Lessons in a Ramen Shop


I’m back, friends.

I’ve been away because my brain was getting crowded and the world was slowly crumbling.  But I realized that my brain is always crowded and the world is steadily crumbling, so I might as well start writing about it again. But I’m not going to write about that now. I’m starting light. I’m going to tell you about my extra exciting ramen eating experience last week.

Dave and I stopped at a new restaurant to enjoy some soup, because we just really like to live adventurously. We’re wild like that. I later found out that plenty of people have been to this particular shop and it’s super popular. We didn’t know that though because we’re too busy being free-spirited and living in the moment to ask our friends for restaurant recommendations or check yelp reviews. The validity of our wild ways was affirmed that evening because the ramen was delicious. I’d like to say that it’s encouraged me to continue this life of spontaneity, but I know myself, so I’m not gonna push it. Even then, I made sure to check the menu before walking into the building. Baby steps.

Anyway, that’s not the point of this story.

That evening, we sat at the bar where the chefs make the ramen. Here are some great things I learned from that experience. First, the bigger your vat of broth, the bigger your broth-scooper needs to be. If you have a vat the size of a tiny human, you need a ladle the size of a tiny human head. Second, in a battle between maintaining your hairstyle and enjoying your soup, choose the soup. Third, always order the extra seaweed.

That is also not the point of this story.

While we were sitting at the bar, two young women came to sit next to us. The other patrons were regular ramen enjoyers, mostly people at the end of a work day trying to grab a bite before heading home. Not these ladies. They were there on a mission. They were going to try a novel meal and grow their Instagram followers. They sat down, talking loudly about some serious social media drama. They both had their phones gripped and flashed their screens back and forth to one another. It got intense. I think. I was distracted by their layers of chic, trendy winter gear. I was also distracted by the way every other person at the table started to listen to them. The girls weren’t distracted by the attention. They were interested only in the attention of their internet tribe.

They settled in at the bar. They looked at the menus. They looked at their phones. They looked at the drink menus. They looked at their phones. The waitress stopped to ask them what they wanted. They didn’t look at her. They ordered their meals in phrases that sounded like questions and then they looked at their phones again. The bowls came and they immediately got overwhelmed. They took a few pictures. With their phones. Duh. They stared at the broth, piled high with vegetables and noodles. They weren’t sure how they were going to eat all those noodles. They made certain the other one knew there was just no way they’d be able to eat all those noodles. Seriously, no way. (I’ve never had that problem in my life. Here’s the solution to not being able to finish your noodles: wait fifteen minutes and then try again.) They got confused about the broth-noodle combo and looked around for appropriate cutlery. One of them asked for a fork. The other checked her phone.

All the while, the people around us were clearly rapt. Everyone was a little quieter—half their attention drawn away from their meals toward these Instagram-loving girls. Unfortunately, the girls didn’t notice. They didn’t care about anything going on around them. As I listened to them yammer on and on, I thought if we could just direct that self-assured boldness toward something more important, girls like this could take over the world. They kind of have already. If the world had just done a better job of telling these girls what to value, maybe they would have used their unbridled confidence to cure cancer or solve world hunger.

Or maybe they do. I don’t know. They’re probably brain surgeons.

Anyway, this was supposed to be light. Remember when I told you to always order the extra seaweed. I changed my mind. That’s the point of this story.

2 thoughts on “Lessons in a Ramen Shop

  1. Love. Also can you make the, you’re not here to be pretty mug/bag/etc in your handwriting with a drawing? Figured it can’t hurt to ask 🙂

    1. You are so kind! I’m planning on a doing a new run-through at the shop this month, so I will put it on the list. Being able to fulfill personal requests is one of the many perks of having only seven followers.

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