the overwhelming menu

end of the road
my home base dead end

I find restaurant menus very overwhelming. The more pages a menu has, the more overwhelmed I become. I am certain if I go to hell when I die, it will be in the form of a place like the Cheesecake Factory, where they think it’s cute to have 30 pages of menu. That’s just stupid.

I have the mindset if food doesn’t make you smile or even moan with appreciation, you shouldn’t put it in your body. People tend to get kind of uncomfortable around me eating. And waitresses give you zero time to make this super life-altering decision. What if I choose the wrong thing? What if I hate it? What if the cheese curds are yellow, not white? I don’t even know what half of these words are! Should I ask? Will she scoff at me? Do I want soup? Salad? Breakfast? Lunch? WHAT DO I WANT!!??

My mind sputters out. The waitress approaches. I panic. I order one of everything or I get up and leave.

I prefer the one-pagers, and I’m talking about the ones with huge lettering that you flip over and wiggle with happiness when you find it gloriously blank. Or better yet, the places that have the chef’s choice option. No decision at all. I get what I get and I don’t throw a fit. And yes, I will pay extra for that.

As I was driving around California for work this week, I realized I’ve started to look at life the same way, as this huge overwhelming menu of options. And I am sort of freaking out. I mean, what has more options than THE MENU OF LIFE? What if I lived in California? What if I had gone to college here? How different would my life be? How have my life choices thus far restricted my life? Opened it?

My life could tell a completely different story, had I selected different options from the menu. I could’ve done drugs like everyone else was doing in high school, I could’ve gone to a different college with a different major, I could’ve studied abroad, I could’ve married the first boy I loved, I could’ve had a different college job, chosen a different grad school, a different first “real” job. I could have *insert so many more personal choices not available for public consumption*, I could have made it work with him, I could have forgiven, I could have forgotten.

But I didn’t.

I told my best friend’s parents I was worried about her drug use, applied to one college where I met these amazing life friends at my one chosen college job, had my heart crushed to pieces by the first boy I loved, didn’t go abroad, stayed at my “real” job for almost eight years, did what I did that is not for you to know, didn’t make it work with anyone, struggled to forgive and never forgot.

Those were my menu choices. But what if I screwed up? What if I chose wrong? I am aware the “what could have been’s” will destroy you. But what about the future could be’s? I mean, when I look at it very plainly, very simply, right now, I can do anything I want. I know I should be grateful, but it kind of scares the crap out of me.

And then I got rear-ended hard on one of those red light ramps to get on I880 and decided I will not be moving to California.

Cross one choice off the menu. I’ll call that progress.

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