It was like any ordinary Friday night when I went into the dumpling place near my apartment to place an order. The woman at the counter asked me if I wanted it to stay or go and I said, “to go.”
As soon as the words were out of my mouth I knew I had made a horrible mistake.
Suddenly, I realized I was starving for those dumplings. There was no way I was gonna make it the six block walk home. But I had already committed to going. How could I ever turn back?
After the woman carefully packed my order into a brown bag and then plastic bag with plastic cutlery instead of the silverware stationed a few feet from me, I sheepishly took the package over to a table and sat down. I just never knew my feelings could change on a dime like that and honestly, it scared me.
I tried not to make eye contact as I furiously shoved dumplings into my mouth and pushed the wasted bags to the side of the table. I thought about saving a couple of dumplings for the walk home in an attempt to make this whole ordeal seem intentional, but I couldn’t resist them. All I felt was shame and regret. I kept on eating. My meal was entirely “to stay,” no matter how much I wanted to deny it.
I placed all my non eco-friendly packaging in the waste bin, trying to make as little noise as possible and walked out, trying to ignore their disgust. I could feel their eyes burning into me, wondering why I didn’t just say, “to stay.”
I’ll never be able to take back what I did. I don’t know if I’ll set foot in that restaurant again, at least not for another week. Next time I’m asked that simple question, I’ll check in with myself, take a deep breath, and make a more conscious decision about whether to stay or go.
Because honestly, it’s probably easier to just stay.