Last week I decided to treat myself and went to one of those fancy burger joints with the $12 IPAs and the burgers that come with a knife sticking out of them, and I happened upon an epiphany. As I stared at a giant, block-lettered, brushed steel “DEFEND QUALITY” sign, trying to make out the Turnover song playing in the background, my food arrived. That’s when it hit me. I just paid $20 for a goddamn regular-ass cheeseburger that has fries on top of it that I’m going to devour alone when I should have just stayed home and been sad instead.
Gastropubs have never been my thing. The ambient music in the background is always a mixed bag, plus the food isn’t really all that spectacular. At the end of the day I’m just holding onto four or five crumpled-up napkins and burger juice is running up my arms while listening to “Girlfriend in a Coma” on repeat. But if I wanted to be a sad, onion and garlic soaked display of unwholesome gastronomy, I’d much rather have done this in the privacy of my 400 square foot windowless studio apartment. Not only would it have saved me a buck or two, but I think everybody would benefit from not seeing me in this state of gluttonous consumption and eventual self-loathing.
The next day I went to the grocery store by my apartment. To my delight they had everything I needed. Fries in the freezer aisle, burgers near the butcher, artisanal rolls, cheese, pickles, and condiments. Heck, I even picked up a pack of hotdogs in case I still had some self-worth after dinner. I preheated the oven, fired up the George Foreman, dialed in my favorite slowcore playlist, and let out a sigh of relief. My burger was topped with fries and I could finally face my demons without risking eye contact with anyone. As I dozed off to the sound of my own internal screaming, I finally felt peace.