One of the things I always look forward to over winter break is going downtown and eating at restaurants normally overrun by students. It’s not that I don’t love the UGA students—I mean, what’s not to love about all those kids in tank tops and UGGs who whine at my husband about their grades?—it’s just that I like being able to go out for a meal and find a parking space, and also not be packed into the restaurant like sardines.
FURTHERMORE, my favorite pizza chain in the entire world, Mellow Mushroom, now offers a decent gluten-free crust. The evening plan was clear: Pizza ahoy!
Otto patiently waited for me to finish working, and then we headed out for our fancy evening. Well, okay, not FANCY, but I do get pretty excited about pizza, I’m not gonna lie. I’d have to be pretty stoked about it to abandon our favorite dinner mode when the kids are gone, which is sitting on the couch, eating while watching television, like heathens.
So, we drove downtown. I’d had a long day. I was REALLY looking forward to pizza. You know where this is going, right?
We were seated and immediately began negotiations. Otto is willing to eat the gluten-free crust with me even though their REGULAR crust is far superior, but he’s picky about the things he’s willing to eat ON the pizza. I ASK YOU, what sort of person thinks that portabello mushrooms and artichoke hearts are scary? The sort of person I’m married to, apparently. Hmph.
So then Otto tried to convince me that we could just get two separate pizzas—I could have whatever I wanted on mine!—and we could take the leftovers home. But that just seemed like a lot of food, so no, let’s just pick something we both like, I said. Finally we had settled on a barbecue chicken pizza they make that has bacon on it. Because: bacon! Obviously.
The waitress came to the table and we ordered salads, then told her which pizza we wanted. “… on the gluten-free crust,” Otto finished.
“Oh,” she said. “We’re out of that.”
“Out of… pizza?” Otto asked.
“No, the gluten-free crust. We’re out.”
Otto and I blinked at each other. Otto told the waitress we were going to need another minute. She went away and Otto offered to take me somewhere else. I demurred, saying it was silly to leave, and I could just have a salad. But I was… well… I did not handle this news particularly well.
The thing about whatever it is I’m currently going through is that most of the time, I’m fine. I go places, I do things, I’m happy and/or pleasant, no real complaints. Let’s say that’s… I dunno, maybe 80% of the time. The problem is that the remaining 20% of the time is mostly composed of situations where I completely lose my crap over ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Or, say, over the Mellow Mushroom being out of gluten-free crust.
So, not being able to have pizza is hardly a national emergency. But for whatever reason, I was looking forward to it, and my level of disappointment was high. You might even say it was disproportionate to the situation at hand. And the bitch of it is that even in the moment I know I’m being completely ridiculous, being so upset about it, and yet I feel all HULK ANGRY! HULK SMASH! over the unexpected change in plans.
But I, you know, try not to outwardly have a tantrum in a crowded restaurant.
So Otto said we could go someplace else and I said no, no, don’t be silly, let’s just stay. It’s fine. I tried to stay calm and I looked at the menu some more, and Otto kept saying things like “We could go to this other place” or “How about we drive cross-town to that place you like” and finally I snapped at him to OH MY FUCKING GOD JUST PICK SOMETHING and he looked a little wounded because he may not have gotten the memo that I had apparently decided that all of the woes of the world could be blamed on them being out of gluten-free crust.
Finally, we decided to just stay. The waitress came back and I ordered a salad and Otto ordered a calzone with steak and some other stuff in it and the waitress nodded and took our menus and left.
We sipped our water in silence while I tried to fill the pizza-shaped hole in my soul with happy thoughts of pretty flowers and dancing puppies. And not having to do the dishes.
The waitress came back and turned to Otto: “I’m so sorry, but, um, all of our steak is frozen right now? So it’s going to take a really long time to make your calzone if you still want that.”
We left. I was relieved that they were out of what Otto wanted, too; for whatever reason—in the grips of my ridiculous overreaction—I felt like I couldn’t leave just because they didn’t have what I wanted, but if they were out of what we BOTH wanted, well then, that was okay.
We went for Mexican, instead, and that restaurant smelled good and had everything we ordered and it’s hard to be pissed off when you have a basket of warm tortilla chips and three kinds of salsa. Ever so slowly, I unwound, and it turned out to be a nice evening.
