Sunday, October 7, 2012

I ordered the dandielion greens

I've been hearing about Tanoreen, a wonderful Palestinian restaurant in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, for years and for one reason or another procrastinating going there. Then, last Spring I saw an Amazon Local coupon for $40 towards food and drinks at Tanoreen, and I snatched it up. And then I let it sit in my inbox for 6 months until it was the last weekend before it would expire.

My friends will confirm that I'm not a procrastinator when it comes to work and other obligations.  I'm not even a slip-under-the-deadliner. I'm not a need-to-ask-againer. I'm an ahead planner, early-deadliner, do-the-hard-thing-firster.

And so why do I put off doing the things I want to do? Why do I let Groupons and Groupon-like coupons almost (and sometimes actually) expire? Why did I have to pay to upgrade my hot air balloon Groupon to a permanent reservation so it wouldn't expire when I failed to use it during my Never Done year? Why have I still never been to Block Island? Why haven't I been running since I went back to work? Why did it take me ten years of living in NYC before I planted a garden? Etc.

Of course I'm hoping that this year of selfish enjoyment will kick the shit out of this pattern of mine -- and that I'll act on my desires more quickly and assertively than my track record would indicate I might. And so, as you have guessed, with the Tanoreen coupon expiring Sunday night, I called and made a reservation for Saturday night. I invited some friends I haven't seen in a while, and some friends I spend time with more often. One said yes right away, some said no right away, a couple could come but not til too late in the evening. So in the end, it was me, Josh, and Bobby -- which turned out to be just perfect.

We arrived at the restaurant and were led to a beautiful corner table, and here's where the part comes that I want to write about. There were three of us; I'd never been out to dinner with one of them; and I knew exactly which side dishes I wanted: a sauteed dandelion dish and a roasted cauliflower dish with tahini and pomegranate sauce. I was happy to be flexible about the other dishes, but I knew I wanted these. What I'm proud to say is that I didn't equivocate. I didn't say something like, "What sides would you guys like?" or "I'd like to try these, but if there's something else you'd like, I'm open."

Instead, I just sat down and told them that I was ordering these two dishes for the table. And you know what? It felt great. I didn't really care if they didn't want them -- I could make a meal out of cauliflower and dandelions, and it would have been fine with me if they would have ordered other side dishes. And I didn't really care if I seemed pushy -- I was the one who knew about the restaurant, bought the coupon, and invited them both. But as it turned out, they were both delighted with the choice, and when it arrived, with the exquisite flavors. And as it turned out, although the rest of the food we chose was wonderful -- especially the baby squashes stuffed with lamb and rice -- nothing was as sublime as the cauliflower and dandelions. Except maybe the mint lemonade with rosewater.

This gets me thinking about the differences between being clear and decisive vs being controlling and needy. I wasn't raised to be very good at knowing or stating my needs, and now I'm the kind of person who tends to get awkward and sort of defensive when I try. I'm also the kind of person who equivocates on what is a need. I don't really need that, because I can actually get along without it. I more want it. But it's OK if I don't get what I want because it's important for everyone to get what they want. And still, it's much easier for me to define something I want (cauliflower) rather than something I need (dinner?) I'm getting a little lost in this paragraph, but I know I'm trying to say something about how it's actually good for my friends and family and co-workers -- in addition to it being good for me me -- for me to now myself, know my needs, know what I want, and be able to say it clearly. It appears to have been good for the table at Tanoreen.

1 comment:

  1. Getting what you want is never controlling others unless they can't also have what they want. Isn't that true? I'm trying to think how it wouldn't be true. I can't offhand. Certainly your choice of side dishes for the table was not controlling. And it was delicious! Keep it up, Jenny, I'm loving your year so far. :-)