Saturday, June 7, 2014
A Fool in Chipotle
Joyce and I were two of the last people in America to try Chipotle, I think. When the restaurant chain opened a franchise in our town of Hudson a few years ago we did not go--even when we saw streams of people walking and driving there. One Western Reserve Academy student I taught near the end of my career was dazzled that his teacher had never been there, so he extended an open invitation. He would go with me, whenever I wanted.
I didn't want, not for a long time, but on May 19, 2011, very near my final day of classes, I agreed to go with the student (Mike Pallotta), and he guided me through the ordering routines (every restaurant chain is different; I felt like a dolt). I noticed he was watching me--almost as if I were an alien--a gentle, daffy one--who had drifted to earth and lingered principally for Mike's entertainment. I confess: I liked the food (okay, a lot), but the ambiance was a little--what?--industrial?--for me. The place was loud and crowded--a good way, of course, to encourage turnover.
Later, I talked Joyce into stopping there once, just so she could see what it was like. It was April 3, 2012, nearly a year after my only other visit. By then, I'd forgotten about the ordering--and even what the menu items are (what they mean)--so, once again, I felt like a dolt--and felt, as well, the eyes of Mike Pallotta in the room, bright with amusement at his teacher's dolt-itude.
And then, tonight (Friday), we stopped at one near our motel (we're on the way to see my mom and brothers in Massachusetts) because it was the closest thing--and we were starved. It's been two years since our last visit, and we both were befuddled again. We eventually ended up with food (more than we should have had), and, again, we both liked it--though not the ambiance.
As I type these words, Joyce is eating the last of the chips we brought back to the room--chips we were supposed to share, by the way. (I am not bitter, no, no ...)
When I post this to Facebook on Saturday, I'm going to tag Mike Pallotta, just in case he needs a good laugh wherever he is now. He would have recognized the Old Fool in Chipotle on Friday night.