Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Such a thing as too many choices?

It was Ben's birthday on Sunday. Boy_v1 is no longer a teenager. Wow,
how did that happen?

However, his mum was working all day, I was racing, and I'm sure he had
other plans with his friends at Uni and his girlfriend who'd flown down
from Glasgow especially to see him (the clever girl is studying vetinary
science up there). So we contented ourselves with a call and a text
message to wish him a fine day with his friends, and promised to drop
down to Bristol to see him Monday evening instead.

After the usual "So what do you want to eat? Where do you want to go?"
conversation where each of all five of us expressed no real opinion on
the subject except to disagree with each others' preference, Ben got the
deciding vote; it seemed only fair as it was both his town and his birthday.

So we had what I can only describe as "posh" burgers at a place called
The Burger Joint.

A small, pretty little downstairs restaurant, quite busy for a Monday
evening. The idea was that the menu was essentially a list of
ingredients, and you filled in a tick-box checklist of what you wanted
in your "customised" burger and they essentially built it for you.

I confess, burgers are not really my thing, unless they come from the
kebab van down the road from the office, and then the main attraction is
the great selection of salad that goes on top and the chilli sauce.
However, I've never been shy of participating in anything as a first
time, and a pick and mix check-box menu was definitely different.

I ended up with a beef burger (as opposed to the lamb, chicken, venison,
wild boor, and goodness knows what else on offer as the mainstay of the
meal), topped with cheddar, onions and grilled chilies, with chilli
sauce and garlic mayo and a side of sweet potato chips.

In truth, it was a panic selection, as everybody else seemed to know
what they were doing, and the end result was a beautifully presented but
incoherent jumble of conflicting tastes. I could've done much better,
and would and will do second time around.

The company was great however. One of the very few times this year we've
had the entire family sat around the same table together for a meal at
the same time. Funny how I used to take that for granted once upon a
time, and funny how I hadn't realised I'd missed it.

There was a brief panic when I went to settle the bill and my card
wouldn't go through. Then to my horror realised that I'd somehow picked
up an old credit card that had expired in 2011 but had somehow continued
to lurk in my wallet, and was unfortunately the same colour as my usual
debit card. The horror was that I'd left the wallet back at home, as I
didn't have my jacket and therefore no convenient pockets. It's
beginning to look a little weather-beaten and worse for wear, and I knew
we'd been eating out.

I had brought another debit card with me, by way of contingency that I
couldn't possibly conceive at the time I'd have had a call for. I like
backup plans though. However, the thing is with contingency, when you're
unexpectedly knocked back to relying on it, there is always a little
nagging doubt at the back of your mind that it won't work.

Of course it did. And there was never any question that it would. But
then there was never any real expectation that I'd have to fall back on
it. Just goes to show.

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