Endless ribs

For those of you who don’t pay attention to my Twitter, or who may be coming across this post in the distant future when my Twitter will obviously either say something else or no longer exist, I went to Tony Roma’s for dinner tonight.

I did not know it was Endless Ribs night.

I happened to be coming out of the Payless next door when the devastatingly delicious scent of ribs wafted over to me. I had been looking for some workout sneakers, but no luck. My plan had been to get shoes, go home, and go straight to bed, then get up in the morning and either bike or go to the gym.

The ribs smelled so good…but I had planned not to eat again today, so I wrenched myself away from the siren song and got into my car, thinking I’d head to Sears in the mall.

I happened to notice Sports Unlimited on my right almost immediately, and changed my mind. This would be faster, and I could get home and go to bed.

They had plenty of shoes, but the ones I wanted didn’t seem to come in the right size, and I couldn’t find a salesperson to save my life. Never around when you actually want them, are they? ;P So I left and got in my car again…and my mind immediately turned towards ribs. I was in a sour mood because I was hungry, I reasoned. I’d be able to find shoes on a full stomach. And, well, ribs.

That did it. I turned around.

I had ordered a sweet tea and was poring over the menu when my server, Theresa, said, “You know it’s Endless Ribs tonight, right?”

No. I had come here specifically for ribs. Maybe a half rack. Maybe with some coconut shrimp. Not endless.

It was like they knew I was coming, and hauled out their most devastating attack.

“Baby back or St. Louis, if you buy a full rack you can have as many ribs as you can eat for the same price.”

Oh dear.

I pretended to ponder some more while Theresa looked after other tables. But I knew I had already decided. I was going to eat a zillion ribs, and then blog about my conquest. Oh yes. It would be glorious.

I foolishly ate most of the crusty bread and garlic butter that came out before the meal, and then I ate a few bites of baked beans–delicious–and loaded mashed potatoes before finally tearing into the baby backs.

Oh my word they were good. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me it only took me five minutes to eat that rack of ribs. I downed them like they were my only hope of ever living in Japan ;)

Then I nibbled at the rest of the food on my plate and took long draughts of tea, waiting for Theresa to come back so I could order more ribs. I can do this, I thought. If I eat a half rack, that’s getting 50% more food for free. I doubt I can do another whole one, but it’s something to shoot for.

But I was already starting to feel a little full, and by the time I had ordered the next rack I was wondering if I was going to be able to eat any of them.

When they came, they looked huge. I don’t know if I just had smaller ribs before or if she accidentally brought me St. Louis ribs the second time. I have no idea what St. Louis ribs are, so there’s no way for me to know.

I had to use my knife to saw off the ribs, too, which furthers my belief that they were the wrong kind.

Anyway, I nibbled the meat off two ribs and was working on a third when I realized that if I ate any more, I was probably going to throw up.

So I stopped.

I sat there for a long time, forcing myself not to eat any additional food. This is hard for me. If there’s food in front of me, my tendency is to eat it, regardless of how hungry I am. I gave in and took another bite or two of bread, and kept drinking tea, like a moron.

By this time I could actually feel my stomach sitting in my lap.

Ugh. I was feeling worse and worse. Theresa brought me a box for the rest of the ribs and a to-go cup of tea and the check, and I paid it and collected my things and “debouched”, to borrow a word from Robert Penn Warren, from the booth. (Proposed synonym: Jabbaed)

Ugh, ugh, ugh. “I used to enjoy this,” I said aloud as I fought to shove the front door open without putting any additional strain on my overloaded gut. I was only mildly successful, and I felt myself burp. Please, don’t let me throw up, I pleaded.

I made it to my car by walking as slowly as possible, and once I had managed to get myself and the leftovers inside, my first priority was undoing the pants. And oh, that felt good. Where before I wasn’t certain I could manage to get home, now I felt that I could at least hold out a little longer.

“And my DVDs should be here,” I said to myself as I exited the Augusta Exchange and turned onto Wheeler. My Case Closed 1.2 and 1.3 would probably be in the mailbox. “But I’ll have to rebutton my pants to get them…”

This idea didn’t please me…and fortunately it wasn’t necessary. Upon parking at the mailboxes, I discovered that my shirt was just long enough to cover the open buttons.

“Don’t look at my pants,” I quietly advised the woman sitting in the car next to me (not that she could hear me). Then I got out, opened the mailbox, and lo and behold, there were my DVDs.

I made some sort of noise, a grunt of strain and impatience and fatigue, as I got back into my car and drove the short distance to my parking space in front of the apartment. Then I juggled everything in the car into my arms–there was no way I was going back out there once I made it inside–and wrestled them out and up the front stoop.

“Gnah,” I said as the box of DVDs I’d slid into my pink backpack kept banging into walls and corners, jostling my full belly. I threw everything down in its approximate place and bolted for the bathroom…and then, blissfully, I unzipped.

“Ahhhhhhhhh,” I said, sitting on the toilet. I made all sorts of ungodly noises as the tea decided to beat a hasty retreat, relieving even more pressure. Finally I was able to change out of my work clothes into my shorts and T-shirt, and then I was comfortable enough to put the leftovers in the fridge and settle down at the computer.

I feel so good now, but it’s only because I felt so bad just moments ago.

So. Was it worth it?

Well…that first rack of ribs was damn good…

…but ugh.