Thursday Aug 20 2009
A tale of two lunches
By: Tony Overbay, Special to News Messenger
Sometimes you need to just follow your instincts. Like when your wife hands you the milk jug and says, “Smell this, it’s rotten, right?” Or when you hear that all-too-familiar gurgling sound coming from the diaper area of your infant. You know you should leave the room and play dumb, your wife will eventually stumble upon the lad and change the toxic spill that just happened in his Huggie. My instincts were screaming at me not to eat two lunches last week yet I did it anyway. Well, I tried to. Lunch number one was at Chipotle and it was fantastic. Three glorious, crisp barbacoa tacos slathered in cheese and sour cream. I had an hour scheduled for lunch. I always feel like an hour won’t be enough, but the bottom line is that if you go to lunch on your own, you’re looking at 10 minutes tops to power down pretty much anything. Never does food seem as akin to fuel than when you’re eating alone. Get in, order and get out. Actually that last sentence reminds me of In-N-Out but I digress. There I was, fingers covered in sour cream, broken taco shells and shreds of lettuce littering the bottom of my red, plastic basket. I get lettuce so I can think for a moment that some of what I am eating is healthy. I was still hungry and just beginning to wonder how pathetic I’d look if I licked the remaining bits of meat and cheese off the paper lining of the basket when I spotted the golden arches. Yes, McDonald’s was right next to this particular Chipotle. I quickly surmised that this was no accident. Surely this was designed so that folks could easily move from lunch number one to lunch number two and still have plenty of time to make it back to work. The wheels of justification were turning in full gear in my head. After all, I did go running that morning. And, better yet, when I was done running with my friends, I did a couple of extra miles with my remaining time. I earned it! Apparently my salsa and sour cream-induced state didn’t allow my brain to do the calculations that a second lunch would, in fact, negate the benefits of two extra miles. But the siren song of French fries was calling me to the drive through and I did what we therapists like to call “detaching.” I went completely on autopilot and, before I knew it, I was ordering up fries and a light lemonade. I figured the light lemonade would have a decent chance of washing the fries down quickly to catch up to the tacos. I have an untested, unscientific theory that when you blow your diet, you might as well blow it good! My theory goes like this: the human body, as amazing as it is, can’t possibly take the time to pull the fat out of the second bowl of ice cream that followed the pie that followed the chicken that followed the hamburger that followed the chips and cheese-filled hot dog (welcome to my Fourth of July). So might as well throw as much as you can in there once you’ve started! Keep in mind that the entire time I’m doing this, I know I shouldn’t be. And that’s when my instincts no doubt had a good laugh at my expense. As I pulled away from the drive through, I reached down into the bag still in my detached state. No fries, just a fish sandwich. I don’t like fish sandwiches. I instinctively reached down to the large, ice cold lemonade and took a big draw … but something wasn’t right. Wait a second, that wasn’t lemonade; that was iced tea. I don’t like iced tea. I’d love to tell you that I learned my lesson. That the $3 wasted was well worth the valuable lesson. But instead, I’m sad to report, I immediately flipped a U-turn and made my way back to McDonald’s, stormed inside with my iced tea and fish sandwich and demanded my correct order. McJustice? No, more like McStupidity on my part, I ate them all! Now, maybe next time I’ll have time for the trifecta since In-N-Out is just down the road. Tony Overbay is a 16-year Lincoln resident, marriage and family therapist intern and father of four.