I visited the local co-op grocery store while on duty this past Tuesday morning. I walked into the store in uniform and it was a bustling little place. They were undergoing an expansion and renovations so there were people busily working away on different projects throughout the store. As I walked through the chaos, every person I passed greeted me with a chipper hello or good morning and a great big smile. I felt like I was belle from beauty and the beast as she walks through the market, except way more manly. I made my way to the small fridge in the back of the store that contained some pre-made deli items. The fridge was mostly bare, and I had to choose from either a chicken wrap that looked kind of soggy, or a two bun sandwich combo that looked mostly dry and edible. One of the buns was chicken with cheese and the other was ham with cheese. I grabbed an orange juice out of another cooler, paid for the items at the till and made my way back out to the big old patrol van.
As I was driving back to the park on the other side of town, I started in on the chicken sandwich . It was pretty plain, but was most definitely edible. After I devoured the first sandwich, I grabbed the ham sandwich and dove in. By this time I was doing a vehicle patrol through one of the camping bays. On the first bite into the ham bun, I noticed a slightly off taste but it quickly disappeared and I passed it off as just my mind playing tricks on me. This was a mistake. I took a second bite and was immediately hit was the taste of putrid rotten ham. My first instinct was to spit it out, but there were campers around and I didn’t want them to see the park ranger barfing out of the window, gotta keep up appearances, nor did I want to spit it in my lap. I had nowhere to spit it so I just held it loosely in my mouth in a way that I would experience the rotten flavor the least. I had rotten ham in my mouth for approximately 1 minute before I reached the end of the camping bay. I got out of the van and spit it all over the ground. I then grabbed the juice that I purchased and swished some around in my mouth and spit that out too. It was a great relief, but also utter disappointment after realizing I had no more sandwich to eat.