I decided to go to Schmaltz Deli in Naperville to drown my age-related sorrows in a half-stuffed egg salad sandwich and grab anything chocolate they might have for dessert--hopefully the amazing devil's food cheesecake.
On my way there I noticed a preponderance of slow drivers, and added to some minor construction on Ogden, it felt like hell. People's reflexes and ability to use the indicator signal had slowed down beyond molasses in January. Everyone, today, apparently, had been given a large shot of novocaine directly to the cerebellum.
It was nice and sunny, so I attributed everything to Chicagoland's world famous sunshine delays. Ah, yes.
Once I made it to the deli's parking lot, I noticed how full it was, and wondered why. Then I happened to glance a few stores up and noticed a line of approximately 50 people outside the Honey Baked Ham store. They were walking as if they were drunk. A mother and a daughter were practically running into the side of my car as I briefly backed up to nab one of the very few empty parking spaces.
So I get in the deli and see they've slightly redecorated some refrigerated cases towards the main entrance. Each time I go, since I don't go that often, there's always some new layout trick I need to glean from a quick looksie as I step in the door.
I grab a huge, clear plastic takeout box with a humongous slice of chocolate cake. I read the label as I walk towards the knish case, or so I call it, and notice that my selection of chocolate extravaganza is called a skyscraper chocolate cake. Very perfect.
I spot some not so yummy spinach-filling looking knishes and instead opt to get that egg-salad sandwich that I always get. Except the woman that was ahead of me has decided to linger and take up the attendants time as if in a covert operation to delay other patrons' speedy ordering. She keeps stepping back so I need to keep stepping back. I step to the side and the next attendant that shows up helps the couple behind me. I feel seriously ticked, but what can you do. So I wait for the yappy lady to finish discussing some person the attendant has no idea who it is, but that may have at some time, in a remote past, worked at the raw restaurant in Downers Grove. Which, by the way, the attendant is the son of the owner.
I finally get to step up to the cash register so the attendant can help me out, and I say excuse me to the yappy lady. She's completely oblivious that anyone else is on the planet earth today. She keeps talking to him and stepping towards me as if on purpose. I take a deep breath and look up at the menu and at the cold case to pass the time.
I finally get to order. When my order comes out, the clerk behind the counter screams out my name as if I had misbehaved and must immediately be apprehended. The good part was that as I was taking that first, huge, drooly bite of my egg salad sandwich, I noticed they sneaked a couple of huge, delicious, dark roasted bagel chips on the opposite side of where a huge dill pickle resides in my sandwich basket. As I look up, the second good part is that I realize the couple that got attended before me in my place are still waiting for their takeout order.
I get out of the deli, still mumbling under my breath at practically having to climb over the seemingly lifeless corpses of people lined up for that freaking Honey Baked Ham. Three cars are almost crashing against each other to vie for my parking space. I scram out of there while Coldplay's Paradise is playing on the radio.
I get home, and after a couple of errands, I get a fork, sit in front of the large flat screen in the living room, turn back on that episode of X-Files I was watching on Netflix, and take a huge ass bite of delicious, melty, amazing, dark, chocolate cake. Life is good.