Today Joey says to me as I stand in a daze in front of our open pantry cupboard, "How about we go out to lunch before school?" I turn around with a smile as big as Kansas on my face and tell him that sounds like heaven to me.
So we drop Ethan off at the Shell station where Lillian picks him up (yes, we wait till she gets there to leave) and then we head off to UNR to park my car, because our schedules are crazy like that and we always have to drive two cars everywhere. I'm listening to this great song I've fallen in love with the last couple of days, and after I PARALLEL park, I slide into Joey's car like I am eighteen again. Happy, without a care in the world.
We zoom off to Silver Peak, park, and make our way into the noisy bar/restaurant. A thin young girl leads us to our table which is the size of a Monopoly game board. There are two men about a foot and a half away from us on one side, also at table the size of a Monopoly game board, and a wall on the other side of us. I scrunch up as close as I can to the wall, and smile at Joey.
This is not the first time this has happened to us. The last time we went out to lunch we sat next to two elderly women who were passionately discussing dog breeding. Amazingly, the manager of that place came over and asked us if we would like to move somewhere a little more comfortable.
But this time no such luck.
I steal a glance at their table to see where they are in the eating process. Sweet. The long black folder that holds the bill is already on their table. They should leave anytime. No big deal.
Joey and I try to talk over the one man's particularly deep, booming voice, but we really don't get anywhere. I am too involved in his story about how he used to like to go home after work and have a martini and sometimes he ended up drinking more than he intended, but then he went on the South Beach Diet and couldn't drink during the day. And he's lost twenty five pounds since June without really starving himself or anything.
All this talk about alcohol makes me think of a question I want to ask Joey, "How many DUI's until you go to prison?"
I want to talk more about that but then I realize the men will think I had been ease dropping if all of a sudden I start talking about alcohol. So I shut up and eat my somewhat soggy chicken tacos.
The waiter comes by three times, each time reassuringthe men that he isn't rushing them, and would they like refills in their drinks? Each time they politely decline and keep talking about alcohol and students and the problem of addiction that they don't have (he definitely had a problem).
When we leave they are still there.
I was a pretty good sport about it though. You have to expect these things in life. I took two mints on the way out to somewhat compensate for our lunch partners. Both turned out to be OLD mints and left a cardboardish taste in the back of my throat.
I wanted Joey to hold my hand as we walked through the big, echoing parking garage to our car. See, I think of these times as "dates"; Joey thinks of these times as "lunch". I understand this about him now. I link my arm through his and we walk like that back to the car.
The more I write about my everyday experiences, the more I realize life is just like this. It never goes how you think it will; there are always old women who breed dogs and men who like martinis who are sitting just a tad too close to you, and mints that taste like cardboard, and husbands who just don't think of reaching out and taking your hand.