When at home the world is mine. I have chosen each delectable treat in my cupboard. I have filled my refrigerator with healthy choices for my diet. I can eat in the dining room on fine china or I can eat over the sink before I dash out the door to take a long bike ride. I can read a relaxing book or walk through the neighborhood. I have many choices and I own them. If I am working at the lab I am to perform is a certain way. Reports are to be written on a timely basis. Chemical testing is performed to meet specific methods. and there are days that we go out to lunch as a group. We make a choice as to which restaurant we are to eat and out the door. My question is how to make the right choices at a restaurant. Will my diet survive when worlds collide.
Today we are heading to a restaurant chosen by one of the chemists in the lab. Chemists are a strange creature. They spend each day performing intricate tasks methodically over and over again. They pour over data, manipulating it statistically to arrive at that hard fought number. They cultivate numbers in strict methodology rows. They water those numbers with statistics and tending to them carefully. They harvest each crop of data with precision. They are used to a world that is highly structured. You would think that a lunch choice would be chosen methodically providing what their body needs. They are like most people when it comes to lunch. On busy days they may head to the vending machines for a Poptart and can of Pepsi that will be devoured as they pour over numbers. On other days they ride the fast food roller coaster of burgers and fried things on a bun. And some days they need to break away from the methodical lab environment and express their freedom. Live their 45 minutes of freedom to the fullest. Today was the later. It would be bacchanalia except without the naked bodies, damn.
Today’s choice is a sports bar. This is far from the world of vegan humus and sliced zucchini. It is a world of fried food and grilled burgers. And did I say we are from Wisconsin so if it can be smothered in cheese it will be.
We sit down at a table. A sea of flat panel TVs hang from every free space on the walls. Each tuned into a different channel so that you have a cornucopia of sports. There are laminated menus wiped clean of the greasy fingerprints and spilled coleslaw. Perky waitresses in tight t-shirts with sport slogans splashed over brightly dyed cotton bounding from table to table. The room is packed with hungry bodies ready to devour their grilled favorites smothered in cheese. Its easy to become overstimulated in this atmosphere…perfect for our lunchtime orgy.
The menu has 20 burgers topped with anything that can be nailed down to it in the kitchen. There are a plethora of cheese covered sandwiches and a handful of fried goodies to top off your lunch. So what do I choose. I can opt for the ruben sandwich less the melted swiss cheese, corned beef, butter and thousand island dressing (a sauerkraut sandwich). A plate of fried cauliflower and zucchini. A side of french fries and coleslaw. Or a lettuce and tomato sandwich (the burger without the ground beef patty). So when the waitress takes our order I ask the usual questions that a vegan is familiar with. I want the waitress to know that I need to find an item that will suit my diet. Thank the gods that I live in Madison Wisconsin. Home to a large population of fun loving vegetarians and vegans to which our waitress was a member. She lists off many items that are not on the menu with a wink of her eye. A goddess of the bacchanalia.
So, today I could keep my diet with a delicious salad of greens and tomatoes sprinkled with nuts and raisins and crusty bread on the side. An oddity in the table filled with meaty burgers and mounds of fries. A happy vegan has found nourishment in this restaurant of burgers and fried food when worlds collide.