Let’s travel back to a few days ago…
The sun is shining in the courtyard atrium. The restaurant, serving typical American fair, is bright and quiet. There I sit with two friends hungry and ready to order. I know what I want– the veggie burger. What I don’t know is how I want my burger done. That’s right, my server asks me how I’d like my veggie burger done.
Before you start thinking that we laughed at him behind his back and left him to certain future embarrassment, I’ll say this: we tried.
Once our obvious confusion and carefully hidden shock are put aside, my friend brings it to the server’s attention that there’s no such thing as levels of doneness in a veggie burger. “No,” he says, “it has to be cooked. You have to tell me how you want it done.” Ummm, okay, yeah, but… umm.
I honestly have no idea how to get my head around this situation, and my urge to laugh is growing unbearable. Egos can be delicate things. To make matters worse, the longer he stands there, pen in one hand, notepad in the other, waiting on my response, the more irritated he seems to get. Milliseconds feel like minutes; my brain is numb and buzzing simultaneously; my eyes seem to blur. Egos can be delicate things, and I got the feeling that his need to “be the authority” wasn’t about to relent.
“Uhh, medium well,” I say, feeling inexplicably like a scumbag.
“Great,” he says, noting it on his pad. “Would you like fries with that?”*
The moment he leaves we start laughing like a scene out of Mean Girls, except we laugh in whispers because we’re good people. How does this happen? How does a person stand in the face of three objections, three sane-looking women with no conceivable ulterior motives and remain absolutely firm in the belief that there is no possible truth but the truth that he knows? And how long has this been going on? I mean, wow to the third power.
In hindsight, it would’ve been great if I’d pulled his manager aside and mentioned that we’d found a crack in their employee training, but we were too busy having a good laugh. Before my medium well veggie burger even landed on the table, I knew I’d be writing about it.
*The fries come with the meal.
How do you like your veggie burger?
Bonus: Here is an excerpt from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth which discusses the ego’s need to feel superior.
“For example, you are about to tell someone the news of what happened. “Guess what? You don’t know yet? Let me tell you.” If you are alert enough, present enough, you may be able to detect a momentary sense of satisfaction within yourself just before imparting the news, even if it is bad news. It is due to the fact that for a brief moment there is, in the eyes of the ego, an imbalance in your favor between you and the other person. For that brief moment, you know more than the other. The satisfaction that you feel is the ego, and it is derived from feeling a stronger sense of self relative to the other person. Even if he or she is the president or the pope, you feel superior in that moment because you know more. Many people are addicted to gossiping partly for this reason… If someone has more, knows more, or can do more than I, the ego feels threatened because the feeling of “less” diminishes its imagined sense of self relative to the other.”
How do you like your veggie burger? And please tell us, how would you have handled this situation?
I’ll be on Instagram Live tonight at 8pm est to discuss this topic more. I’d love for you to grab some tea or booze and join me tonight and every Thursday!
My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to be more connected to yourself and the world, to find beauty in simple pleasures, and to have more adventures. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?