I Don’t Know What to Say

Okay. We are going to go out to dinner. My wife, our daughter, her friend, and me. We are running a couple of minutes late, so we drop my daughter and her friend off to check in while we look for parking.

My wife is driving. As we go around the block to find a place to park, I happen to glance in the front of the restaurant and notice that there is only one 4-top available and it is right by the front door. You have got to be kidding me. My dining experience is ruined. It’s cold out here. Every time that door opens, I am going to freeze. May as well drop me off right here and make me walk home (actually, my wife might add, “don’t even bother coming home”).

I promised

You see, the night before when we were working out the logistics of how 4 people all coming from work or various places were going to get to the restaurant, my wife did happen to mention that I’d better be on my best behavior, because I was an ‘add-on’. Ouch. Thanks honey. Not so subtle. I get the point. I promised her that I would turn off my over-critical restaurant eye, and I would not ruin anyone’s dining experience, and in fact, I would even have a good time.

Well, there goes that idea

Before even parking the car, before seeing the inside of the restaurant, even before looking at a menu, I knew I was doomed. Doomed to a less than stellar dining experience–not to mention paying a pretty penny for it–and doomed to spending the night in the garage (if we had one). Perhaps headed for divorce.

This is what my wife has to put up with. In less than three seconds, I had managed to sum up our entire evening. And it wasn’t pretty. The problem is 1) I’m right, and 2) I’m wrong. That’s quite a problem to have.

What is the answer?

I am right, because we did get the table next to the front door, and it did take a long time for us to even get a glass of water, and I did notice the ‘manager’ standing around doing nothing to help his 2 over-worked servers, while we waited.

I am wrong because who the hell am I to ruin everyone else’s evening? No one at our table, save me, noticed any of those things and would have a wonderful time if I could just learn to not let it get to me. I kept my mouth shut, however, the problem is, as my wife likes to remind me, I get that ‘face’.

That face

You know the one I am talking about. I have mentioned it before. The one that says ‘I am pissed’. The one I cannot hide when my daughter asks me if everything is ok, and I try to answer with a straight face, ‘yes’. That face.

I admit it, I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Guilty. Would you believe me if I told you I am trying? Nah, I wouldn’t either.

Work in progress

It is a practice. I am working on it. Considering therapy. I would already be in therapy if I thought for a second there was a chance in hell it would work.

Let me end by saying that we ended up having a fabulous time. Food and service were great. And, I am still married. For now.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. David Bowles says:

    That is SO funny Tom. My family absolutely dislikes going out to eat with me for the same reasons. Folks walking by avoiding eye contact with glazed looks and empty hands, me seething… sucking the joy out of the evening.

    Let’s arrange a secret shopper dinner for you and your bride. My treat!

  2. Tom Bethel says:

    Thanks David. We need to be careful. Being happy with our loved ones is far more important than having a pleasant dining experience. You will hear from me…

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