All the same, I think we’ll eat at home tonight.
Tortilla chips and salsa and enchiladas don’t even need bacon to be super-yummy. Hope you get some pizza soon!
Same exact situation here in the Midwest. Wanted to take my out-of-town vegetarian relatives to the best Thai restaurant IN THE WORLD only to find out they were inexplicably closed for the evening. I was completely, irrationally disappointed not to be diving into moneybags and pad thai. I feel your gluten-free crust pain.
It is NOT too much to ask to just have your pizza when you want your pizza. It was completely reasonable of you to be upset.
I hope you get to have pizza soon. Yay for warm tortilla chips.
I am not sure I could have contained the tantrum if that were me. When I get fixated on an idea, gosh darn it, that idea had better pan out!!! Glad you were able to salvage the evening!
MELLOW mushroom? they keep using that word. i do not think it means what they think it means.
See, this sort of thing here is why I say that people who wish they could be kids again don’t really remember what it was like. You’re a grown-up, so you have the skills to *not* throw a tantrum and scrape victory from the jaws of defeat via Mexican food. What are the odds that would have ended as well if you were, say, 10? Not so good I’m thinking.
As we finally have Mellow Mushroom up here (loved to eat there when other half was in law school @UGA) – I understand the issue. excellent calzones gluten free or not. So sorry. Mexican is definitely a great substitute. However, I wonder if they forget other people besides students and alumni like to eat especially when the students are gone.
Dude, I *so* totally get this post. I think it has something to do with low blood sugar. When you’re hungry, it becomes a lot harder to deal with anything. Then it is amplified when the something you are dealing with has to do with the food you were going to eat to fix being hungry.
I woulda just eaten the normal crust pizza, because I am stupid. And stubborn. And once my mouth knows what we’re having it does NOT change its mind.
I have gone without because of this little ‘quirk’…
You’ve been to BeauJo’s out here in Colorado, right? RIGHT?
It seems to me that the Mellow Mushroom is quite the misnomer if it causes such aggravation for its customers.
Did you have to mention pizza on the day I decided to count calories?? Love Mellow, but ours downtown definitely has on-going competency issues.
There would be nothing more exciting here for me if a pizza place had gluten free crust. And then if they didn’t just for that one time I went there? I’d be in the same place you were! I hope you had a great time out, anyway.
I have definitely cried in a restaurant because they didn’t have the thing I ordered – being gluten-free limits your options so much. I concur on the low blood-sugar = harder to handle disappointment!
I think the “Mellow” in “Mellow Mushroom” refers to the, um… state of mind, shall we say?…. of the employees. Because at the MM up here, you’d better have planned for the experience to take HOURS and for anything outside of one person simply ordering a slice of cheese pizza and a Bud Light and paying for it with cash to require numerous explanations, negotiations, consultations, ruminations, and, most likely, in the end, crippling disappointment. Because, like — just chill out, man. It’s pizza. Maybe. Eventually.
No, I’m not 80. Or bitter.
All hail, chips and salsa.
There is a fight that lives in infamy at my house. It was 15 years ago and it was over cheese. I should just end the comment there because I think you already understand that you have my 100% understanding in your pizza mourning. But you should know that mine was somewhat more justified as it pertained to pasta, not pizza.
So, I live in D.C., nowhere near Mellow Mushroom, but had clicked on their website and thought it looked amazingly yummy, and was planning a road trip in my head (no, I had not had lunch yet at that point). Then I read the rest of your post. Gluten-free crust is not something you run out of. If it’s on the menu you must have it at all times, because customers who order that are not ordering it for “something different” or for fad-diet purposes. I don’t suppose there was a suggestion box?
I totally hear you on this. TOTALLY.
You can probably imagine the depths of my despair when I found out that IHOP stopped serving their potato pancakes. FOREVER.
So now the only way I can get potato pancakes is to make them myself. Which requires planning and destroys my kitchen.
Oh, I totally would have lost my stuff over that. The last time I did this in public was when the Star Trek movie came out last year, and I was *so* looking forward to seeing it (enormous geek? yes I am) and we had gone to the expense of getting a babysitter and for once no one got sick the night we were going to go … and we showed up at the theater and the movie listing was wrong and we were twenty minutes too late. I didn’t actually throw myself to the ground and kick my feet and wail, but it was a close thing, and I did sniffle conspicuously.
