I am a loyal person. I went to the same hairdresser for 15 years until I moved three time zones away; I was a flight attendant for a decade before I became a mom; my favorite black cashmere sweater has been in my closet longer than my oldest son has been alive. So it should come as no surprise that I am loyal to my food.
The Husband and I have a small rotation of preferred restaurants in Crazy Town, and we typically eat out once a week. We walk in, we’re seated, and within two minutes we’ve ordered without ever glancing at a menu. We are not merely creatures of habit, we are minions of a rut.
The Husband looks up at me one evening across the restaurant table over (surprise) Mediterranean pizza no olives and says, “You know, they also have other kinds of pizza, and even lasagna. I think.”
I laugh at him. “But what if it tastes yucky?” I say, channeling the five-year-old. “I don’t want to take that risk. The Mediterranean has always been good, every time.”
I used to be adventurous. There was a time in my life when I would travel through Europe, ignorant of the local language, and simply point to something on the menu. I’d internally congratulate myself on stepping out of my world of repetition to try something new and different.
Those days are over. Familiarity does not breed contempt; it breeds happiness or at least a good taste in my mouth.
The next week, we are at the local seafood place. A waiter I’ve never seen before says, “Scallops over rice, and a side of grilled asparagus for you, Professor MOV?”
“How did you know my name and my order?!” I ask, dumbfounded.
“My manager told me.” He smiles, delighted in the knowledge that his tip will surpass the standard 20%.
The following week, we are settling into our habitual booth at the local burger dive. I hear The Husband tell the waiter, “Four burgers, two with cheese, three fries no salt, three strawberry shakes, an iced-tea, and an ice-water.”
“NO!” I shout, unaware that my voice can carry so far and so loud. “I don’t want that! I want something different!”
The restaurant goes silent. The seven or so people there (this includes the three others at our table, plus the waiter) swivel to me, waiting to find out what I’ll say next.
“I would like my water without ice.”
Baby steps, baby steps.