The Inner Landscape

Over Hard

Miss Portland midair Light Princess and I visited the reopened Miss City By the Sea Diner for brunch today. Once on the other side of the street, it now nestles beside the highway that snakes between the peninsula and the rest of our little city. The new owners built an addition to multiply the available seating.

I've become very careful with discretionary dollars, and when that is combined with eating at places that meet our multiple special preferences, we have a fairly short list of places we find acceptable. By proposing a destination outside the usual suspects, I took a risk.

Honestly, it's not the kind of risk this people-pleaser likes to take.

I remember loading up my Ford Pinto with friends in Historic Billsburg, driving to the edge of the campus of the College of Knowledge, then saying to them, "Right or left?" I feared being the one to choose, because this might mean being the one to disappoint.

I wanted the peace kept.

It's easy for me to be this way where restaurants are concerned, because I am essentially omnivorous. There are few places I could not find something to eat with perfect equanimity. I am not the one who sets the limits.

Pure Luck would tell you it's irritating, though, that I ask where he wants to go instead of simply saying what, within the limits, I would prefer, and Light Princess said something much the same today.

Why won't you tell me what you want? They both wonder.

Telling people what we want is a risk. We risk upsetting them and we risk being disappointed.

Choosing a restaurant, of course, is a small example of this, so small it's almost a symptom rather than an illness.

Local 188 Today our preferred restaurant, the one we have tacitly agreed will be Songbird and LP's post-church brunch destination on the sorts of days we most need one, had a line and was noisy and it was pouring and we decided to try something else. We wanted breakfast–or was it I who wanted breakfast?–and so we got back in the car and drove. As we drove she asked me: why don't you just say what you want and I'll say what I want and then we negotiate?

BintliffsMaybe when she grows up she will live that way.

 My second choice, a posh little brunch place near the Post Office, had a line outside the door, which seemed a poor choice in the rain.

And so we traveled a little further and went to the Miss CBtS Diner. We cracked the windows for Sam, in the way back of the wagon, and we picked our way over puddles and around a muddy patch, and we went in only to be disappointed. The booths in the diner proper were full, so we sat at a table that could have been anywhere.

Perhaps the food would redeem things?

But I could see as soon as the plate landed in front of me that this would not be. At the touch of a fork, the yolks ran onto the plate, though I had ordered my eggs over hard.

Sometimes we try to get it right and still don't please the ones we
love. Sometimes we take a chance and get it wrong. Sometimes we rely on
others and they disappoint us.

Maybe I worry about how other people will react because I tend to be over hard myself.

6 thoughts on “Over Hard”

  1. I hope you sent them back!
    My whole family is that way, especially about eating out…making choices can be excruciating!

  2. We have a similar problem in our family, especially because of one picky eater who basically likes Americana or Mexican, so we end up going to the same few places, or risking an entire meal peppered with complaints. ugh.
    Growing up in that environment has made me a total push-over, but also taught me to enjoy going places by myself!
    Sorry you had to have a bummer meal on a rainy day – that’s the worst!

  3. Predictably, I could have written much of that myself…except that I also do the rather grumpy internal voice complaining that nobody read my mind and worked out where I really wanted to eat while I was saying “No, you choose….”
    I love the thought of you and LP having a post church brunch, though. Your Sundays are so different from mine.
    Hugs for the week xx

  4. I hear you! I learned, laboriously, to say what I wanted in this line. Then it seemed that when I did express a preference, it would always be second guessed and often changed (because I gave in, natch). Which made me insanely angry.
    Now I’m learning to stand up for myself and the choice that has been agreed on. Phew. When does this self-improvement thing ever end!?

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