Panera is the shizzle for rizzle dizzle. It’s a mecca for all the vittles I love most. The bread, the cookies, the sammies, and now they even make pizza – it’s all so disgustingly delicious, I can hardly drive by without drooling. For that reason and to maintain my current ability to fit through most doorways, I often avoid Panera. I sometimes splurge and snag one of their so-good-you’ll-kick-a-puppy-to-get-one Chocolate Chipper cookies, but even then, I’m careful. I hold my breath and dash in, refusing to make eye contact with any pastries. Once I’ve secured my cookie, I scurry out the door, stopping just outside to sniff inside my bag and rock back and forth a little.

Yesterday was my boss’s birthday, but he took the day off. We wanted to take him out to lunch today and when we asked where he wanted to go, he politely suggested, “Panera Bread.” My heart thumped as I wondered to myself, “Is he a carb fiend too?” Naturally, he’s 6′ 14″ and weighs 80 pounds tops. My upper lip curled as the hemispheres of my brain began to duel.

Right brain: “Awwww yeah biznatch! I can see those delicious cookies now!”

Left brain: “Hell-to-the-no! Nothin’ but low-fat deli meat on dry bread and a small salad.”

Right brain: “Bread bagels cookies bagels cookies bread bagels COOKIES!”

Waiting in line, I wondered what lackluster, low-fat salad dressings Panera has. My willpower dipped momentarily and I scanned the panini menu. I could practically taste the warm, toasty bread, dripping with melted cheese. Arm twitching, my gaze dutifully returned to the sandwich list in search of one without cheese or mayo. Behind me, my svelte coworkers pontificated about soup.

Coworker 1: “The black bean soup is SOOO tasty! I always get it.”

Coworker 2: “I know and I LOVE the broccoli cheese.”

My boss announced, “I think I’m getting a panini” and was nearly blown over by the breeze generated when another customer walked by. Rolling my eyes, I approached the cash register. I gulped and opened my mouth to order. Before I could speak, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a pile of glazed orange scones stacked tidily on a crystal pedestal, begging my attention. My mouth began to water and the cashier glared impatiently at me.

At our table, I watched jealously as my boss gobbled down buttery slices of ciabatta encasing untold delights, pausing only to lick sauce from his fingers. My other coworkers happily sipped spoonfuls of thick, rich soup. I looked down at my cup of low-fat chicken noodle soup and bitterly nibbled the edges of my half turkey sandwich with tomato, onions, and mustard.

*sigh* Just another day, battling my demons. 🙂


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