Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Pickle's Worth A Thousand Words

There isn't much to be said for pickles. They are a slimy, nasty sort of green and the remind me of an awkwardly shaped penis.

I've heard that pregnant women often crave pickles, and I was horrified that I would crave them too when my turn to have a bun in the oven came along. Alas, I found them, if at all possible, more detestable than before.

Now instead of just loathing the spongy, acidic little beasts, I couldn't stand their smell and their nasty little paw prints.
I always order my sandwiches without pickles, and really do not appreciate when this request/thinly veiled demand isn't heeded. My spouse says that I can just take the offending condiment off, but what he fails to understand is that pickles leave a residue that permeates and thus ruins the entire meal.

Even worse is when the menu doesn't claim to add a pickle to your plate, and so you are caught completely off guard when the horrible round sloppy piece of filth is painting your fries with pickle juice.

It really is enough to make me want to throw my plate at whomever is near enough to catch my wrath and run screaming from the building.


Because I have Restaurantitis. I don't know that this is what it is really called, but if I google my symptoms and come up with a real disorder to label myself, I might not ever recover.

I'm still not convinced that I'm OCD. I'm still not convinced that I'm OCD. I'm still not convinced that I'm OCD.

But back to the restaurant issue.

I'm not sure when it started.

Despite growing up in a house that didn't always have money for new socks, we still frequently patronized every restaurant in town. My dad was/is a pastor and you might be alarmed to know how often people want to take the pastor's family out to eat. We weren't complaining. After all, my mother has never been too fond of cooking or meal planning, and more often than not we had rice for dinner, sometimes with some peas and carrots thrown in for good measure.

So, I knew the kids' menu at Pargo's by heart, and ditto on all the other major restaurants. I also knew how to sidestep the truly spicy dishes at Indian, Thai, and other ethnic restaurants. I knew how to sit quietly while my parents talked to Whomever Was Paying The Bill. I also knew how to create a diversion when Whomever Was Paying The Bill starting talking dangerous church politics and couldn't restrain from saying unkind things to my parents.

I'm very, very convenient to have around. Or so it seems.

And then one day, though I don't actually remember the day, it all went terribly wrong.

The first time I remember it happening was off of the highway, shortly before reaching Palm Springs. My mom, sister and I were traveling from southern California back to Phoenix, and needed to stop for some dinner. They wanted In-N-Out, but I didn't. I was smack in the middle of my 'I don't eat anything' phase and wouldn't hear of having a cheeseburger and those lovely crunchy fries that spill out over the lapkin. (Drool)
So, while they made inappropriate noises regarding the tastiness of their meal choice, I was made to look out the window and attempt to locate a suitable eating environment for my discerning palate.


I went into a gas station, hoping to find some yogurt or fresh fruit, or even some pretzel sticks. Karma was against me, and all I found were BarbecueRanchDillSourCreamTomatoCheddar Pringles and Klondike bars.

In total hunger and desperation, I walked across the parking lot to Burger King. For some reason, I was under the impression that they would be able to assist me. Call it a desert mirage.

Well, I asked for vegetarian items. They had none. I asked for low fat items. They had none. I asked for items made with whole grains, and they had none. My mother and sister were giving me the evil eye, because their bellies were nice and full and they were ready to get back on the road.

In a last ditch effort, I asked for skinless, boneless chicken. I hadn't consumed meat in two years, but was willing to think about it because I was that hungry.

They had none.

And I went totally, completely, embarrassingly crazy.

I stormed out of the store, after leaving a tray full of angry words for the manager. Instantly, I wasn't hungry and couldn't imagine eating. In my fist-in-the-air stance against the injustice of greasy burgers worldwide, I refused to eat until we were safely home. I probably had cereal.

I would like to say that I've grown out of this odd and childish behavior. While I have gotten better, it is by no means gone. I can squelch the hateful words, and keep a smile on my face. But if something goes wrong inside of a restaurant, well...I can't cope!

I simply cannot abide those restaurants that throw peanut shells on the floor. I'm not allergic to peanuts, but immediately start itching if made to enter such an establishment. I truly do refuse to eat in these places, like a wilful and irritating devil child. I have done this since the time Austin and I got into some type of argument whilst patronizing a Peanut Shell Restaurant. In my mind, I was going to 'punish' him by refusing to eat and insisting that I hated the place. I can still smell the cleaning solution the waitress was using on the table next to us as Austin ate his bacon cheeseburger. Sullenly, I stared out the window. I've never been to one since.

It doesn't really made sense to me either.

Most recently, we went to an 'American' Diner in Ireland. Call it the noise, or the black and white tiles that played with my mind. Maybe I was worried about spending too much money or the kids were being difficult. t could have been that I was overwhelmed with the events of the week, or just that french fries scared me that day.

But very, very suddenly, I saw something in my mind's eye. I saw myself standing up on the red plastic curvy booth and holding my hands towards the ceiling. I screamed, and then ran out the front door, down the street, and into the night.

In other words, I needed to regroup.

I asked Austin to get up so I could get out of the booth. When this hadn't been achieved in .24 seconds, I did in reality stand up in the booth....Austin saw the look on my face....said,"Oh no. Please please don't do this here!"...and I jumped over the kids and then tried my very best to look normal as I quickly sought the solace of the restroom.

I breathed slowly, closed my eyes. I ran my hands under the leaky tarnished tap and then pressed them to my temples. After looking into my own eyes in the mirror's reflection, I decided that I should go back.

I wasn't able to eat anything.

You'll maybe think me a bratty, childish little twit. I can't say I regard the situation much better than that description.

But I don't really know a cure for Restaurantitis. Sometimes it is about the food they don't have. Sometimes they are out of my favorite drink. Usually it has something to do with the noise level.

But mostly, I suppose, I just am very, very odd.

But I still hate pickles, and I think the world would be a much better place without them.


Steph said...


well, i read the first few sentences. then the last ones.

and I don't think I can talk to you anymore.

i pretty much would choose pickles over Jerad.

Steph said...

mmk, i calmed down and read the whole thing. since it wasn't ENTIRELY an attack on pickles... we're still good:)