Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mystery burger deconstruction

So I'm walking down West 6th Street after leaving a cocktail party. I had to park a couple of blocks away, but that was fine. Sure I had my high heels on, but who doesn't love a stroll through the cool hipster Warehouse District?

Then I spy this right outside of Johnny's Downtown Bar and Grill.

I stop, look over my shoulder, look over my other shoulder, then give it a poke.

Curiosity got the best of me.

Thank god I'd just had some lovely sushi and chardonnay. But how hungry would I have had to be to eat it? After all, this was probably some ritzy Kobe beef burger from XO or the Metropolitan.

Oh, don't be so smug. Haven't you ever watched another diner push away a plate that had a lingering bit or two on it and and wish you had the balls to say, "Excuse me, but are you going to eat that shrimp?"

Okay, so this was no shrimp.

But who left mystery burger here? A man or woman? And why? Did she change his mind about taking it home? Did he set it down to retrieve something she dropped, then, realizing he had set it on a garbage can, decide it was no longer suitable for her consumption?

Was he alone? With a sig other? With a first date?

It was a cheeseburger. The cheese was white.

Emergencies such as this fluster me to no end. What could I do?

I'll do this: For your safety and convenience, I have worked up the following valuation schedule for mystery burger:

Before ordering: $20

Upon serving: $10 (a gourmet burger never lives up to its hype on a visual basis)

After first bite: $15 (but it does taste good, and that is one hell of a lot of mashed potato)

After 50 percent consumption: $3 (the eater is stuffed, but respects the protein/caloric value of the remnants)

After waiter boxes item: $1 (it is a shitty looking box--in fact, now that I look at it, I doubt this was from XO Steakhouse or the Metropolitan Cafe, it was probably from John Q's, which is another story entirely, but hey, I'm here now and I'm not turning back)

After box is set on municipal garbage can: $0

After Erin spies box: $5 (attention and curiosity have got to be worth something)

After Erin pokes and fiddles with box, opens it and starts taking pix with her phone cam: $10 (can you imagine how entertaining this was to the people noshing on the Patio of Johnny's Downtown?)

After Erin recloses the lid, puts the box back in the bag and leaves it exactly as she found it: $0

Upon being discovered by the next person: $? (are they hungry, curious or indifferent? a whole new flow chart blooms just thinking about it .... )

People, welcome to my world.


Erin O'Brien said...

And now for the prestory!

Resurrected Chemist said...

Now I'm wondering what Even wanted to tell Peggy about William... but I guess it's good enough that he got the girl and William didn't. The way the (pre)story plays out, it's like people are doing things that the story expects you to easily assume why they did it, but only afterwards the story mentions why they did what they did and confirms what you were thinking... very cool, I don't come across writing like that very often.

Resurrected Chemist said...


"...I don't come across writing like that very often."

Perhaps I need to "get out" reading-wise more. My intuition is telling me that there is a lot of quality literature out there that I have been missing out on, and that I haven't heard of them because for some stupid reason the only books that get good advertisement are ones by authors that are either rich, famous, or just plain lucky and not necessarily authors that actually put out quality writing. Am I wrong Erin?

emmapeelDallas said...

This reminds me of the time I'd gone to a funeral and a friend and I left the reception afterward because we decided we badly needed a drink. There we were, 2 North Dallas middle aged ladies in black suits, wandering around Deep Ellum at 2:00 on a weekday afternoon, and not a bar was open. We were so desperate, I began asking people on the street if they knew where we could get a drink, but everyone kept saying no. Finally, I spotted a wino, and I went up and asked him. He squinted at me for a moment, then grinned widely, dug deep into a pocket,whipped out a bottle in a brown paper bag and said, "I'll share!" (I know it was a truly generous act, but I said no thanks...)

Anonymous said...

It's almost as if the owner (diner?) was ambivalent about throwing it away, so just sat it on the edge of the can in case a dumpster diver came along seeking a good snack.

Without being able to smell it or get a sense of how long it had been there from the temp, etc. it's a tough call. But I'm guessing if I was hungry, I'd probably be grateful to have it.


Helen Mansfield said...

When John & I were in San Fran last year, we saw a lot of food containers sitting on the edge of the trash, just like that one.

As others suggested, I chalked it up to folks being kind to the homeless, or being abliging to those who dumpster dive.