The salad bar is the quintessential object lesson for life. Seems weird, but follow me on this.
Life is full of choices. This or that. Do I stay or should I go. Each decision impacts other options made both before and after.
Maybe you like rabbit food and always belly up to the salad bar and imbibe generously, carefully avoiding and shunning any of the sweet perpetrators that lure people under the guise of balanced diets and rewards. Heathy eating is never gluttonous, right? But can it be borderline obsessive?
Or you take the things that are good for you even if you don’t like them. Lesson: Responsibility?
But admittedly, you often indulge or overindulge the Jell-O and the pudding. After all, you did eat a healthy salad and deserve a treat. Lesson: Moderation?
There are different kinds of cheeses, beans, sometimes even multiple varieties of lettuce and vegetables all equally presented on the salad bar open for all who pay the price of admission. And no overlord stands there and dictates that you can’t take both kidney beans and pinto beans or not to mix the cheddar cheese with the mozzarella, despite the cringe of your onlooking neighbor. Lesson: Freedom?
People may gag at the different stroke of blending the blue cheese dressing with the thousand island dressing, it’s a matter of personal taste. Lesson: Tolerance?
For vegetarians and vegans, it’s the bastion of the holy food land. Instead of constantly improvising on limited menus, picking, and settling for what they they can have, often everything is finally within reach without restriction. Lesson: Equality?
But while you may freely go back to your table and regale your group with the faux pas tale of the person who mixed the two dressings, you are free to laugh, but they are free to enjoy it.
And the conduct at the salad bar can offer unspoken behavior rules of the road. You don’t cross your reach in front of anyone or push and shove people out of the way, no matter if you wasted most of your lunch hour waiting at the Apple store or how close it is to your movie time or theater curtain. You politely wait your turn. Lesson: Manners?
Proper decorum dictates use of the utensils provided, instead of plunging your grubby hands into the food. After all no one would break a social norm and risk, making others sick for their own indulgence. Lesson: Respect?
But just in case you get careless or have an accident, there is a sneeze guard installed by the management to prevent you from spewing the contents of your nasal passages all over the heathy food. Lesson: Avoidance of lawsuits?
Oh, and there’s often soup. That’s just warm comfort food. Maybe it’s all a lesson that life is full of everything you need an want for yourself and others, if you just look.