100 Days of 100 Words: Day 18, Food Order Conformity Rebellion

I’m well known amongst my friends for “adjusting” dishes when I order at a restaurant. Over the years, I’ve learned to feel out the restaurant before making adjustments and to have a lighter touch when I do — most of the time. Usually, my requests are simple like substituting one aioli for another used on a different menu item or I might ask for whatever fried potato that comes with the dish to be a little more crispy (why are they not crispy by default? I will never understand). Sometimes, though, it goes a little (read: a lot) further.

May the food gods have mercy on my soul.

Please understand, I never intend to do these things when I walk into the restaurant. I don’t go in with a plan to shake things up for my server. I walk in with the simplest intentions which are to obtain some tasty sustenance and a small respite before returning to the cold realities of the real world. I can often achieve these goals without much ado. But some days are different. I become a humble snowball rolling through life with my snowball friends like any other day. As I open the menu, I am unaware of our position atop a snow covered hill. I begin perusing the menu offerings and things look good before a problem arises. I notice all the food stuffs I want are contained within this menu but they are strewn about the under different dish descriptions. I look around at my snowball friends and they haven’t seemed to notice the issue. And then, as metaphorical snowballs are prone to do and unable to resist the constant pull of gravity, I begin tumbling down the hill away from my friends. I am roll faster and faster rearranging the dishes and ingredients in my mind. The wind wooshes past as I continue to tumble and my diameter grows larger and larger until, finally, I am unable to stop myself. My destination is one of loneliness in the middle of a field adjacent to the hill and far away from my snowball friends. The swirl for menu items and ingredients in my head has settled like the fresh powder on this isolated plane. It’s from this exposed place, and with a small internal prayer for the forgiveness of the server and the kitchen staff, I make my order of crisscrossed menu items. May the food gods have mercy on my soul.

Perhaps that internal desire is its own force of nature

That’s how I like to imagine things happening. Like I am being driven to make menu item changes by some uncontrollable force of nature. I consider the things I am ordering and eating more than most, in my experience, and I believe this is a large contributing factor to these situations. Many people go through life ordering pre-designed items with no consideration that things could or maybe should be different. They accept what they are given with zeal, consume their meal, and leave contented. I am able to reach a degree of this normalcy. I mitigate the temptation for special orders by going to restaurants where the food is delicious and the ingredients are already arranged satisfactorily. But it’s never too long before I feel the need to break out of this cage. Perhaps that internal desire is its own force of nature and to try an suppress it is akin to drowning myself in conformity. That’s something I’ve never been great at: conformity. To all you service industry workers out there, I hope you can understand this and I apologize if I cause you any extra stress at work. Or, I guess I should say, I apologize in advance because when I feel the desire to launch a small rebellion in the form of my food order I will succumb. Just know that I’m not doing it just to mess with you.