Sunday, November 6, 2011
How to waste forty dollars without really trying
It was a Saturday night in the height of summer. We wanted to be "fun parents", and as our oldest daughter Mapgie was at a friends house, we offered to take our daughter Kay (age 5) and her little brother Ziggy (not-quite-two) out do dinner. We gave Kay free-reign to pick the evening's dining establishment.
I suggested options, with an ever-so-slight emphasis on the more upscale place that was my preference to the usual kids' pick.
Kay was much clearer in making known her choice. "THE DINER! I WANT A HOT DOG!"
I agreed, but only after pointing out ever-so-subtly that the place I wanted to go also had hot dogs.
Kay dismissed this quickly, explaining "those hot dogs aren't good, they don't taste like hot dogs."
Which to be honest, is true. I mean, they're good - even better than the average hot dog I might argue - but they don't really taste like a classic hot dog.
So I agreed to go to the diner.
We sit down, all smiles in our turquoise leatherette booth. We order. A kids menu hot dog for Kay, which double score for her, comes with fries.
I eat my sub-par diner salad. My husband and I shovel food while trying to keep Ziggy's almost two-year-old antics to a minimum.
A few minutes go by, and I notice Kay hasn't eaten her dinner. At all.
I ask, in my sweetest Mother's voice, "Kay, what's up with you not eating your hot dog?
Kay replies: "I don't like it. It tastes like a... hot dog."
"Uh, OK." I say, thinking to myself, who the fuck orders a hot dog and then complains that it tastes like a.... hot dog?
I try again, in my sweetest Mother's voice, "Kay, what about the fries? You're not even eating the fries."
She replies, "They're too fried. Next time, could you ask them to make them less fried?"
Suppressing the urge to go on a rant about what would happen if I tried to start that conversation with the cook behind the diner counter, I instead point out, But they're fries. They're fried."
Kay, exasperated, answers "I know. I'd like them less fried."
My husband pays the check while I inspect the remains of Kay's entire dinner on her plate, and Ziggy's entire dinner on the floor, as we all leave the diner and a meal no one really ate, down forty bucks.
But as we walked to the car with two smiley kids, and made the way home amid their happy chatter, my husband and I were secure in knowing for that summer's night we were "fun parents," and that from the kids point of view, this had been a great night out.
And how can you put a price on that?
I'm linking up to Yeah Write, where I've been happily reading for awhile since being introduced to it by That Unique* Weblog, but this is my first time "on the grid."