We had a girls’ gathering after work on Thursday, a good-bye party of sorts for a coworker who is off to bigger and better things (namely hanging out with her adorable baby grandson), held at a golf course restaurant. For some reason, we always go there. Probably because they have a great patio for use when the weather is nice. Or maybe we just lack creativity.
The restaurant has a great happy hour menu with something called “Divot Fries,” which are basically perfection: French fries with cheese sauce, bacon, tomato, green onion AND a ranch dipping sauce. My girls LOVE THEM. I brought home leftovers once and now I’m expected to every time.
We’re all about tradition in this house.
So when I left for work Thursday morning, I tossed an extra container into my lunch sack. Planning ahead, that’s the key.
At the restaurant, I order Divot Fries, regular fries and a fish slider (the waitress doesn’t even blink that I’m double fisting the fries; I love Divot Fries too, but they kill my stomach) — and my coworkers think I’m a hero for getting around the happy hour rule of not ordering food to go. Technically that just makes me a jerk, but hey, my kids are happy, so.
Things are winding down, and I pull out my containers — one for fries, one for dipping sauce — and take a deep breath.
Everyone at work knows I use containers — it’s hard to hide jars of backup coffee — but they don’t know that I’m as committed as I am. This was my coming out of sorts.
Oh, you and your containers, my publisher laughed as I placed them on the table, and then I started getting peppered with questions: Did you bring that from home? Did you go home to get it? Why do you do that?
Uh, I knew we were coming here and the girls would need fries, so I packed it in my lunch. Zero waste! Trying to cut down on my trash.
Saying “zero waste” out loud felt like jumping off a cliff. But I got a couple of nods. And a few actually kept a lookout for the waitress while I packed it all away, although honestly, I wasn’t worried that she’d see me. Reusable containers aren’t outlawed.
(Or maybe they were just worried the waitress would see that I was a jerk, packing away the untouched fries that were clearly intended as a to-go item. Eh, I gave her a nice tip.)
I think that, because bringing in your own containers for leftovers isn’t commonly practiced, it makes you feel a bit like a smuggler. Even if it’s not you who’s doing the smuggling, as with my lookouts — they were simultaneously intrigued and ashamed on my behalf. I brought the containers in using my messenger bag — just for ease of walking — but I made myself keep the filled containers on the table and walk out with them in my hands. Because it’s not smuggling. It’s no different than asking for a to-go box.
And if anyone else noticed, or cared, it went unsaid.
Next up: Keeping safe with a safety razor.