Waiting for your food to be cooked is one of the more trying experiences in life. It truly tests your patience. If it’s a particularly long wait, you probably have gone through these exact five phases:
Phase 1: Delighted not to be eating dining-hall food or bad food you microwaved
Going out to eat is one of the most treasured moments of your week. The excitement has practically reduced you to infantile habits: bopping around in your seat and maybe a happy gurgle or two. You expect your tuscan kale and pumpkin-seed risotto to offer a brief but glorious intermission between bad dining-hall food and bad microwavable meals. You think about what it would be like to eat out every night. Man, why weren’t you born to be a rich kid of Instagram?
Phase 2: Questioning what you ordered
Hmm … the doubt starts settling in. The tuscan kale and pumpkin-seed risotto seemed so right at the time, but now, you think the vegetable lasagna might have been the one. You need something more substantial than a wimpy risotto. Oh no — the vegetable lasagna is the “meal that got away.” Well, it’s too late now. You can’t ask the waiter to change it. You don’t want to be one of “those people” — you know, the inconvenient ones who just so happen to find some stray spittle in their food. Ah, maybe you should have gotten an appetizer, too. You’re hungrier than you realized. You have breadsticks, though. They are your saving glory.
Phase 3: Tummy grumbles (Do I eat more bread?)
Instead of you happily gurgling along, your stomach is now erupting low belches, much to your dismay. So far, you’ve exercised monk-like constraint over your breadstick grubbing. Your hand may slowly creep over to the basket without you noticing, but you’ve pulled it back every time. You don’t know if you can resist temptation any longer, though, with the not-so-subtle reminders from your belly that are shaking you quite literally to your core every minute or so. The urge to eat more bread is strong, but you resolve to save yourself in the name of the risotto.
Phase 4: Desperate glances at the waiter
You check your phone. It’s been 30 minutes. You earnestly try to make eye contact with the waiter in the hope that it will in some way will make the food cook faster. Your wide-eyed desperation does not amuse nor concern the waiter. He’s just embarrassed for you.
Phase 5: Hunger pains
Desperation has turned to anger. Your hungry-angry alter ego is emerging. It takes no cues from social etiquette. You pray you won’t seem snippy when, for the seventh time, you ask the waiter when the food will be ready. Too late — you already are one of “those people.” Hopefully, the waiter doesn’t spit in your food.
Your food has finally arrived. All is well in the world. You quickly stuff the risotto down your esophagus and sit back in your chair pleased. It took you five minutes to consume a meal that took 20 minutes to cook. Your friends have barely begun to touch their food. You feel jealous that your friends still have food. You feel a tiny bit ashamed, but that feeling soon subsides as you melt into a blissful post-pasta coma.
Contact Nora Harhen at [email protected].