It’s odd how one little detail, left out of a situation, can completely change your read on it. Or, to cut in the opposite direction, how you can think you have a handle on what’s going on, and then you learn something new about what’s happening, and all of a sudden you feel like a horrible sharknadoheel for thinking a certain way, or maybe you feel totally vindicated.
The wife and I went to dinner while the grandparents kept the kids for the evening. Sidenote: when I say dinner, for us that means we hit the restaurant at about 4:30. I know, we might as well be geriatrics, but when your kid’s bedtime is at seven, you have to rethink the way you live your life. So it’s 4:30, and we’re at dinner at a nice little pasta place we like where there’s tacky 90’s stereotypical Italian decor and they serve you way too much food so you eat leftovers for two days afterward. Because it’s 4:30, we have the place almost to ourselves, so we get served quick and we eat quick, which is nice, because having a two-year-old has left me unable to savor a meal; all I know how to do anymore is shovel foodstuffs into my beak while my mind wanders to the sprout and whether or not he’s likely to get into mortal danger before I can swallow a half-chewed mouthful. But the kids aren’t there so we actually get to focus on each other and the ambiance, a really rare treat.
I don’t know if it’s my inclination as a writer that makes me such a shameless eavesdropper or if I’m just a jerk, but while we’re at dinner this other couple comes in and I immediately start with the judging. There’s nothing special to say about her, but he is a paunch-bellied, unshaven slob, and that biases me against him before he opens his mouth. To be fair, this restaurant isn’t the swankiest of joints, so there’s no dress code, but, come on. Call me old-fashioned, but if you’re taking your wife / girlfriend / main squeeze to a dinner that’s gonna cost more than ten bucks a plate, maybe don’t dress like you just came from a World of Warcraft marathon session in your mom’s basement? Continue reading