Oh my goodness! Reading your blog I was totally in it with you! I have been there and had the same reaction! I don’t even have half the issues going on that you do right now … but there’s just something about the holidays that makes me all crazy and emotional. I just watched a kids’ movie and bawled through half of it!
Oh girl … you do my heart good! Hang in there! Your sense of humor is helping you SO much right now! It’s helping me, too!!
I have been there so many times and have had the same reaction because it sucks! And yet you feel like you are over reacting because it’s just pizza or whatever. But it’s not an over reaction. It’s total human disappointment over being reminded, yet again, that you can’t eat what everyone else can. I’m glad you left and ate somewhere else.
Nothing says YUM and RELAX like a really good salted marguerita (frozen, please) with a cheese enchilada and a big bowl of fresh guacamole.
And, um…Mir… I couldn’t help but notice, when you described your melt down over something that wasn’t really that big a deal and realizing you were losing your crap over something that wasn’t really anything big-dealish at all…it sounds a bit like what you describe in Monkey’s behavior on occasion. SO. It happens to everyone. Know what I’m sayin?
Oh god Mir I totally understand your disappointment about the pizza. I am actually having a shitting time at the moment with life and threw a smallish tantrum because we “only” had 4 veg with our Christmas dinner. It was like the straw that broke the camels back, I got upset, my poor husband got the brunt of it. Best wishes dear x
If it makes you feel any better, I have that exact same reaction to unexpected, um, bumps, when I’m overstressed. So I think your reaction is totally reasonable, if by “reasonable” you mean “totally what I would have done and oh man do I feel your pain.”
I’m glad that Mexican worked out for you and I, too, hope you get your pizza soon. Also, now I want pizza.
Hugs sweetie, this time of year can do it you! I’ve freaked over small things, but you know what, they were important to me at the time. Just like your pizza was to you.
Glad you finished off the night nicely though! Enjoy the rest of dinners at home ;-)
I visit Athens often to see the bf and our plans revolve around a) whether UGA is in session and b) whether there’s a home football game. If b) is yes, then woe betide anyone who tries to make it to downtown Athens; a) is usually an ok situation and we just try to bypass the crowds. But if both a) and b) are negative then I admit doing a happy dance when we find easy parking and a short wait for tables.
I’m sorry about your Mellow Mushroom experience! Downtown Mellow Mushroom is my favorite place to go, but I fortunately don’t have any gluten intolerance issues :).
I’m afraid that’s a lot what my holiday weekend looked like, except my meltdown went all the way to 11. My family will…probably…..forgive me…eventually? Oy.
Karen: I had the exact same thought as I was reading this post. Not about the margarita but about Mir’s meltdown sounding like something she would write about Monkey doing. It defintely happens to everyone!
I’m not going though whatever you are going through and I would have had to muster up all of my strength to not fall apart in that situation.
Mexican food can solve all the problems in the world, though. :)
I totally understand what you were thinking.
I will read through the comments later (when I’m not trying to get to bed at a reasonable time. Ahem, 1:30 AM is totally reasonable when I’ve been not falling asleep till 3 or 4 in the morning.)
I just wanted to say, I totally get it. It’s not about the pizza crust, it’s just that with everything else you have going on you’re already topped off emotionally. You’re holding it together, but the pizza crust is the last drop to push you onto overflow. And when it does, it doesn’t just overflow the couple extra drops, it takes more with it. It feels ridiculous while it’s happening, almost an out of body experience thing, where you can see yourself losing it, but can’t really stop yourself. But you need to let some of it go or you’ll explode.
Deep cleansing breaths is all I’m saying. And chocolate, and maybe some wine. Maybe tomorrow you could make gluten- free dough & have personal pizzas at home. And be all slothful in front of the TV in your snuggies and all. (I hear it’s cold & snowy where you’re at now.)
I had dinner with a colleague in Norway at a hamburger place that had . . . run out of meat. True story.
Now I want frozen margaritas and Mexican food.
