My aunt once described my uncle as such: “He would go to a restaurant and order a steak, and when the waitress brought him a burger, he’d say ‘thank you very much’. Then she’d bring the bill, and it would have a steak on it, and he’d pay and give her a 20% tip.”
I’m not sure if this is a genetic thing, or if it is a thing nurtured in a few members of our family, but erm and I share whatever this trait is, and it kind of sucks.
We’ve always had a horrified fascination with restaurant staff. When they’re friendly, they make us uncomfortable. As soon as they remember our names or orders, we get freaked out and stop visiting the establishment. When they’re rude to us, we tip them anyway, and we shrug it off as “their job sucks, can you blame them?” Then we probably stop visiting the establishment.
Introvertedness? Maybe. Social anxiety? More likely. But also a trait, perhaps the Highly Sensitive trait we both have (and is unusually prevalent in our family types).
So when I see posts like this, it makes me want to crawl into a hole, and also, never visit a restaurant again. Note number 9 on the list:
Accommodating “dietary restrictions”…
Five years ago, hardly anyone knew what “gluten free” or “vegan” meant. Now you have a memorized list of all every flourless, dairy-less, animal product-less menu item the restaurant has, as well as any menu items that could potentially be made flour/dairy/animal product-less, and you hate yourself for it.
For some reason my immediate reaction is to feel horribly guilty – like that feeling I got a few months ago when I ordered “the veggie burger, no cheese, on a gluten free bun, with sweet potato fries.” I wanted to die. It was such an obnoxious order and I was certain that the waitress, even though she didn’t say anything, thought I was the worst.
But hold on just a second. Let me swallow my sensitivity and say the thing I really way to say right now:
Fuck you. Fuck you and your insistence that what I eat is any of your goddamn business. I’m not sorry that me not wanting to spend the evening in the bathroom dry retching from severe stomach pains makes your job slightly harder. If this is going to be an issue, tell me from the start and I’ll just go home and eat food that is actually good.
Whew. There, I said it.
I still feel horrible. Every time I go to the burrito place (we stopped going because the guy knew us but now it’s been long enough that we can re-emerge) and they say “Cheese?” and I say “No thank you!” it makes me feel horrible. One time, the girl put it anyway, and I didn’t say anything. I just made erm eat it (she wasn’t vegan at the time).
I don’t think I should have to say this, but I’m going to anyway: Food intolerances SUCK. When I eat something I shouldn’t have, I get everything from three-day-long nauseating migraines to splitting pain across my ribs, and it is so not worth it. Also – I hate going to restaurants. I go because everyone else in my life likes them and sometimes I don’t want to cook. But I hate it because 1, the options are so limited that I’d enjoy my food more if I made it myself, and 2, I feel like shit asking for substitutions. If I had more money and there were more of them, I’d only go to vegan restaurants just to ease my own mind.
The other thing I want to whine about is the quotations in that post. “Dietary Restrictions”. Look, I don’t actually care if there’s no scientific evidence that gluten intolerance exists. Here are some facts:
- Celiac disease does exist, and unless you ask, you don’t know if someone has it. Don’t ask.
- People with Chron’s and Colitis have been shown to benefit greatly from a vegan diet. So when someone orders vegan, you don’t know if it’s for animal rights or because they don’t want to bleed from their colon. And they’re probably not going to just tell you.
- People suffering from chronic yeast infections shouldn’t eat wheat. Do you really want to know if I’m suffering from a chronic yeast infection?
- I study my own migraine triggers, and wheat is one of them. I don’t need your peer reviewed research, I just know what works for my own body.
- Many people, myself included, experience severe pain when digesting too much fat. Fat comes primarily from animal products. Soft cheeses and heavy cream are like a knife in my gut after just a few mouthfuls.
- Just in general: you never know what is going on with someone’s health, and people are not obligated to disclose what’s happening in their bowels right now.
Having said all of that, there are really 2 problems here: 1, people believing that they have any right to evaluate someone else’s dietary choices, and 2, people using veganism as a punch line. I have to separate those because even if you’re not vegan for health reasons, it’s still not okay to disrespect someone’s dietary choices.
I’m vegetarian. I make vegan choices occasionally. I’d be fully vegan if I wasn’t afraid of inconveniencing everyone in my life, but alas, that’s a mental block I have to get over.
Anyway, this whinefest was a result of my going to Starbucks and ordering an iced coffee with soy, and the barista handed it to me saying “Soy iced coffee, no sweetener, with milk.” I wanted to ask what she meant by “with milk” – did she mean with soy milk instead of sweetener, or did she mean that I was going to vomit later today?
But I was afraid to ask, so now I’m just drinking it.