Saturday, April 10, 2010
A Glimpse Into the Future
“What DON’T you feel like eating then,” Mike asks for the sixteenth time, his tone one of frustration edged with hunger. Shaking my iPhone and still disagreeing with Urbanspoon’s suggestions, I leaned lazily in the backseat of the 4Runner, the other hand linked with the kid’s rattle which he happily gummed as we carried on our conversation. “I don’t know – is there something new to try out here?” I say, entering us into the age-old married conversation I imagine millions of couples having every Friday and Saturday night.
Finally, we round a turn into a parking lot we had not yet graced in KC (a miracle) and decide to try a new little pizza spot that looked decent enough from the outside, tucked in a strip mall with dozens of cars parked out front. Undoing the baby from his car seat (a new phenomenon now that he’s getting to big to lug around) we enter through thick glass doors and were greeted by what appeared to be what could only be described as the McDonald’s playground on crack. An arcade lined the back wall, neon games shedding casino-like sounds into the dining space, children shrieking in high-pitched tones I didn’t even know they were capable of, parents propped at tables looking as if they were already on their second round trying to just to survive this event and highchairs were like little landmines every two feet. Sharing a sideways glance, Mike and I surrendered to the teenage, flat-faced host who asked: “how many?”
As the cardboard-like pizza whipped up with Spaghetti-O like sauce was consumed, we sat in silence, taking in all that surrounded us. Even the kiddo looked a little alarmed as rings of children scooted past the table, were put in time out from a parent, threw food or exchanged nasty words with one another. A few other children jumped in and out of their seats, laughing or crying hysterically, their focus in a million directions as children generally do, their attention spans limited within a 30-second timeframe. Others were content, tucked into the arms of parents they had waited all day to see after work, relishing in the family night together and away from the home.
All in all – it was mass chaos.
“Cherish it!” I hear a Mom near me say, finally recognizing she is inadvertently talking to Mike and me. “Pardon me?” I ask. “That’s such a great age – appreciate their immobility,” she says, looking longingly at the calmness of our child, perched on Mike’s lap, the wildest thing he’s concentrating on his banging his Tupperware with his spoon. Meanwhile, one of her son’s is in time out while the others are constantly tugging on her sleeve while she’s trying to have a 30-second exchange with me. I did also note she was on her second glass of white wine and it all began to make sense to me why so many retailers sold those little napkins, towels, etc. that say “Mommy drinks because you cry.”
Waiting anxiously for our exhausted looking server to return, we grew wearier by the minute, Mike working to recover from his long, disappointing workday. Needless to say his criteria of a “place to grab some food and wind down” was not something you may necessarily associate with this fine dining establishment. Debit card down, signature signed and we skeddadled out the door faster than you could say “Too close to Chuck e Cheese,” we rode home in silence, seemingly processing all that had just occurred.
Yes, we’re preparing for what our future will hold for managing a little one and all the magic it will bring, as well as the variance of what weekends will look like. But for now, we’ll decidedly stay in our la la land of seventh month oldness and sushi joints to avoid reality just a little bit longer. And yeah, Mommy may need a drink once or twice to survive incidents like the ones we just encountered, but I hear it’s all worth it – mass chaos and all.