Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chinese restaurants

We are Jewish.

So what?

We don't do very much Jew stuff.  As a matter of fact, we really don't do any Jew stuff.  As Jews in America, we do do the Jewish-y thing each year and go to a Chinese restaurant every Christman Eve.  Well, every year beginning last year.  So we are batting 2-for-2 since 2008!!

Our favorite Chinese restaurant lives just far enough away that they won't delivery to us, so we often order ahead and pick it up ourselves.  We do very seldom eat in the restaurant itself, simply because the overwhelming smell of the bathroom urinal breath mints permeated the entire restaurant.  Try eating good tasting Crispy Beef or Szechuan Pork while being constantly reminded of your last pee because of tons of urinal breath mint pheromones floating around you.  Mmmmm ...

I won't recount our entire Christmas Eve 2009 dining experience, however this year our adventure began, quite memorably, as soon as we walked in the restaurant door.  There stood three or perhaps four restaurant employees, doing Chinese restaurant employee things.  Things such as speaking on the phone.  Things such as running people's credit cards through the credit card machines.  Things such as yelling at the television.  You know ... things.

Very quickly Employee #1 (so called only because he (or perhaps she???  I don't remember, and I don't care) was first) looked at us and said in a very heavy Chinese accent, "How many?"  I looked at him (or her) and said, "Four and a booster seat."

Now, normally this would have ended the conversation.  We would very shortly have been following said Employee #1 down the aisle with kids in tow toward our new Christmas Eve 2009 Dining Experience Table/Home!  But not this time.

He, or she, disappeared.  Within maybe 10 seconds Employee #2 looked at us and said "How many?"  I looked at #2 and said "Four and a booster seat."

#2 quickly disappeared.

Perhaps 10 seconds later #3 asked us "How many?"  I smiled a smile that my wife knows oh so well and said, "Four and a booster seat," followed under my breath with "It hasn't changed yet ..."

#3, I think, disappeared.

Another very short time rolled by (on the plus side, these guys 1) were persistent, so that at no time did we ever feel like we were being left alone, and 2) did not take very much time in trying to "attend" to us).  Then someone who looked familiar and may have been Employee #1 or #2 or #3, but I will call #4 anyway, even though they may have already been part of this interrogation, looked at us and said "How many?"  My my-wife-knows-this-smile smile got even broader and I replied "Four and a booster seat," followed by a very quiet and sarcastic "It still hasn't changed."

I don't have a very long temper.  (Ask my wife ...)  By now the humor of this "fun" was just barely beginning to wear on me.  Several options quickly popped into my head:
  1. Leave.  No can do.  We had just braved the remains of the Great Blizzard of 2009, as well as numerous oh-so-smart drivers on the roads and in the parking lot, to get here.  I was determined to see this through, for myself, for my family, for my country, for all of humanity DAMN IT!!!!
  2. I had been looking forward to Chinese food, THIS Chinese food, all day for dinner.  And so had my family.  Could possibly have ordered carry out then and there, but the 20 minute wait would not have been fun.  The word agony came to mind.
  3. Push through the endless stream of employees, find a table that we wanted, and sit.
  4. Scream "SERENITY NOW!!!!" but this would just have scared my kids.  And my wife.  And possibly humanity.
  5. Wait for Employee #5 to ask us "How many?"
Yes, all that came to mind in a matter of seconds, believe it or not.  Huh ...

Employee #5, who I really think was actually Employee #2 or Employee #3, then asked us "How many?"  I think I saw Employee #1 or Employee #4 walk by and look at us at this time.  I'm just not sure though.

I smiled my smile again and said, "Still four, and still need a booster seat!" Sarcasm showing, but completely lost on its very Chinese audience ...

Oh yeah, and while we were standing there in the restaurant "foyer" saying the same thing over and over again to bunches of people and contemplating life's options, a large space heater was on the floor just beside my son and me.  One of those big dish space heaters that blasts a lot of heat directly forward, glowing a very deep red like the depths of hell, heating the entire area up very well and oh so tempting to touch to see what it feels like so that your hand instantly melts into so much goo.  Yes, this heater was just about a foot away from Li'l D.  So while I was communicating our family's very simple desire to various employees, I also had to explain to Li'l D how heaters work, why this one was glowing a very deep red, and that to touch it or even get near it was just not a good idea.

Finally, Employee #5 (really, I lost count, but I'll settle on #5 simply because I am tired of writing this and it was around #4 or #5 or #6 that we finally ended this escapade) grabbed some menus and showed us to our Christmas Eve 2009 Dining Experience Table/Home!

The food was good, as always.  The kids were barely decent, as always.  And we have 3-4 meals from leftovers at home, as always.

So why did I tell you all of this?  Just 'cause I can.  And because, for some strange reason, in spite of my lack of patience and short temper, I found this episode amusing.

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