I like to eat out. I don’t like to cook. I hate doing dishes. And I don’t like leftovers.
For years, friends and family have been advising me not to eat out so often. It’s too expensive. It’s not healthy. Pesticides. Portions. Etcetera.
Well tonight, I take your advice Dad. But not because the portions are too big, or because I could spend half my paycheck on Aussie cheese fries and Molten Lava Explosion cake, but because, to put it bluntly…. eating out has gone to shit.
I live about a quarter of a mile from a Golden Corral. My mother likes to refer to it as the “feedin’ trough.” My husband, who can eat a small chicken in one sitting, has been begging me to go there for months. Finally, I gave in. Let’s go, I said. Let’s go to the trough.
I expected a sour-carpet smelling dirt fest with grimy attendants and sub-par food. But to my astonishment, it was clean. Sparkling. Our attendant was also fairly tidy, friendly and had her entire top row of teeth in tact. I was shocked. The meatloaf was delicious, the mashed potatoes homemade. I was just about to apologize to my husband for making such a BIG DEAL out of going there when….it happened…
It began with the distant cry of a baby, no wait, that’s a 4-year-old being carried like a baby into the restaurant by his mother to the table. right. next. to. us.
The man-baby is sobbing incomprehensible man-baby words and the mother is…high? Does she not notice that everyone in the entire dining room is staring at her? Her husband, also oblivious, grabs a plate and heads to the salad bar.
The next moment, a teenage boy is flailing his arms at the waiter. It distracts me. “SCUSE ME! SCUUUUUUUSE ME!” He yells. The waiter walks over hesitantly.
“I can get a spoon?” he scoffs. The waiter nods and rushes away. I can get a spoon. It is not a statement. Rather, a question. Had I asked my father this at age 13, he would have looked at me and said “I don’t know, can you?” This would have been followed by groundation for slaughtering the English language in his presence.
Suddenly, I am completely distracted from my heaping portion of mac n’ cheese (and it takes a lot to do that).
In walks the largest family, cumulatively, that I have ever seen in my entire life.
I’m not one to pass judgment on genetics. But if you are so huge that bras do not come in your size, so you just don’t wear one, that is a problem.
I have two words for this braless mother and brainless father. Child Abuse. If you want to live like hippos, fine. But at least help your kids strive for something more. Or in this case less. A lot less.
I know it sounds like I’m ripping on Golden Corral. But it’s not just buffet bargain bins that have these kinds of patrons. They are everywhere. The rude, the selfish, the gluttonous. They are in Applebees and Outback and Berns. Oblivious parents with screaming children come in all socioeconomic sizes. As do teenagers with no manners and children with no limits. It’s as if parents have given up.
And so I won’t. I won’t pay my money to hear your man-baby scream, or your teenager yell or to watch your son eat an entire plate of yeast rolls. I will make my own dinner (ok, so I’ll make Todd cook, or at the very least, order take-out).