to make you inadvertently send your breakfast spewing back up from your stomach.

Is it traditional bleu cheese or your run of the mill, standard variety type?

I don’t even know what you’re asking anymore it’s chunky and delicious and I’m pretty certain you’ll just adore it.

You know what, I’ll just have ranch. And balsamic. I like to mix the two together so can you also bring me a separate empty dish so I can make my own?

Sure. You’re customizing your salad why not customize your dressing while you’re at it. The guy at the table next to you is literally passing out from hypoglycemia his blood sugar levels are dangerously low not only that but there is no room left on this pad of paper for me to write down his order thanks to your chaotic menu choices so I’m going to have to commit it to memory and pray I get it right. Turkey Sandwich. Sourdough Toast. No lettuce. Add tomato and raw red onion please make sure they shave the turkey I don’t like it sliced too thick. I can’t remember if he said Potato Salad or Coleslaw so I’m going to bring him both and pretend like one of those ended up on the plate by mistake and as a gesture of good will, and not of incapacity to do my job, I’m going to let him keep it. You’re so welcome it’s not a problem at all I have no idea how that got there how weird is that?

The kitchen is calling me over they’re wondering if I hit corn instead of carrots by mistake and I’m trying to explain that the order is exactly correct and please don’t put carrots on the salad she only likes them julienned and the salad guy says no my name is Jose and I’m far too close to drowning myself in the bottle of Macallan 12 that sits behind the bar. And despite the fact that the Custom Salad Lady can’t run a race for shit—knowing my luck, she’s one hell of a good swimmer.