I have a confession. Two of them, really.
The first is that El Chupacabra and I went out on a date on Friday and since it was just the two of us and also because it seemed like it had been a really long time since we’d done anything special, we decided to splurge a bit and get a nice meal. So we did. We splurged, and went to one of the nicest restaurants that we could afford…
There, I said it. We went to Denny’s. Ok? And goodness… it was so freaking good I cannot even begin to tell you how delicious it was. I had a bacon cheeseburger – and it was like a REAL burger – No bread or eggs mixed in the meat! The bacon was crispy and abundant, and, you guys, there were PICKLES on it! The thick kind that still have a hint of cucumbery goodness – my favorite kind – and I loved the pickles so much that I asked the waiter for a few more and, you know what? He brought me some! And I don’t very often finish an entire meal (I may have thrown a few fries on El Chupacabra’s empty plate) but I ate that entire burger, all by myself. Jeez, it was good.
Ok. And, the other thing is that the Denny’s we went to is a sort of hot-spot for gringos and while we were waiting to pay there was this white guy behind us. And he was wearing the classic tourist uniform; button up shirt, khaki shorts, mid-calf socks with sandals, and the soft white baby flesh of a man who hasn’t spent a lot of time under the sun this close to the equator. None of which, on it’s own, is terribly offensive, it’s not wrong, it’s just different, right? But the guy kept saying, in an extremely loud voice, “ARE WE THERE YET?” followed by a ridiculous amount of self- amused guffawing. I mean, he did that at least 4 times in the couple of minutes we waited for the cashier to take our bill.
And I wanted to say “Yeah. We get it. You had to fly for a long time in a big plane to get here, to this strange land, where you will spend your vacation on a very expensive but highly contrived “adventure” so that for the next 8 month you can bring it up in front of your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers in line at Starbucks by inserting the line ‘when I was in Costa Rica’ into every conceivable conversation. Yes. You’re there yet. Congratulations!” And then I wanted to say “You’re eating at Denny’s, man! What is up with the safari hat?!”
So my husband paid and we made our way to the car in the drizzling rain, and I was really glad that these confrontations occur mainly in my head. Anyway, I started thinking about why I was so irritated by my obnoxious, badly styled countryman. Is it really so bad to have an odd, albeit loud, manner of engaging with the world around you? I mean, the guy was just excited to be here.
I felt like my 12 year old, Dylan, who’s in a constant state of mortification about how his family looks, acts, and dresses in public. I love my kid, but he’s a total kill-joy. Any attempt to hold his hand will elicit an agonized, “MoooOOoom…stohahahop. You are SO embarrassing.” He begs me to make his brother quit singing in public, or to drag him away from the silly giant sunglasses for sale at the carnival. “Mom. You hafta make Jamison stop doing the robot. Everybody is looking.” And my response to my tormented preteen is always, alway, always the same. “You need to worry about you. In regard to your brother, your only job is love him. It’s my job to grow him up. So. BACK. OFF.”
And then I felt bad for judging the guy. I felt bad for letting my own insecurities lead me toward fear of guilt by association. I felt really bad for calling the guy an ass-hat in my head, when obviously I’ve engaged in more than my fair share of ass-hat moments. In those few seconds, and without ever having a conversation with the dude, I had decided that I was in some way better than him. I was cooler that he was, and I dressed better. As if those are even the things I’ve chosen to live for. As if those are things any of us should choose to live for.
You know what? I need to worry about me. My only job is to love that guy. No, like, for real. That’s my job… you know, cause of the whole missionary thing?…
But I’m pretty sure it also says that in the Bible, somewhere, maybe even a few somewheres.
Alrighty, then. Tell us your favorite burger or best burger experience. Of course, other comments are welcome, if you feel like it.