Thursday, October 18, 2007

By the time you get home, have a shower, have a post-work screw (or two), the sun has set and your belly is a-grumbling.

Cooking is out, obviously, because the big grocery store will be closed by the time you find the fare to get there and nobody likes riding the streetcar back, trying to juggle cold things in your lap while bearded men ogle your purchases, and while there is a 24-hour market not too far away, it would require walking past the guy selling dreamcatchers on the corner whom I've already made far too much eye contact with today, then past a bitter, heckling homeless man whose smell would ruin anyone's appetite, and past at least 3 Second Cups, and those devils float delicious whipped cream on top of everything, which means I'd need an iron will to even reach the market, and if by some miracle I held fast on the way there, I'd surely get lost in sweet, sweet nirvana on the way home.

Like most fridges, mine contains a jar of olives, some beer, some nail polish, little packets of soy sauce from the Chinese take-out down the street, and a half-empty bottle of mustard (you could call it half-full, but I think it's pretty stupid to waste optimism on mustard). Not exactly the fixings of a great repast. Luckily, however, I've got a little something in reserve. It's called a "cupboard" and its contents are perfect for the pinch. I start to salivate just thinking of the dozens, maybe hundreds of possibilities in contains. This is where I keep my take-out menus.

Living downtown seems opportunistic for the plethora of possibility, but the truth is closer to this: you can drown in choice.

In fact, what usually happens is that by the time I've flipped through all the menus once, eliminated the greek place for its skimpy use of feta, the thai place for consistently giving me heart-burn, and the pizza place across the street because, frankly, we just had it 2 nights ago, and narrowed it down to just 27 places that all sound equally appealing. Thankfully, in the time it's taken me to do the first run-through, half the places have now closed (what kind of old fogeys live in this city? no one else is hungry at 11:30 on a Wednesday night?) and we are slowly but surely chipping away toward choice.

The rotisserie chicken place we eventually settled on "guaranteed" that supper would be in our lobby in 40 minutes. But I wondered - where's the or else? If the chicken was not in the lobby at the appointed time, then what? They weren't saying 40 minutes or it's free. 40 minutes or we'll walk your dog or wash your feet or throw in a pair of flat-front chinos. What good is a guarantee if there's no repercussion? If they're 34 minutes late or don't show up until April or come bearing apricots instead of chicken, it would be all the same to them. It might cut into the delivery guy's tip a bit, but they're already charging $3.50 for the privilege of maybe bringing chicken to your house in 40 minutes so I'm not really feeling the guilt. The guilt from a pseudo-guarantee that's only hypothetically been breached.

Long story short: the chicken was punctual and delicious, but before you start getting all smug, let me just remind you that eating is a particular habit of mine, and it's inevitable that this scenario will be repeated again tomorrow night.

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