You are what you order

I’ve decided that human beings are just really, really weird, and I don’t mean that in a third person kind of way.  I mean like … myself included.  I’ve always known that I’m slightly neurotic.  I’m an only child.  I was bred this way.  I figure there’s only so much I can do to change it.  You wouldn’t ask a Chihuahua to stop biting small children or expect a St. Bernard to stop slobbering all over the place.  Same goes for me.  My friends just ignore all my quirky habits.  (At least to my face.)

There are too many to cover in a 1,000-word blog, or perhaps even in a 10,000-word blog … so why don’t we start with the one I just recently discovered, which is my unwillingness/ inability/who knows what … to branch out when I go to a restaurant.  I’d say I’m a cross between Jack Nicholson in “As Good As it Gets” and Dustin Hoffman in “Rain Man.”  If you give me the name of a restaurant, ANY restaurant, I can tell you in 10 seconds or less what I’m going to order; and Lord help them if they’re out of it.  As Dustin Hoffman might say … “Uh, oh … 15 minutes to Judge Wapner.”  No joke … it throws me into a tailspin!

I never paid much attention to this peculiar behavior until literally four days ago.  One of my girlfriends is leaving the station, and we decided to spend the next eight days going to all our favorite restaurants ONE last time.  While standing in line at Blue Coast Burrito on Monday, she jokingly asked, “Do you want me to order for you, or do you think the guy started making it when they saw you get out of the car?”  (Insert laugh track)  Then I started thinking, “Is that really funny?  Is it possible that I’m predictable to a fault?”

Like any good girlfriend, Becky downplayed it.  I think it’s some kind of automatic reflex for girls.

Does my butt look big? No!
Do you see these bags under my eyes? What wrinkles … uh, I mean bags?
Is it strange that I have some wicked phobia when it comes to trying new things? Of course not!

And so it goes.  She did say one thing I believe.  She’s worse than I am!  We started playing a little game on the way back to the office where I’d name a restaurant and give her 10 seconds to say what she orders there.  I’ll never be able to do this conversation justice, so here’s the transcript:

Becky: It’s no big deal.  My husband and I do the same thing.  In fact, sometimes he’ll even pretend he’s going to order something different only to get the same old thing he always does.  I don’t know if he’s doing it for the server or what.

Jennifer: Oh, good.  I do that sometimes, too. 

(Ok… let’s pause for a second.  I do that too???  Exactly what kind of order are we hoping to place that’s going to “wow” the server?  Do we really think they remember US… let alone what we ordered last time?  Maybe we’re just trying to appear worldly… like that guy or gal who asks to see the wine list only to select the house brand a half hour later.  Or better yet… don’t you love it when you go eat with someone who asks what kind of dressing they have, then orders thousand island?  That was the first dressing ever invented.  Caesar Augustus probably ate it!  Let me help you out.  THEY HAVE IT!  Ok… back to our conversation.) 

Jennifer:  Hey!  This will be fun.  I’ll say a restaurant, and you tell me what you get there.

Becky: OK.

(She probably didn’t want to, but she’s too good of a friend to tell me how juvenile it was.)

Jennifer: Red Robin (because it was the first thing within eyeshot)

Becky: Oh, that’s easy.  I always get the regular hamburger, but last time I branched out and got the hickory burger.

Jennifer: Man, you really got crazy on that one!  What about P.F. Chang’s?

Becky: Honey Shrimp.

Jennifer: Ah, good choice.  I’m a Kung Pow Scallops girl.  Dalts?

Becky: Grilled chicken Caesar.

Jennifer: I always get the fried chicken salad … unless my pants won’t button.  Then I usually get the baked potato soup and salad.  Taco Bell?

Becky: Which one … the stand-alone or the combo?

Jennifer: What do you mean?  What’s a stand-alone?

Becky: I mean, are you talking about the Taco Bell by itself or the one with the built-in Pizza Hut?

Jennifer: Are you serious?!  That is NOT a Pizza Hut.  It’s a Taco Bell with some little shingle they threw up on the sign.  You don’t actually order  the pizza do you?  (no response)  Oh, my gosh … that’s like getting pizza from the gas station.  You don’t do it!  It’s like the Godfathers that’s INSIDE the BP.  I would say I’d like to put up a surveillance camera to see who actually goes there to get pizza, but I know.  My mother!  Pizza outside an actually pizza place is called one thing… an EMERGENCY.   

Becky: OK … fine!  Taco Supreme.

Jennifer: Finally!  I better not catch you ordering a pizza over there, or I’m staging an intervention.  That was just stupid.  I have to regain my composure.  OK … J. Alexander’s?

Becky: Oh, the rattlesnake pasta for sure.

Jennifer: Bricktops?

Becky: Chicken tenders.  I feel kind of bad.  I didn’t know what to get so I just ordered chicken tenders because that’s what I used to order when it was Houston’s.

Jennifer: WHAT?!?  Hold up!  Are you telling me that … even though the restaurant has completely changed … you still ordered the chicken tenders because the restaurant was in the same BUILDING where you used to order chicken tenders?

Becky: (laughing uncontrollably)

Jennifer: Seriously?

Becky: (still laughing and speechless)

(We finally reached a stop sign, so I turned to her and finished the conversation like a mother scolding her child.)

Jennifer: You know they razed the entire building, right?  I mean, they LEVELED it.  The only thing left is the VIEW out the WINDOW!!

(She just sits there nodding and laughing until tears start streaming down her face.)

Jennifer: You’re weird.  I’m done.

Things are worse than I thought.  This is a full-blown epidemic.  Guys … game over!!!!  It’s time to break the cycle.  If you’re one of those people suffering like Becky and me, in an eternal food rut, it’s time to pick up your forks and take action! Get out there on the limb and order something different before you wake up one day and find yourself ordering an 18-wheeler at the new La Paz on Elliston because it USED to be a Le Peep.  This is embarrassing!

I’m out.  Have a good rest of the week.

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One Response

  1. Fantastic! I’m so glad that Channel 4 facebook posted about your blog I hadn’t discovered it. By the way – don’t put on your news anchor filter – I love your sarcasm!

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