— Zac Chase (@MrChase) January 2, 2016
I am by no means a good cook. I mean, I can make some decent french toast or fry an egg if need be, but I do not, even in the best circumstances, qualify as competent in the kitchen. Mostly, this is a result in a lack of interest and the incredible abundance for takeout and fast food in the general vicinity.
It is the latter reason, however, that my answer to this question hinges upon.
You see, as I am the one who picks up the vast majority of takeout for myself and our family, I happen to also be the one in charge of ensuring that we receive the correct items that we order and subsequently pay for in any given transaction. Although I am in charge of this ritual, I wouldn’t say I learn very well from the habitual nature of it.
Often, I forget to check the bag(s) for accuracy. Often, I will arrive home only to realize that a key component of our meal has not made it and I am forced to go back and rectify the error. “Check the bag” is something I have learned and relearned dozens of times at this point. And yet, whenever it comes time to trust someone at the restaurant to do their job, I look into their eyes and I become distracted by the little compact we have just made: I give you money; you give me the exact food I requested from your menu.
This doesn’t generally work out so well for me. Continually, my trust is ill-placed. Continually, I am disappointed to find missing items or incorrectly heard orders. And so I keep on learning to check the bag. In fact, I congratulate myself whenever I successfully catch an error as I am sitting in my car in the parking lot, rummaging through the various foodstuffs.
But, a little part of me is sad when this happens too. It means a little less of my words were heard, and a little less of the things that mattered to my family were taken into consideration. So, sometimes I will tempt fate on purpose. Sometimes I will remember to check the bag and stop short just because I want the universe to have done me a solid. I want to arrive home triumphant and righteous in trusting the restaurant employee.
It is a small thing, sure. But, maybe I keep learning this lesson because I want to unlearn it eventually. I want the rules of call and response to be followed. I want to receive what I ask for. I want it to be a fair trade and for neither to take advantage of the other.
And so I struggle with anyone who hands me “the bag.”
Will I trust you and learn one lesson, or will I check the bag and relearn another?