Recently my old college roommate, Ann, and I made plans to catch up over dinner. I hadn’t seen her in years and she was finally going to be in town. I was starving for adult conversation after long days spent fielding unending questions from my kids.
“Mom, what’s for dinner?”
“Mom, where’s my catcher’s mitt?”
“Mom, do I have to wear pants just because you’re hosting book club?”
With three sons, I am constantly up to bat, and their pitches come from all directions. However, after years of training, I’ve become a seasoned vet at quick answers.
“You get three hots and a cot. Don’t push it.”
“It’s in the basement, top shelf, next to the pilgrim hat piñata.“
“Yes. Pants are mandatory. That’s my final answer.”
“Welcome to Ristorante Vincenzo. Ladies, can I take your coats, or would you like to keep them?”
“Would you prefer to sit at the bar, on the patio, in the screen porch, or have a table in our dining room?”
I figured things would settle down and we’d have some conversation as soon as we were seated….if that ever happened.
“Would you like to see our vegan menu, our gluten-free menu, the low-sodium menu, the five power foods menu, our foods-that are-only-the-color-green menu or the holy-cow-my-doctor-says-I’m-at-risk-for-a-heart-attack menu?”
“Ladies, I hate to interrupt again so soon, but would you care for water? Tonight we’re featuring two refreshing waters - bottled Icelandic glacial water or the ever-popular Tasmanian rain water. In addition, we have coconut water, almond water, sodium-infused water (Atlantic or Pacific), farm-raised water, and nectar of the Great Lakes.”
I saw an opening, “So Ann, how’s your--“
“Would you like to order something from the bar? We have a 283-page wine list weighing just 37 pounds, Carmine will bring it right over. Or, how about a specialty cocktail? Tonight Nico, our bartender, has created the Sicilian Delight, a martini made with the finest vodka. In-house we’ve infused the vodka with organic kale leaves so that each martini actually counts as a vegetable serving. After exactly thirty-three shakes amid hand-shaved ice, Nico pours and finishes it with a splash of the juice squeezed from a blood orange, freshly picked this morning by Nico's grandmother from the top of Mount Etna.”
“Well, Ann, is your mom—“
“Madame, pardon me again for just a moment. Can I offer you each a dinner roll? We have 8 grain, 9 grain, 10 grain, 11 grain, 12 grain, half grain, whole grain, or, upon request, we will bring a scoop and an entire burlap bag of grain tableside for your dining pleasure.”
This was my chance, “So Ann, how’s your mom do--“
“Sorry to intrude ladies, but how is everything? Would you care for more water? Another glass of wine? A couple violins? A mariachi band? Want to see me juggle?”
It was already 9:30 pm. I knew I likely wouldn’t see Ann for another year. As fast as I could manage, I spit out: “So Ann, how’syourmomdoingafter--“
“Excuse me, my dears, would you care for coffee, cappuccino, espresso, macchiato, a simple decaf soy, double shot vanilla, no whip, no ice, iced latte?”
Before I knew what hit me, my coat was on, and I was stepping into a cab.
Ann shouted, “It was so great to catch up! Let’s definitely do this again next year!”
“Sounds good, Ann! Should I email, tweet, text, message, Skype, Face-Time, or call you?”