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Erma on Dining Out

>> Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Today’s Erma-ism: “The age of your children is a key factor in how quickly you are served in a restaurant. We once had a waiter in Canada who said, ‘Could I get you your check?’ and we answered, ‘How about the menu first?’”

I think she’s got something there, but I’d take it a step further. The quality of any dining out experience is directly proportional to the rambunctious tendencies of your children. At least in our case.

Exhibit A: The Mexican Restaurant.

Monkey Boy uses a wheelchair due to his autism. It’s not that he can’t walk, it’s that he needs it for safety. Without it, he’s been known to run into the street, jump into bodies of water, or climb in inappropriate places. It’s been part of his ongoing therapy to try to get him to the point where he doesn’t need to use the wheelchair in public places anymore.

Well, on this particular occasion, the family took Monkey Boy to the Mexican restaurant without his wheelchair, just to see how he would handle it. It didn’t go well. He wriggled and squirmed right out of his chair, with one of us always in pursuit. At one point, Monkey Boy got away from us and darted right into the kitchen of the restaurant!

Exhibit B: The Exploding Chicken Incident.

We were on a medical trip for Monkey Boy and we had stopped at a modest sit-down restaurant. That was our first mistake. The four of us were seated around a small round table. As we waited for our meal, Monkey Boy impatiently thrashed around, bumping the table and sloshing water from our glasses. He doesn’t do waiting well.

The meal finally came and Monkey Boy got even more rowdy. He evidently had some sort of personal vendetta against the contents of his dinner, because things went flying. It looked like there had been an unfortunate meeting between a chicken platter and a homemade explosive device, for there, scattered all across the dining room, were chunks of meat from Monkey Boy’s plate. Waiters dodged and diners ducked. We should have brought them flak jackets.

Had the servers at either of these restaurants known what was descending on them as we walked in the door, we probably would have been handed a check before a menu, too.

We’ve become proficient apologizers and big tippers. We’ve also learned to eat take-out in the car.


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