I approached the sandwich bar at the hospital cafeteria cautiously. I had eaten a pre-prepared sandwich the previous day and it tasted like ass, horseradishy ass, but ass nevertheless. This time I hoped for a better sandwich by building my own, using ingredients like turkey instead of sphincter.
My mother stood along side me.
"It's a very nice sandwich bar, isn't it?" she asked cheerfully.
My mother loves all food. She'll happily eat spicy food, bland food, good food, bad food, food in a box with a fox, orange peels, and maybe cardboard. I cannot recall her ever saying, "This tastes like ass."
If you give her a glass of some flavored liquid, say juice or wine, it will be so overpoweringly delicious to her, that she will dilute the flavor by adding water. You can feed her the richest chocolate cake, or a cracker, and she will ooh and aah equally over them both.
If that hospital sandwich bar had only contained two items: grey cardboard and dark grey cardboard, she would have said, "Goodness! Two kinds of cardboard? This is very nice sandwich bar, isn't it?" Then she would have poured a little water on her boardwich and thoroughly enjoyed her meal.
I contemplated her semi-rhetorical question to me. It wasn't a horrible sandwich bar. There were several kinds of bread, a couple kinds of meat, two kinds of cheese, lettuce and tomato. It was definitely adequate, but "very nice?" There was no sourdough!
Then again, did it really matter what I thought? My father had just had a heart attack and my mother was spending virtually all her time at the hospital. Maybe it was time for me to put aside my curmudgeon tendencies just once and let her enjoy her meal. Would it be so hard for me to be a thoughtful son?
"This is NOT a very nice sandwich bar," I replied.
"Well, I think it's a very nice sandwich bar."
On the bright side of things, my father is being released from the hospital. I promise that if he ever gets readmitted there, I'll lie to my mother about enjoying the cafeteria. I hope I never have the chance though.