1. Restaurants should be clean. You love cold, hard, shiny surfaces you can easily wipe down with purse-sized antibacterial wipes. (You often do the floor, too.)
2. Red and white checked tablecloths that are actually cloth and candles in Chianti bottles or those little red jars with white plastic mesh around them say pizza to you. Battery-powered candles are okay.
3. Bare walls in white hi-gloss enamel are best, but text-based decoration is acceptable. Like a lot of short inspirational quotes by Mother Theresa, Walt Disney and people you’ve never heard of. You text these to your grandmother.
4. Hey, you know there’s supposed to be paneling, a travel poster of Venice and framed photos of total strangers in front of the Trevi Fountain. And maybe a couple of oil portraits of other strangers done by the owner’s aunt when she took that class at the community center.
1. Bright. Otherwise you’re blinded by your cell phone.
2. Dim. You want to relax and eat pizza, not do brain surgery.
3. Dark places are full of germs and tend to diminish the effect of your maroon highlights.
4. Bright lights make you look like a zombie and trigger migraines.
1. It’s all totally lame except for this unbelievable crossover thrash group from Vanuatu you downloaded to your cell from a pirate site in Kazakhstan. This is why there are earbuds, to drown out restaurant music.
2. No music. You want to talk to your friends.
3. Talking is so retro. You text people who are sitting next to you and in case you left your earbuds in your other jacket you expect the restaurant’s music to be loud enough to obliterate any possibility of conversation. But nothing from before last month, puh-leeze.
4. You don’t even own a gun but still have recurring fantasies of leaping onto the 20-chair community table at New Pizza with an AK-47 and blasting every speaker in the place to smoking ruin. Then maybe you can talk about the movie.
1. You are not among the less than one per cent of Americans affected by celiac disease, but nonetheless demand gluten-free crust because Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t eat gluten for a while and she still looks pretty good.
2. You’re not really sure what gluten is.
3. As long as there’s an achiote-infused rice-bran-oil sauce, five or six artisanal cheeses, roasted celeriac, elephant foot yams sliced paper-thin and smoked eel, you’re not picky about ingredients.
4. You love tomato sauce and bubbling mozzarella, and the scent of warm oregano practically makes you weep with nostalgia. Your favorite pizza place, before it was demolished and replaced by a franchised nail salon, used pepperoni imported from New Jersey and Vidalia onions. You keep an old paper napkin from there pressed inside a first edition of a Stephen King novel.
If more odd-numbered views than even-numbered resonated with you, you’re in! The pizza world is scrambling to accommodate your world-view, your tastes and your aversion to spoken language. In the coming years, as New Pizza spreads across the country from both coasts (but mostly the West Coast), you’ll fit in anywhere!
If you felt kinship with more even-numbered views than odd, you’re a member of a dwindling but savagely devoted band who will spend those coming years driving to obscure pizzerias in questionable strip malls at least twenty-three miles from their homes. There will be a scent of oregano and cylindrical sugar containers with holes in the lid, full of dried pepper seeds. There may even be candles.
I’ll see you there.