Monday, March 31, 2008

Atmospheric Pressure

As I recently made some crucial budgeting decisions, including how to go from roommate to living alone and how to pay for that new car I finally don't have to worry about a rear-view mirror falling off of, I decided going out to eat was one area I could easily cut back on.

The one small thing I forgot when making that decision was the fact that I approach meals, not just special meals, but any meal involving a decision-making element as one that has significant impact on my life and could make or break my week. I attribute much of that philosophy to a mindset perpetuated by a city that, at times, offers very little in the way of free entertainment outside of the jittery coke fiend @ the 35 & Commerce exit. And to be honest, his girations are so entertaining, I usually leave a tip - so that isn't really free either. Sadly, though, when someone asks me what there is to do in Dallas, the first three things that come to my mind are, and in this order, 1) Drink, 2) Eat & 3) Shop, and if you are really going out on a limb, you will do all three at the same time. That's what Kona's regular & reverse happy hours are for.

It's a sad truth that is guised by many who would argue Katy Trail's glory, to which I would respond, I could lay a 17-mile slab of concrete in just about any random place in the US, and it would likely be prettier than our beloved trail. I'm talking blindfolded, spun around, and pushpinning any random-ass place on a map. Seriously.

We all know it's true. I can see it in the eyes of every disappointed newcomer trying to imagine they are in any other city than Dallas while running on the Trail. That cost of living index doesn't seem so appealing now, does it?

But, it's all we have. That and bright white concrete. And I can't complain too much, because it's also the reason my love of food hasn't translated into a bigger jean-size over the years. But back to the real problem, here.

Food, as I said, I love. A good cocktail, I adore. But atmosphere? Atmosphere is always the catalyst for a mulligan on any of the prior two elements, and can magically convince me that the meal really didn't taste like dirt, or that my drink really wasn't the worst I have tasted in 2008. And as my bank account let me know today as I sheepishly checked the damage I did this weekend, I love atmosphere way, way too much. It also reminded me that I'm quite an idiot. I need a new pair of low-heeled, dark-brown pumps for work thanks to my innate ability to ruin pointy-toed shoes as quickly as Oak Lawn ruins my good mood in the mornings. They cost a mere $80. I haven't bought them yet. Why? Because that's a lot for boring work-shoes that I will probably wear so much I pay about 50 cents per use, when instead, I could spend that kind of cash on my next trip to the restroom. It's crass, I know. But true.

So many in this town are just as stupid as I am - and we are all, like it or not, taking the most expensive proverbial "dumps" every day all for the love atmosphere. We don't have it outdoors, so we cling to the havens commercially crafted for us indoors where we consume, and as you can see below, go broke in the process.

Thursday Night: Half-Shells - $46.00
Friday Night: Bellinis - $56.06
Saturday: Taverna (Brunch) - $34.00
Saturday Night: MiCo - $80.00
Sunday Night: The Porch - $109.00

Looks like I bought almost four pairs of edible shoes this weekend. And if that is sadly par for my course, then I need to find a new course to play on, because as I was recently informed today while paying my April rent, my landlord doesn't accept 'atmosphere' as a form of payment.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

I moved here a few months ago from a place bursting with natural beauty but having a much more limited availability of "atmosphere," as you call it. Experiencing the inverse in Dallas has been interesting. Sometimes I think what I'm really waiting for Dallas to show me is its soul. As fantastic as this city's restaurants are, it's never going to be found there... it's in the cracks in between everything else. I've spotted glimpses here and there, and it's always somewhere free or cheap: the Obama rally at Reunion Arena, the Smiths exhibit at the DMA, and the farmer's market. But I keep hoping more is out there.