We'd been driving for a day and a half and were only halfway home. The high winds across the Kansas plains and the oversized trucks creeping into our lane forced my husband to keep a hands-of-steel grip on the wheel while I kept eyeing the sky for a tornado.
We were a little on edge.
And we were hungry.
When we finally decided to stop for lunch, we began quarreling. For us, quarreling involves a lot of silence between words.
Husband-Who-Can-Eat-Everything wanted to stop at Taco John's. With my soy, dairy, gluten, and corn allergies, I didn't even want to breathe the air in Taco John's.
Besides, Husband-Who-Can-Eat-Everything knew I wasn't looking forward to the three-day-old tuna and garbanzo beans I'd packed for myself. He knew this because I kept opening all the apps on my iPhone--Allergy Eats, Find Me Gluten Free, YoDish--and reading the reviews.
Still, he said, "Taco John's has salad. Did you bring salad dressing?"
"Yay, more salad," I said.
"The lettuce looked fresh last time."
"How would you like a bowl of lettuce for lunch?"
I pulled up Taco John's list of allergens on my iPhone. Just about everything has milk, wheat and/or soy.
Except maybe the lettuce.
"I just thought you 'd want to order something while I ate," he said.
A few exits later, my husband of 20+ years tried to explain how he thought he was being thoughtful. Almost six weeks ago, on the drive out, he'd gotten Taco John's to-go and taken it to Subway; a food-allergy app had given the Subway salad bar a good review.
While standing in the salad line, I watched the worker make pizza with gloves, then dip the same gloved hands into the salad ingredients. Even if he changed gloves, the tomatoes and lettuce and cucumbers were already contaminated with wheat.
I passed on the salad. My husband ate his tacos and I ate my fruit and almond-milk yogurt in one of the Subway booths.
It was a little weird. But if an employee had said anything, they'd get an earful about how anyone with celiac or a gluten intolerance would get sick from Subway's unsafe practices.
So this time around, my husband didn't want me to feel uncomfortable by eating outside food in a Taco John's booth. That's how he was being considerate. To me, suggesting we go to a grocery store and picking up food we both could eat would be considerate. But that's just me.
Here's the thing: I GET IT! My food allergies are not only a pain in the butt for me-- but for him, too!
After a long difficult drive, he wanted tacos. He didn't want to have to drive around looking for a grocery store or a safe place for me to eat--and allergy-friendly options are limited in Colby, Kansas.
Still, if he'd just said, "I'm sorry you can't eat tacos or burritos or nachos, but do you mind if we stop at Taco John's?" I would have been okay with it. Sometimes I just want confirmation from my husband and others that they get how food restrictions make life's road bumpy.
Just don't tell me to eat lettuce for lunch.