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“I’ll try them all,” I said to our server, Marquise, who was a tall, slender African Americal gentleman. Judging by his youthful exuberance and his carefree attitude, I’d guess he was 25. The setting was one in which I had found myself before, inside one of my favorite restaurants, Seasons 52. And if it isn’t already apparent as to what I was intent on trying, I was referring to all of the desserts. “A decadent chocolate brownie with rich chocolate pudding, garnished with a lightly charred marshmallow and topped with a chocolate-dipped cookie and a graham cracker sprinkling,” said Marquise, as he described the S’mores dessert.
The desserts at this restaurant are served in dainty, two-ounce shot glasses, and while they commonly present them to you on a tray featuring ten of their most popular options, I don’t think they intend for you to order all ten. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure Marquise was delighted, as he must’ve recognized his tip was going to be larger than he initially anticipated when I first sat down. “They all look delicious, and I will try them all,” I reiterated. “That’s a great choice, sir'” Marquise replied, “I’ll return in a few moments with your tea.”
Drinking tea often reminds me of some of the most productive times in my life. I drink a cup of tea as part of my morning routine, just before I exercise. I also like to drink tea as I write. I like to think that drinking tea makes me more productive. Although, sometimes I get bothered by the feeling that I am not accomplishing as much as I should in life. I often refer to myself as the laziest, yet the most productive person that I know. Sure, I do some work. Yeah, I’m a good dad. Sometimes I even exercise. Sometimes. But do I really accomplish anything?
I woke up this morning with a feeling of uneasiness. I haven’t written anything of value in a few days, had too many cocktails last night, woke up late, and didn’t exercise this morning. This unproductive pattern has continued for the better part of the morning and into this afternoon. I need to figure out a way out of this rut, so I decided to write about it.
It’s peculiar to me that I can not recall what I ate the evening that I dropped $500 for dinner in Paris, the most romantic city in the world, at the most iconic restaurant in said city, Le Jules Verne. I was in France. It was my first time in Paris. I was perched at this gorgeously set table inside the Eiffel Tower, situated 200 feet above the city, eating French cuisine at a 5-Star restaurant. Yet, I have no idea what I ate that night.
I do remember, however, that delicious meal at Seasons 52. For an appetizer, I had the pesto chicken flatbread, topped with arugula and a balsamic reduction. It was delightful. It wasn’t a special occasion that Tuesday evening at Seasons 52. There were no magnificent views. The service from Marquise, while adequate, wasn’t anything exceptional. But those desserts… wow!
The reason why I remember that meal so vividly is because of that little two-ounce shot glass stuffed with S’mores goodness. A meal is not memorable unless you loved the dessert. I’m not sure why this is true, but it most certainly is. I don’t think I ordered dessert at Le Jules Verne, but if I did, it clearly wasn’t any good. Otherwise, I would have more distinct memories of that meal.
In life, just like in dining out, it comes down to “what have you done for me lately?” I remember the meal with the fabulous dessert because the dessert was fabulous. I get myself in a rut and feel like I never accomplish anything because the last memorable thing I did (drinking, sleeping in, and being lazy) was primarily unproductive.
So, this afternoon, I went for a walk. I made myself a cup of cinnamon tea. And I wrote this essay. And, you know what? I feel moderately productive. I feel like I am pretty good at accomplishing things. The truth is, I don’t always have the solution. But I always try to contextualize the situation and dig deeper. It is important for me to get a better understanding of myself and the world around me. Most importantly, it is important for me to share what I learned with you. Don’t let that hapless dessert ruin your memory of what you have accomplished, which can undoubtedly spoil your intentions of what you aspire to accomplish today. If you can figure that out, I know Marquise would be proud.
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