I agree with those who say it’s low blood sugar (one is practically emotionally DEFENCELESS when hongreee) and “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” I actually cried at a restaurant once when I thought I’d try the ever-appealing-sounding steak and eggs. The steak was practically raw, which grosses me out. I sent it back (which, with my issues about talking to strangers and being afraid of confrontations, I NEVER do), and it still came back raw. And I was completely starved, but at that point, felt too sick to my stomach to deal with any more.
So just saying (and from reading the other comments), if you HAD lost it, you wouldn’t be alone!
“The Mellow Mushroom” totally sounds like a place where you should be able to get not only a gluten-free crust any time you want it, but cannabis as a pizza topping, too! (Not that you’d want that. Or that I’d want that! It’s just a groovy name, is all I’m sayin’.)
I think you should try again! You deserve a delicious gluten-free pie from a place with a hippy name! (Maybe call ahead first.)
You know…. that sort of out control angry hulk-smashing emotion sounds just like I went through when I started having thryoid problems. It seemed to come in waves and made PMS MUCH MUCH OMG a gazillion times worse. It might be worth the trouble to get that checked out.
I’m sorry the Mellow mushroom wasn’t the mellow evening you planned. That sucked. But I’m glad you were able to salvage it by diving into the salsa :)
Oh, Mir, I so very feel you on so much of this. I have recently found myself dealing with Moodswings Of Inappropriate Response, myself.
To put into perspective how amazingly lovely my partner is, I was a smoker for 23 years. I [finally] quit, cold-turkey, last January. This made me SUPER FUN to be around – as you know smokers often are when they are quitting, no? I mean, an addict in the throes of detox is ALWAYS the best thing ever. By which, of course, his continued presence confirmed that he was, is, and shall ever be, the man for me – ‘cos he a) stuck around and b) didn’t kill me dead.
My adorable and super-incredible manflesh, who dealt with me quitting smoking after 23 years, preferred the ravening insanity of that to the moodswings I have found myself having these last two months.
Which is a very long-winded way of saying “I feel your pain.”
Sadly, I know exactly how you feel. Watched 2 kids for a single dad yesterday that needed the help and by the end of the evening I was nearly to the point of duct taping my own mouth shut so that I would not scream at them.
Also, I love MM and haven’t eaten there since I moved from AL to TN. There’s gotta be one around here somewhere…
I do the same thing when I’m overthinking other things and something small goes wrong. My husband looks very concerned when I do this, as though I’m losing my mind. He finds it very odd that I deal so. very. well with HUGE, GIGANTIC, HULKING problems Got into an accident and lost your arm? Lah di dah, we’re fine! Life will go on! Here, let me carry that for you! But … let’s say that within a few days of a loved one losing their arm that someone gets my order wrong — I said NO ONIONS!! — I just feel this huge wave of anger and frustration building up. I do not say anything to the server or anyone else, if they are with us, but the moment my husband tries to make it better, I play martyr and snap at him. Yeah, let’s say that I exasperate my husband sometimes. I am the glue that holds my family or friends together when big events transpire, but the second something small happens to me around that time frame? Look out, people I love.
*sighs* Now that I write all that, maybe I am losing my mind.
Have you tried the gluten free pizza crust at Your Pie? If not, DO IT. I’ve found the folks at the Beechwood location are the best at making sure every part of your GF order is protected from cross contamination. :)
One time, during a very stressful period at work, I came home to my husband who had lovingly cooked me dinner. Not only did he cook dinner… he had actually caught it, as well, fishing earlier in the day. I’m not a big fan of fish, and am actually pretty particular about how it’s prepared (no bones, skin, etc.), but did not want to damper his obvious pride and enthusiasm about the whole production. So I opened the foil packet on the counter to taste the fish… and came face to face with the unexpected vision of two whole rockfish, cooked with skin, eyes, and all. I completely lost it, collapsed on the floor, and started kind of cry-wailing, “they have eyes! they have eyes!”
Yeah, I know what you mean about a disproportionate reaction to a minor situation. I really just wanted lasagna!
Our Mellow Mushroom, emphasis on mellllooooooowwwww, undercooked our pizzas one time when we had ordered them for pick up. We live about 30 minutes away so I was not driving back but I did complain and they generously gave us a gift certificate for a future meal…which I really appreciated but we live in the sticks and here we are with under(un)coooked pizzas and an ancient oven not up to the job of baking pizzas…sad panda.