You Can’t Take Us Anywhere

You really can’t. Last night Matt and I decided to go out for dinner for the first time in…well, it’s been a while. I like to think we just choose to stay in. We’re people who prefer to hang out together at home and watch movies or…and watch movies. (Geez, are we boring!) Last night reminded me that we don’t go out simply because when we do we embarrass ourselves or each other.

We drove to a local Chinese restaurant. Neither of us had been there before (we’ve lived here a year and a half. I know, I know…) and were overwhelmed at the sheer size of the place and the volume of people. We were completely confused as soon as we walked through the front door.

“Do we seat ourselves?”

“I don’t know. Do we pay first?”

The man at the cash register asked, “Two?”

It was the only thing we DID know. “Yes.”

The man finished what he was doing while Matt set Abby’s car seat on the floor and walked over to the coat rack. I picked up Abby’s seat and put her on a chair and stared at Matt who was not removing his coat and seemed to be casing the joint.

“What are you doing?”

More casing.

“Are you taking off your coat?”

More casing. Finally, “No.”

Ummm…?

The man moves over to the hosting podium (is there a word for that thing?) and instructs us to follow him please. Thank goodness because I don’t know how long we would have stood there staring and looking like lost sheep.

We get settled and take turns getting food. We’re no longer lost out in the world. We KNOW what to do with food.

Because its busy and its buffet, people randomly walk past our table. An older man slowly makes his way from the buffet and heads to his seat. I was facing the buffet, Matt was facing toward the wall, so when the man walked past Matt looked up and watched him as he passed our table. He must have seen me looking at him in his peripheral vision because he said, “I love you” but his eyes were still watching the man walk to his table.

“Me? Or HIM?” For some reason I found that incredibly funny.

Matt glared. “You, you idiot.”

“You weren’t looking at ME.” I dissolved into a fit of giggling as Matt rolled his eyes and wondered for the eight millionth time why he’s with me. “Oh that’s going in the blog!” I laughed more.

Two minutes later I decided I needed soy sauce. The bottle on our table had a cap with small spouts and holes on each side for sprinkling sauce. I did not know this. I mistook the small spouts for a hinge and a lip to flip open a lid that isn’t there. I picked up the bottle and shook it. It was a soy sauce fountain! There was soy sauce on my hands, running up my arms and in small puddles in the middle of the table.

Victory flashed in Matt’s eyes. We were now even.

He laughed and told Abby, “We need to take Mommy out more.”

Abby just stared blankly at both of us, probably wondering why she’s stuck with us and not, oh, you know…competent people. Matt and I laughed at the look of sheer disappointment on her face.

We made more trips to the buffet (it was huge) with Matt telling me where certain things are and vice versa and we took turns heading out on our individual quests. Then Matt came back with a foot high pile of crab legs and an ear-to-ear grin.

I turned green.

He made me taste some, and it was good, but what bothers me is having to rip open an animal right there at the table. I can’t do it. I can’t even eat fish unless its in patties, battered filets or sticks. Matt crunched his crab legs, slurped meat out and discarded leg shells in a pile while I tried dessert.

Desserts.

I took what looked like a small piece of chocolate cake, a brownie, a sugar cookie and some kind of other cookie. The chocolate cake was actually a brown sponge with mocha frosting. (Blah.) The brownie wasn’t a brownie — it was more brown sponge but with sprinkles on top. The sugar cookie was fine. The other cookie was pastry squirted into a cookie shape and fried. It was like the pastry that creme horns come in, and just as stiff. I took my first bite and a piece of stiff pastry wedged itself firmly between my two front teeth.

So. Our night out: Matt was hitting on old men, I was showering with soy sauce and smiling with crud in my teeth.

I couldn’t stop laughing. Matt asked what I was laughing at (I was keeping my mouth closed until the pastry went away) and I could only laugh and shake my head. He and Abby looked at each other and shrugged.

Just then our waitress rushed past the table and set down two wet naps in front of Matt. Not, at the table, not in the middle; in front of Matt. Matt looked confused. I laugh harder.

“Maybe it’s as close as she could get to a bib.” I wiped at the tears in my eyes.

“Oh, I’m gonna get her.” He turned around in his seat to see where she was. “Should I get her? I don’t know. You Northerners have no sense of humor.” He thinks for a minute. “No. I won’t say anything, but man!”

I giggled until it was time to go. We ran into our friend Patty on the way out the door. Patty was at the buffet near the sushi.

“I didn’t know they had sushi!!” Matt looked totally crestfallen.

“You can have some the next time.”

Matt pouted, Patty waved goodbye and we were back in the world, both having decided that we can’t take each other anywhere and resolving to do so again. Soon.

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