My sister visited this weekend.
Actually, I bribed my sister into visiting this weekend.
We had a bunch of grown-up parties to attend and my diaper bag doesn’t coordinate with my going-out clothes. That was a JOKE, guys, I just really didn’t want to drag a toddler to a bunch of parties. My friends are really awesome about my kid, since I’m the first of us to pop one out. They’re sure to always tack on a, “Bring Little Josh, too!” which is really thoughtful of them. But sometimes it’s nice to sit in a restaurant without pushing all of the silverware to the one side of the table, or to sip a cocktail without needing to say, “No, this is a mommy drink.” Also, my apologetic smile doesn’t match my going-out clothes.
So, my sister came home and served as live-in nanny for the weekend, and in exchange she was blessed with my presence. We went on a Shopping Spree, which really just meant wandering the mall in indecisive consideration of every single item we passed while sweatily gripping a stack of giftcards.
All of that indecision makes a gal hungry, so we stopped for lunch and to rest our weary shopping limbs. We dined at a fine establishment with plastic booths and paper placemats. A Zagat rating and Michelin Star it did not have. We ordered our burgers and fries and something with a silly face on it for Little J, and tried to quell our grumbling bellies with giant glasses of Sprite and gossip about our friends from high school.
And then more giant glasses of Sprite and gossip about our friends from college.
Forty-five minutes later, we’ve exhausted our gossipping possibilities (really rough for us) and poor Little J is just about climbing out of his booster, threatening to become That Kid -the one screaming in the restaurant and flinging silverware at passersby.
Then- finally then- our food arrived.
Well, not really “our” food, since the order was wrong.
And not only wrong, not only forty-five minutes after ordering, but our food was ice cold.
I gave my sister a look and her eyes grew wide. “No, Liz. It’s okay. Let’s just eat it.”
But how she could know what I was thinking, I have no idea, because never in my life would I imagine I’d be That Lady-the one demanding to speak to the manager and refusing to pay. Never in my five years of waitressing, not in my twenty-seven years of being a “nice person.”
Somewhere down the line, I inched over from, “No, it’s fine, really,” to “I’m sorry, can you fix this?” and I’m not quite sure when that change happened. Have I grown persnickety in my old age? Maybe an inner mama-bear didn’t want my child eating a cold burger, regardless of silly face? Or maybe at some point I realized that being nice doesn’t necessarily mean taking crap.
I guess I’ve always felt that way logically, but in practical terms, it hasn’t translated to every area of life. My go-to standard for adult interaction is “kind and honest.” But, there’s something uncomfortable about someone working for you, serving you, bringing you something, while you’re in the position of receiving it and saying, “Not good enough.” Am I the only one with this problem?
Despite all that, while my embarrassed sister piled our bags back into the stroller, I pulled the waitress aside. I smiled and quietly explained that I’m sorry, but we’ve been waiting a long time and our food is cold, so we’ll be going somewhere else, but I’d like to pay for my drinks if possible. Should I speak to a manager to explain the situation so there isn’t a problem? I don’t want to cause trouble.
The waitress was kind and apologetic. The manager was equally so (although possibly high?), and we scurried away to find something else for our increasingly ravenous tummies.
And it was basically a non-event.
Not non-event enough that I wouldn’t blog about it, clearly. But, enough to make me pause with a, “Huh. That wasn’t so bad.” Maybe it’s not as hard as I thought to be “kind and honest” in situations where someone is serving you without being “demanding and belligerent.” Do adults do this stuff all the time? It ain’t no thing? At what point do you stop sucking it up and instead say, “No no. This won’t do”?
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