Hello there. I'm the person ahead of you in the line to order food. You're next, right after me. I just have to place my order and then it's your turn. So you shouldn't have to wait much longer. It's lunch time and everyone seems to be in a hurry so I'll make this quick.

Hello, food vendor? I have a few questions before I order. Do you have any specials today? What do you recommend? What kind of sides come with the daily combo? Can I try a sample of the gumbo? Is it made fresh daily? And one last question: What is food?

Please explain it to me. I see that some of the people are putting the so-called food into their mouths. Can you tell me what that's like? How does it feel when it's inside your mouth? Do you swallow it? Is your mouth the only location you're supposed to place the food? Or are other orifices acceptable as well? I'd love to know.

It is incredible how many different shapes and colors the food appears to come in. Does it come in different flavors as well? Is it divided by category? The people behind me seem very eager to get the food so I will ask no more than 15 follow-up questions. How many meat slices come on a sandwich? Can anyone order a sandwich or do you need a secret password? How much force should be used when you bite into a sandwich? Can the bread feel pain? May I touch the food? What is food again?

OK, you've given me a lot to think about. Many times you have referenced the food marquee above your head that catalogs the various offerings. I shall study it so that I may carefully consider my options. I don't want to make a mistake. I really want to get this right.

Wow, look at me, ordering food at a restaurant. I've learned so much going through this process. Can I taste a sample of every kind of soup? Do you think I will like soup? What is soup? It looks hot. Is that dangerous? I'm scared.

Can I eat the salad with my hands? If I put mayonnaise on a muffin will I get in trouble? Why are there wraps? Does this tomato have a family? This is all brand new information for me.

One could spend years pondering the possible permutations of this food marquee. But alas, the people behind me in the line may grow weary. My dearest food docent, believe it or not, I would like to order. Please give to me one gentleman’s portion of corn chowder, a small handful of lettuce, and a pickle. Are pickles for eating? You know what—I’ll figure it out.

Now I suppose you expect something in exchange for these items. I know we can come to some kind of agreement. Can I interest you in some of my many coins? Or would you like a paper rectangle? I suppose, with enough convincing, I’d even let your currency robot gently kiss my money card. Just make it quick—I’m in a hurry.

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