Today I had lunch with my boyfriend's family.
They are really very nice people. His brother wasn't there, having had car trouble on the way, but his sister was, with her husband and their three kids. His mom was there as well--the reason for the lunch was her birthday.
Let me preface this tale by repeating that I like these people. They're intelligent, polite, funny, pleasant folks.
The trouble was not them; nor was it their children. It was the lunch itself, or maybe the way events conspired against the lunch.
Background: Boyfriend runs the kitchen at an exclusive little lunch-and-dinner place that's attached to a bed-and-breakfast. Fifty-five people is about as many as get served on a typical night; reservations are strongly recommended for dinner. We went to that restaurant for lunch. David came out wearing his chef gear, taking a break from preparing food for a wedding, and ate with us.
"Us" being a four year old, a two year old, a seven week old baby, Mom and Dad, Grandmother, and me.
I'm childfree for a reason. I have little to no interest in children. They don't bug or delight me; they just don't register. Mostly. Unfortunately, one of the things that I hate is adults bringing small children to exclusive eateries that have nothing to entertain kids.
I was one of those people I hate today. The poor kids were trying their best to amuse themselves quietly and politely, but the bread-basket is only going to last so long and forks hold only so much interest. Babies tend to get fussy and have to be fed. Adults tend to try to have conversations that don't have much to do with kids' interests. And no matter how you try, any meal that involves children is going to revolve around those children. Adult conversation is impossible while you're trying to keep one child or another from amputating bits of itself with a knife or tipping over backwards in a chair.
Add to that Hayseed and Hayseedette, our two "servers". I put "server" in quotes because it took us four tries to get teaspoons and three requests to get lemons for tea. "Serve from the left, remove from the right" apparently means (at least to Hayseedette) "Reach across the person who's eating to drop a spoon with a clank on the table in front of the person to her right." Water refills took two or three requests. Coffee got cold. It was bad enough that David sat vibrating with rage next to me, getting more and more humiliated by the minute. As executive chef, he's not responsible for training the wait staff, but still...it's his kitchen and his pidgin.
At least the food was good. Though I did manage to dip my breast into some red pepper puree (a common problem for the busty, Beloved Sister assures me). Nobody noticed. I think.
The brother-in-law faced the menu with trepidation: Unfussy Foodie greets Schwanky Menu. He ordered a beer with a quiet desperation that made me love him and want to take him down the street for a burger. Sister was busy with Baby, whom I tried to calm down at one point but signally failed to un-fuss, beings as I didn't smell like family. And through it all sat Grandmother, being calm and gracious and keeping the two year old from killing herself with cutlery.
All in all, it wasn't bad--except for Hayseed and Hayseedette. I want to train Hayseedette, since she looks like there might be enough synapses in her vacuous eighteen-year-old head to someday make a half-decent waitress. Hayseed I want to kick in the face. Had I known I'd see him today, I'd've worn heavier boots.
This day started with David and me bent over a power snake, unclogging his sewer line. I would've gladly done that all day.