Spending AN ABSURD AMOUNT ON Dinner (So You Don’t Have To)

I’m fortunate enough to have had extra cash lying around last week. 

When I considered what to spend it on, my brother-in-law had a suggestion. He told my sister the same thing – buy something outrageous. Not just any outrageous thing, however. 

We had to really want it. 

For my sister, it was a Surface Pro. She’s an artist, and this particular item would help her immensely. She would see a difference in quality. 

The reason he suggested this was simple. We needed a taste of what we could have. If we enjoyed a luxurious item or experience, instead of opting for the cheap stuff, we might have more motivation to raise our income permanently. 

As I’ve mentioned before, he’s a business/finance kind of guy. I’m a writer. We rarely see eye to eye. 

So we made a bet. 

After hours and hours of pondering what frivolous thing I might like (believe me, it wasn’t easy – I’m not impressed by “things”), he suggested dinner. 

I raised my eyebrows and laughed, but he meant it. He searched for the fanciest, most expensive place in town, and came up with a riverside bistro. I’d passed it thousands of times, but never thought twice about eating there. 

Admittedly, I started feeling some excitement. He insisted I would feel different, and if I didn’t, then he would completely reimburse me for the meal. 

I booked a reservation, and eagerly awaited my fancy meal. 

Now, I grew up poor. Name brand foods were a luxury – the only one my family could afford when food stamps came in. When I left home and lived on my own, I was able to buy all that for myself regularly. Gradually, I forgot how it felt to be stuck with generic chips or meats. Frankly, it never made a difference to me. 

However, I will admit, there’s some groceries I won’t cheap out on these days because I do notice a difference in quality. 

With that in mind, I started thinking that maybe my brother-in-law was on to something. Maybe this would motivate me to keep working, and work even harder to achieve my goals. Forging a successful writing career for myself won’t be easy, but if this adds more fuel to my fire, then so be it. 

I’ll tell you now: nothing changed. 

Maybe you might feel a difference when you make your ridiculous purchase, or treat yourself to a high class dinner… but if you don’t, then don’t worry about it. Cut your losses. 

Never again will I let someone else tell me what I might like. I know myself, and I am still unimpressed by things – and technically, this dinner was a thing. 

I planned ahead, as I normally do. 

I looked at the menu and decided on an appetizer, main course, and dessert (it was an incredibly small menu, even before Covid). 

My first mistake was asking if I could sit on the patio. I’d requested a view of the river, without realizing that there was indoor seating. Originally, my table was supposed to be inside. The hostess was incredibly sweet though, and offered me one right above the water. She said the reservation for the table wouldn’t be in for another hour and a half, to which I thought: perfect, I’ll be done by then! 

Somehow, I forgot I live in Texas. 

There were tiny flies from the water buzzing around – two of which landed in my water, and my dessert. I can’t blame anyone but myself for this, seeing as I asked to sit outside. 

It still REALLY harshed the vibes. 

As for the service, I hate critiquing anything, because I worked in customer service before and it is TRASH. The hostess also became my waitress, so I assumed they were understaffed. It was no skin off my nose; I tried to make everything run smoothly because I’ve been in her shoes. I didn’t want to bother her too much. She was as attentive as she could be, and she was more than gracious when replacing the fly-food. 

I just couldn’t help but notice that other servers came in, and served the tables around me much faster. I reasoned that the restaurant probably had some rule about switching off serving. Since she already started with me, she couldn’t just hand me off to someone else. 

Due to this, though, I ended up waiting about an hour for the main course. At that point, I worried I would run over my time at the table. I ate quickly and quietly, suddenly wanting to leave and not cause trouble. 

Of course, I did savor the meal. The food was incredible, if not stuff I could make at home. 

I ended up ordering a bottle of chardonnay, mozzarella burrata, salmon with sun dried tomato orzo, and crème brûlée. While I hate tomatoes (don’t fight me on this; they’re disgusting), I didn’t mind them in both my appetizer and main course. Plus, the presentation was stunning. 

Mozzarella burrata
Crusted salmon with asparagus and sun dried tomato orzo
Crème brûlée

I wasn’t crazy about the wine, but I blamed myself for that one as well. I should’ve just asked for their sweetest option instead of stabbing in the dark. 

By the end of the meal, I was glad to go home. 

I enjoyed the experience, but not enough to try again. If I ever thought to, I would go out of town to someplace with more variety. Maybe try an “osso buco,” whatever that is. 

I guess the point of this story is to tell you that nobody else can decide what you like. If you wanna try to experience something you consider “upper class,” to motivate you in trying to get there, it has to be something you really want. You actually do just have to treat yourself, with no input from anyone else. I’m sure I’ll find that special, wild purchase. 

But right now, I think I have all the motivation I need to pursue my writing career. 

And my brother-in-law owes me money, so that’s always nice. 

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