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The great A-Rod salad mystery of 2014

It's widely known that you don't make friends with salad. But did Just Salad make a powerful enemy in tweeting a photo of a glum A-Rod?

It seemed simple, which in retrospect was the first sign that it wasn't. Nothing is simple, really, or at least not this simple. Nothing about Alex Rodriguez, nothing about the Internet, and nothing about those pick-your-own salad places, either. If we only know this -- and it is about all we know for sure -- then we at least know something.

At least we know to keep asking, to keep looking. But, finally, we run out, we run into the dark, we know only the things we know. In the case of Alex Rodriguez's visit to the branch of Just Salad on Manhattan's Upper East Side, this is not nearly enough.

What we know is that A-Rod was at the Just Salad on Third Avenue at 83rd Street, sometime on Monday morning before 9:43 a.m. That was when @JustSalad put this on Twitter.


This was 47 minutes before this Just Salad franchise opened. This was 47 minutes before the first Immunity Bowl (mesclun, grilled salmon, butternut squash, dried cranberries, wheat berries, cucumber) was officially served. We do not know what A-Rod ordered -- the Immunity Bowl seems a healthy, flavorful and pleasingly ironic choice for A-Rod, though -- or which of the staffers in the tweet above helped construct it. We do not know why A-Rod would be eating salad at that time of morning, or indeed whether he even did.

We know only that @JustSalad quietly deleted the tweet sometime after noon, and that they have not yet responded to my question as to why. What happened with Alex Rodriguez and the Just Salad on the Upper East Side, 47 minutes and more before Just Salad opened on Monday morning, is a bed of shredded mystery, topped with responsibly sourced secrecy, dressed only in the lightest supposition. It is delicious, in its way, but we must take it to go.

Still, though, there is something here that haunts. It's in A-Rod's gaze, cast out west across Third Avenue, in the direction of... well, what? What do you see, Alex?


What do you see?


We might as well assume that A-Rod enjoyed his salad, as have so many visitors to Just Salad before him. We can suppose that, despite his suspension by Major League Baseball, A-Rod is taking care of his body, that he is looking forward and further out, still, towards some future that perhaps only he can see clearly.

But we do not, we cannot, truly know what happened here, just as we do not know where this tweet went. Through all these uncertainties, dense and honking and unpassable as Third Avenue traffic, we might hope that there is a thing to know. But the truth of it, the knowing of it, is someplace else, somewhere just offscreen. It is where A-Rod's gaze lands, perhaps. It is where a deleted tweet lives. At any rate, it is someplace we can't see.