The seven stages of a late night Big Mamma’s run

"Big Mamma's" by Dan Bruell is licensed under CC by 2.0.
Big Mamma’s” by Dan Bruell is licensed under CC by 2.0.

We’ve all been there. It’s 1 a.m. on Sunday. You’re craving something that only one uptown eatery can satisfy. You’re not looking for anything fancy or sophisticated. You’ve given up counting calories for now. Maybe you’ll start that diet next week.

Right now, you’re just looking to gorge out on a warm, soft burrito.

But if you’re going to give in to your desire for a late night Big Mama’s run, you’ll have to learn to cope with the emotional burden that comes along with it. Sure, it seems like a good idea at first. But that sense of excitement can quickly give way to a more complex set of feelings.

Luckily, if you know what to expect, you can prepare yourself and hopefully avoid a serious Tex-Mex induced breakdown.

Here are the seven stages of Big Mama’s binging.

1. Fantasizing

No matter how you got here, you’ve found yourself inside the restaurant. The door has closed behind you, you’ve stepped in line. There’s no turning back now. The smell of seasoned beef and spicy salsa wafts in the air.

At this point you only have one thing on your mind: getting your burrito. You can almost taste the smoky, spicy chipotle ranch and feel the satisfying smoosh of the tortilla, beans and meats.

2. Commitment

You’ve made your way to the front of the line, and suddenly you have some choices to make. The time for fantasy is over. Now it’s time to take action.

You scan the menu you’ve peered at dozens of times before. Do you want Chipotle Ranch or Mama Grande? Black or refried beans? Chicken or beef … or should you go with chorizo?

You consider just ordering a Baby, but you decide you didn’t come here to fool around. Tonight you mean business. Make it a full-sized Mamma Grande, everything on it, add guac.

3. Anticipation

A funny thing happens between the time you place your order and when they finally call your number. Time seems to move at an excruciatingly slow pace. It’s been less than a minute, but it already seems like you’ve missed at least two birthdays. You check your phone, do anything to take your mind off your burrito-less state of being.

You check your ticket number — 73.

“68!,” one of the workers calls.

This is going to take a while.

4. The “Honeymoon” Period

Joy of joys, your number finally comes up. You grab the burrito, thank the worker, and feverishly rip the foil off from one end.

Your first few bites are pure ecstasy. You are in love. You’re pretty sure you’ve reached the absolute pinnacle of sensory experiences. This is the happiest moment of your life.

Your friends try to get your attention. They want to go to Wendy’s. But you don’t listen. You’re fixated on your burrito.

5. Disillusionment

Everything started out so beautifully. Now, three-fourths of the way through your burrito, you’re not even sure if you want it anymore.

You know you’re facing an uphill battle. With every bite, you grow more and more uninterested. But you’ve come here on a mission. You swore a silent vow to yourself , and you refuse to give up on the very thing that you once longed for with every fiber of your being.

6. Remorse

You feel it in your gut first. You begin to question everything in your life, but specifically why you were so foolish to think that eating a whole Mamma Grande at this hour of the night would be a good idea.

Eventually, the feeling spreads to your chest and abdomen. It finally manifests itself as a sharp pain in your heart — a combination of profound sorrow and stomach acid.

7. Acceptance

After lying comatose on your stomach for more than half an hour, everything suddenly comes into perspective. The pain you once felt has transformed into a sense of lethargy, resignation and, ultimately, satisfaction.

You pop a couple of Tums and crawl off to bed. In the morning you’ll likely have a bit of a sour stomach, but you’ll be well on your way to recovery. By Monday, it will be business as usual.

The important thing, you realize as your eyes grow heavy, is that for a few brief moments you experienced true happiness. You held it in your hands, in all its warm, cheesy, saucy, spicy, soft, meaty wonder.

Maybe you’ve learned a thing or two from the experience.

But, then again, you know that by next week, you’ll probably go through the entire process again.

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Love Pumpkin Spice Lattes? Check out the coffee crawl Backdrop magazine did and read about the eclectic varieties three of Athens’ local coffee shops offer. The typical warm, coffee-inspired latte is too mainstream for Athens, see what Donkey Coffee, Fluff Bakery and Court Street Coffee have created instead.