For The Folks Who Take TOO LONG to Order Food

I was rewatching the standup bit by John Pinette the other day – the one in which he expresses resentment against people that can’t decide what to get from the menu. He just wants them to get out of the line and let the others get served. 

I love the bit, mostly because I love John Pinette and his comic timing. He is hilarious, and in my book, he is one of the most likable standup comics of all time. 

After my usual dose of serotonin watching him in all his glory, I go back to wondering – why? Because I am one of those people. 

Wondering why I am so pathetic at ordering stuff at restaurants. 

Why do the simplest of menus confuse me?

Why, even after so many years of eating out, I haven’t developed on-the-spot ordering skills?

Why do I gravitate to buffets?

Well, scratch the last question. I know the answer to that—best bang for the buck.

That’s a couple of very close friends and me.

And then there are people out there that know exactly what they want and feel pride in their capability to do so.

And then there are people out there that know exactly what they want and feel pride in their capability to do so.

Quoting Joe F-O-X from “You’ve got mail” (another movie I have been guilty of rewatching more times than I can count):

“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat. So people who don’t know what they’re doing, or who on earth they are, can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self.”

Again, I think of myself.

I have been placing the same order of coffee for years now, but I still forget to mention milk and sugar on more occasions than I would like. I do pay the price of that with angered taste buds and a decent blow to my Ordering self-esteem. 

I gape in awe of people that place an order that is so clear that the barista doesn’t have any follow-up questions. I doubt that even my “can you please get me a glass of water” order can be that clear, no pun intended.

In my mind, I had crowned myself the most order-challenged individual until I discovered a friend’s struggle, quite worse than mine. 

So we are at a bagel place that also serves coffee. As a gracious host, I let him place his order first. I mentally pat myself on the back for averting the disaster of me going first. 

Now I can simply copy whatever he does. After all, how difficult can saying “same for me” be, no matter how intimidating the server looks?  

After a quick exchange of pleasantries comes the dreaded question.  

“What would you like to have today?”

He takes a good (uncomfortably) long look at the menu, and goes:

“Can I have a plain bagel and a latte please?”

“Sorry, we don’t have plain bagels, but we have sesame, everything and cheese. Would you like any of those instead?”

The guy looks in my direction, askance.

What the hell is happening here? He is asking me?.. ME???

Oh good god! What were the options again?

And I wing it. “I don’t think anything can go wrong with cheese, why don’t you try them?”

Sheep had become the shepherd that day. Wow, what a self esteem boost!

But then it struck me, maybe there are other reasons for my irrational fear.

It could be social anxiety disorder . For those that struggle with fear of eating in public, it often presents as “avoiding the situation, fearfulness of being criticized, embarrassment, racing heart, sweating, nausea, and feeling trapped 

Fortunately, it didn’t take me long to realize, thanks to the Three Men in a Boat rant by J, that if I am going to look to map diseases with my sufferings (eccentricities, really), I will probably find that I have every existing ailment in the world.

I am optimistic, yes, but not that much.

What I do know though, is that misery loves company. And I feel so much better knowing that, same as Mr Neville in I am Legend, I am not alone.

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