Sometimes you experience moments of pride in your kids. Sometimes those moments keep going, take a sudden turn, burst through a guardrail and soar off a cliff.
My sons and I were boys-night-outting it on a bit of a blind date with a recommended restaurant.
Our chuckling conversation kind of skidded out when we passed through the door; our date for the evening had apparently fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
I’m not really a food snob, but I’m big on atmosphere. It’s like plates if you think about it. Scooping your food off flowers and vines is going to go a whole lot better than plates with a pattern of flies and pig intestines.
Even my boys (12 and 14 years old) looked around with a kind of visible pity, but put on a good face. And by that I mean they refrained from openly gawking in disgust and used subtle gestures rather than outright “shout it from the mountain” pointing.
Our waitress came up and asked us… if I could move out of the way. As crude as it was she wasn’t mean about it, so my raised eyebrows where more a barometer of amusement than any irritation. When she returned, she seated us by way of flinging her arm generally at the room for us to choose our preference in the nearly-empty place.
We sat down and studied menus that were surprisingly stained despite their plastic sleeves. Which I read as follows:
Something I Wouldn’t Mind Trying
The Only Item on the Menu the Boys Will Probably Eat
No Way, Jose
The Boys Will Eat a Few Bites and then Poke at it
(stain that looks like President Lincoln)
The Boys Will Spit this Out
…and so forth…
~ ~ ~
Our cab driver posing as a waitress impatiently took our order, disappeared and then returned moments later.
“We’re out of [this thing that you ordered]. We don’t have any of [this alternate selection you’ll probably want]. There’s only [this and that item you would probably never have ordered].” So we resubmitted our order and crossed our fingers as our cabby waitress disappeared once more.
Ring! It was the wifey calling and I excused myself to step outside so I wasn’t “that” guy. I returned few minutes later and saw the waitress was now chatting with the boys.
She addressed me with wide eyes, “Wow. I’m impressed. He’s really a grade ahead and the other is two grades ahead?” I nodded and she seemed genuinely impressed, not phony ass-kissing-for-tips impressed. I’m not sure she even understood the concept of conducting herself in a manner calculated to earn a bigger tip.
She sauntered off brightly as I sat down with a pleased grin on my face. Pleased my boys had made such an impression.
My eyes followed the waitress back to the kitchen. It had one of those openings, like a diner, and it was pretty obvious that she was telling the chef about my boys. She pointed at them enthusiastically and I turned my head casually to follow her finger.
My eyes flashed wider as they settled on them…
I saw Cody and Max acting like chimps that had gotten into a barrel of whiskey. Their faces perfect comical masks of stupid goofballery. They’d just been joking about something… but the timing… (Sigh). My proud smile became that twitchy forced smile that doesn’t want to stay in place, like a cat being pet backwards. I was rubbing my forehead, in that weary way that parents do, as I turned to look back at the chef and saw the blank look on his face.
It was a polite blankness, I knew. One that he was using to cover up a frown of confusion or dissatisfaction or digust.
I feel like I could read his mind: If this is what smart kids look like, what the #### do dumb kids look like?
I would have face-palmed if my hands hadn’t been so damned greasy. So, I tried to stop laughing and made a pretense of telling them to mind their manners. And then asked them to recreate it so I could take pictures. You know, as a teaching moment.
The food turned out to be good, the waitress pleasant and my smart boys completely brain dead. You really can’t judge a book by its cover.
Funny Pictures Yay Yay Yay!
That’s three yays. That’s practically a legally binding promise of a good time.
The Facebook has you, Neo.
See how deep the rabbit hole goes.