I can imagine that someday I could be that ugly American gnawing on a Big Mac underneath the Eiffel Tower. It's not that I mine these experiences exactly, but I do have this vital need to seek comfort wherever I can. We might have a long discussion now about how it is that I come to find comfort in the epicurean delights found at McDonald's, but let us for now take it as a given that once upon a time I was referred to by my family as "The Burger King."
I am sure that when my wife married me she imagined something different for our Friday night dates. The fact that I continue to wheel back around at the end of each week with a need for a cheeseburger is perhaps not the most romantic of impulses, but it serves as a regulator for me. After a tough week at work, I do not find myself at the neighborhood tavern, sloshing down cocktails with my fellow minions. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that impulse. I just don't happen to be very good at it. With alcohol, I never really knew what my limit was. That's a little easier with cheeseburgers. I know that limit. And my wife tags along, without reminding me of just how horrible cheeseburgers are for our planet. She lets me be me.
This might have always been the case. I know that there were different expectations for our gastronomic experience than a series of burger joints in my wife's future. We live in the Bay Area, and you can't sneeze without knocking over some amusing ethnic eatery. Or even if there was one of those artisan type creations with ground elk and arugula and designer condiments, it would somehow up my game a little. But it's kind of a failing of mine that I don't tend to go for the finer things. I like Hershey's chocolate. I like Lay's potato chips. All that artisan is wasted on me.
Because I really like the comforts of home. That's where my heart is. And the trips that I took with my family to Mexico back in the olden days were saddled with the pain that I carried with me for not being able to find a proper hamburger, especially since our itinerary did not include fast food. Not that there was a lot of fast food to be found in Mexico during the seventies. My tastes have evolved since, and I know a good meal from one that is purely for maintenance. The fact that I have turned that maintenance meal into a ritual continues to amuse my wife. And she allows it. Even encourages it.
Which is why I can imagine that Big Mac at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower.