January 1, I wake up late after a night of fairly restrained revelry with the usual suspects. It’s a gorgeous day, although pretty cold, of course. I hang out in bed for a while, looking out the window and thinking about what to do with the new day and the new year.
Suddenly it hits me. “I’m going to start this year off with bacon. Oh, hell yes.”
One shower and several layers of clothing later, I set off. First thought: The Diner on 18th St. (Note: it’s not that The Diner’s food is that good; I just happen to know they make a perfectly adequate bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwich.) For some reason, I thought that everyone else in DC would still be wrestling with hangovers and I would have no trouble getting a bar seat. Well, they were certainly dealing with hangovers, but they were doing it in public, and mostly at The Diner. The crowd around the door was at least three deep—way more crowded than on a usual Saturday or Sunday.
Hmph. Plan B.
Down the hill to Jolt ’n’ Bolt. Their coffee is always way too hot (how do they do that? Do they brew it in molten rock at the earth’s core?), but their bacon-egg-and-cheese on an everything bagel has never disappointed me. I walk into the tiny place, and… it’s packed. Clearly I’m a moron for thinking I’m the only one who needs bacon this fine January morning.
Okay, fine. I’ll go to my local corner coffee shop, even though they overcook their bacon and never put enough cheese on my sandwich. But they’re super friendly, and I support my neighborhood businesses as much as possible, so back up the hill I go. I walk up to the counter and look behind the lovely Latina proprietress to the bagel rack. Wuh-oh.
“Do you have any bagels left?”
“No”—and here she shakes her head ruefully, sensing my disappointment—“No more bagels this morning.”
Okay, this year is not starting off as well as I had hoped.
(Now I know some of you are thinking at this point, “Girl, just go to the store, get some eggs and bacon, and make your own damn sandwich!” Well, that would certainly be one solution, but a) I don’t really cook, and b) the whole point was to have someone make something yummy with bacon in it for me. So shut up.)
Well, now what? I’ve been walking around for an hour and a half, and I’m starving, and I’m still determined to get me some bacon.
Then—it comes. Inspiration comes like a bright light from heaven above, like God in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Ooohhh, Five Guys.
And I’m off to Columbia Heights with renewed vigor! I get into the red-and-white tiled place, and it’s not very crowded. Good sign… I go to the counter and give my order—little bacon cheeseburger with lettuce, ketchup, and mustard, and small fries (which is still like eight potatoes’ worth). I pay the guy, get my number, go fill my soda, and find a seat by the window to read The Princess Bride and wait.
“251!” Woo, my number! My bacon, finally!
I take the bag from the guy and go back to my seat. Pull my foil-wrapped burger out of the mass of fries that surround it like bamboo. Nom a few fries. Think to myself, “Wow, this is a big burger! Did they give me a double by mistake?” Open the foil.
Oh, man, who did I piss off?
I take not-my burger back to the counter. “This isn’t my burger.”
“No, I ordered a little bacon cheeseburger with ketchup and mustard, and this has mayonnaise, which is vile, but more importantly, it does not have bacon.”
“I’m so sorry, I’ll make you a new one right away.”
Good heavens. Okay, so back to my window, my book, and my 29 pounds of fries. A few minutes go by and I’m startled by a voice at my ear. “Here’s your burger, ma’am. So sorry for the mix-up.” I assure him that’s no problem, and he hands me my sandwich.
I open it.
It’s my burger. It’s my bacon.
I happily tuck in, thinking this day might turn out okay after all.
I’m about 3/4 through my happy lunch, and there’s another voice at my ear. (What up, Five Guys guys, why you gotta sneak up on a person like that?)
“We messed up your burger, right?”
“Yeah, but it’s okay, I’ve got the right one now, thanks.”
“Here’s your money back.” And he hands me my $4.57. I stare at him for a sec and then say, “No, it’s okay, I got my burger, so we’re all good now.”
He says, “It’s Five Guys policy that if we screw up your order, it’s free.”
After all of that, after all of the walking around and the disappointments and the lack of bagels and the wrong burger, I finally got my New Year’s bacon.
That’s a way to start the new year off right.