It’s actually kind of pathetic, really. My life has primarily become about food. There was on old stand-up routine where a comic was pointing out how different people gave directions. The religious guy would say things like "Go past the catholic church until you get to the methodist church. Then turn left one block past the bible store." The fat guy would say "Go down Main street and you’ll see a gym on your left. You want to keep going right past that. Don’t even slow down. You’ll drive past a Pizza hut, Burger King, and when you get to the Wendy’s, which has great food, slow down. You’ll see the place on your left." Well, that has become me. All my reference points are restaurants. I know where to find the food I like in every location I frequent. I know where most Longhorns are in about a 100 mile radius. Geez.
So, how did this happen to me? Simple. That’s my hobby. If you ask, I also know where most pawn shops are in a hundred mile radius. When eating alone, it’s usually easier and arguably cheaper to eat out. So, I visit the same places many times, in many different places. Like my white-collar/blue-collar post, I look for these landmarks when I am in a new locale.
I take a bit of flack for eating the same things over and over. I can count the number of entrees I eat on my fingers; it’s pretty limited. But my viewpoint is that it’s not the same meal. Eating a burger at Chili’s for lunch and a burger at McD’s for dinner are different. They taste different. That’s my variety. And I can identify the differences between all burgers that I eat, the fries I eat (including the texture of the salt), and the syrup/water/CO2 mixture of the Coke per location. I’ve been on the fence for a very long time as to whether it’s a good or bad thing to have the server ask "the usual?" It depends on my mood whether I get annoyed or not. Also, I’m not sure about getting personal with the staff. That makes me feel like I’m paying for attention. Whenever money is involved, I don’t believe in sincerity.
Lately, our area has seen a compression of eating locations. Within the last few months we lost: Roadhouse, Sam Seltzers, Lone Star, Bennigan’s, Don Pablo’s, Steak and Ale and Ruby Tuesday. I guess the economy has hit the casual dining market hard, but then again, I never visited these places often (except Roadhouse), so maybe it’s my fault too. I guess I can’t save the world, one restaurant at a time.