It's scary how a quick trip back to India can be a major setback for my ordering skills . Three weeks away and I've already been reduced to that state of barbaric bumpkinness where you have to be asked whether you want that with black or pinto beans.
Like the trip to the Starbucks yesterday. Having finally got to the counter (after the lady in front of me had spent a quarter of an hour agonising over the major life decision of what to order - because you know what they say about latte in haste repent at leisure) I not only failed to place my order in the fifteen word, no-pause-for-breath, rapid fire that is the mark of the true Starbucks connoisseur, I actually had to be asked what size I wanted AND (oh, the shame!) ACTUALLY FORGOT to order non-fat. Talk about senility.
And let's not even mention my visit to the local Subway. That's just too embarassing. Let's just say that there was a point where the woman behind the counter asked me what I wanted on my sandwich and I actually paused to think about it. I suppose it's only a matter of time before I have to start wearing a tag around my neck with my name and address so when they find me wandering around in the park muttering 'jalapenos...and olives...and, uh, those green things' they can take me by the hand and steer me gently home.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go practise saying "6 inch chicken teriyaki on Italian Herbs & Cheese with Provolone" very rapidly in the mirror. Wish me luck.
 Rapid-fire ordering, is of course, the mainstay of all civilised society. Doctors in the US routinely test reaction time by shouting "what kind of salsa" in their patient's ear and checking how long it takes him / her to respond . In the Wild West, I'm told, belligerent cowpokes now challenge each other to quick order contests, with the most fearsome subslingers being capable of ordering a complete sandwich (with drinks and a side) in a fraction of the second. "What was it killed him, doc?" "I need to get my scales to be sure, Sherrif, but I'd say it were a 6'' tuna on rye. Got him plumb between the eyes too." "And him not even packing any mustard. The goddamn bushwhacker".
 All except the sadists, who can't get over the thrill of hitting the patients knee with a hammer.