In a word

Yesterday afternoon, while enjoying a bit of sun and an iced coffee on a bench at City Hall Park, I turned to the bohemianesque girl on my right and asked her, “Where did you get that awesome-looking salad?” She told me (a little place on Murray Street … oh, was it Murray Street? she asked her friend … yeah, Murray Street, and their stuff is really good), I thanked her, and then I went on smiling into the sunshine with what could only be mistaken for bonhomie.
Outwardly, that is. Because inside I was cringing.
Had I really just described a stranger’s salad as awesome-looking? When do I ever say “awesome-looking”? Never. What’s next? Was I going to compliment her on her “rad” tattoo? Or, worse, her “rad tatt”? (For the record, the tattoo, on her left upper arm, was actually quite nifty: a bold black depiction of a fist clutching a flower. I think.)
I asked about her salad as if I actually planned to go get one for myself because it was just so awesome-looking. I asked knowing I wasn’t going to dash to the really great place on Murray Street and get an awesome-looking salad just like hers (chickpeas! chopped red pepper! balsamic vinaigrette! the greenest of greens!). I knew this because I knew that as soon as I vacated the bench, one of the vulture-like bench-seeking lunchsters hovering with a white plastic bag containing a square, plastic take-out container full of something lunchy, would quickly fill my seat and I wouldn’t be able to reclaim it when I returned with my own awesome-looking salad. Plus, I was wearing a fresh, crisp white shirt that doesn’t lend itself to the risks of leaning over a plastic take-out container and forking food the distance between it and my mouth.
So I sat there and cringed at my choice of words. I squinted into the sun, hoping the crunch of my face would appear, to passersby, to be a result of the sun’s brilliance and not the self-loathing brought on by my momentarily less than stellar vocabulary.
P.S.  For lunch I had falafel. At home. After changing into a non-fresh, non-crisp, non-white shirt. Not the most awesome-looking of shirts, but so what.