I decided to try a noodle shop. Not for any particular reason, especially as at that moment I was specifically craving a burger, but having seen it the other day when walking with a friend it seemed like a good option. I would also add that the location that it is in has been notorious for holding many other food shops previous, and all have quickly died. I thought it best to try this while it still lived.
So I enter. It being around lunchtime, it was understandably busy. I did not mind. I am currently jobless, and though I had an interview today it was not a pressing concern at that moment. However, the woman working behind the counter was sometime kind of noodle god. I hesitate to say Spaghetti Monster, because as an atheist, that particular concept makes me want to punch things made of Science.
Due to her speed, I was almost immediately served as I ambled over to the counter and study what meal I wanted to have. Naturally, I panicked and chose the first thing I could see.
'A small chicken and black bean sauce please,' I blurted. She pointed to the noodles. I nodded, not daring to say anything else though quietly thinking at the same time it was odd that she would question my choice for noodles in a place that primarily served noodles.
I said I wanted to have it in, twice, as it was raining, which as a concept seemed to mildly disgust her. Again, I'm not sure why. There were tables available, and as I was by myself I wouldn't take up any room really. Nevertheless, she gave me my box of noodles, graciously putting them on a damp tray.
'Four pound.' I noted the lack of please. I gave her a five pound note.
'This has a rip, you have another?' My patience was beginning to be tested, and having had previous retail experience and some knowledge about currency (such as Scottish money not being legal tender in England, no matter what Salmond or Boris may think, the pillocks), I insisted that the note would be fine. She took it, reticently, and I sat down to eat my noodles.
Meanwhile, out of the corner of my eye, I could see her trying to repair the note for its tiny rip. I could feel her judging me. Still, I had noodles, and began to eat.
I found it to be nasty, but required a little kick. Next to me, I see a big bowl of what appears to chilli in oil, but as I was later to discover was actually anti-tongue sauce. Figuring it should be okay, I put about a teaspoon of it into my food, mixed it up, and began eating.
At first, nothing. And then it began. I started to sweat, and tears were building in my eyes. Spicy food is fine when it's tasty. When it is spicy simply for the effect of causing pain, it loses its allure somewhat. I could tell the Noodle Woman was judging and enjoying the fact I had made a tit of myself, but I refused not to finish it. I had, after all paid for it. So there I sat, for the next agonising five minutes, eating tendrils of fire and spongey chicken. I left, eyes streaming and mouth throbbing to see the Noodle Woman smirking in my wake.
I did not buy any water from her however. I'd be damned if I'm spending more than I need to.