Zombie apocalypse stories! They’re everywhere! So many different scenarios detailing how an Armageddon comes about, and what the protagonist does to survive.
Many family meals in this household have inspired me to imagine a further fictional scenario. Consider if you will, dear Reader, that you don’t care about how the End came, zombie or not; or how myself and Manchild and any other decent role models for our children did not survive. Now consider:
- that the children have grown into adulthood,
- society has reassembled itself into something similar to what we experience now,
- …and my adult children, who have been left to figure things out on their own without continual instruction of manners and common decency, are dining at an average restaurant.
Now. Let’s go to there, shall we?
Don’t worry, I won’t leave you there for good.
Scene: Restaurant, Dinner Hour
GirlAdult (fka Girlchild) and BoyAdult (fka Boychild) are seated together at a table, with the goal of “catching up.”
GirlAdult: Ugh! Why did you take the corner chair, I wanted to sit there!
BoyAdult: Well, I did get here first.
[Waitress approaches table.]
Waitress: Hi, and welcome. I’ll be your server this eve—
BoyAdult: I want waffles. Why aren’t they ready?!
GirlAdult: And I DON’T want waffles, I want toast.
Waitress: Um, ok…well, I was just going to take your drink order first, but you should know that we don’t serve breakfast after 11 a.m.
Waitress: And…it’s now 7 pm.
GirlAdult: Can I have milk AND water AND apple juice?
BoyAdult: Me too!
Waitress: Can you choose just two drinks? We don’t usually serve 3 drinks each…
BoyAdult: Well, I want them all.
[Waitress walks away, breathing deeply.]
BoyAdult: Stop crowding me with your chair.
GirlAdult: I’m NOT!
BoyAdult: Your shirt looks disastrous.
GirlAdult [instantly crying loudly]: Did anyone hear what he said to me?!
[Other diners look but give no response. GirlAdult kicks BoyAdult under the table with her heel. BoyAdult suddenly lunges at her neck, but notices Waitress returning and people staring, and sits back innocently.]
GirlAdult: [whispers to BoyAdult] Did you even brush your teeth all day? Ugh.
BoyAdult: Did I mention to you that I’ve just been promoted to President of the Carbohydrate Council?
GirlAdult: Yes, you did. Many times.
Waitress: All right, here are your drinks. Have you thought about any dinner selections?
Waitress: As I said before, waffles are not on our dinner menu. I’ll give you some time to look over our menu.
GirlAdult: Do you have a dessert menu?
BoyAdult: Wait. What if I order this Pasta with Four Cheeses and eat three bites. Then can I order waffles??
Waitress: [Purses lips.]
BoyAdult: Four bites.
BoyAdult: Oh, FINE! Five bites!
Waitress: I’ll see what I can do. [Walks away.]
[GirlAdult gets up to situate herself in her dining chair more monkey-like. Her knees are visible from the top of the table. BoyAdult stands upright in his chair and as a result falls backward onto the floor. Other diners stare briefly but return to eating as BoyAdult rubs his head and immediately tries to stand on his chair again.]
BoyAdult: Look! I’m surfing!
[BoyAdult and GirlAdult laugh and snort. Waitress returns.]
Waitress: Ok. We are able to serve you breakfast at dinner just this once, since we’re busy preparing tomorrow’s brunch in advance. So…waffles and toast?
BoyAdult: AND yogurt tube—strawberry flavor. AND cereal bar.
GirlAdult: What flavor yogurt tubes do you have? Can I do a taste try?
Waitress: Wait, I didn’t even say we had yogurt tubes or cereal bars. What’s a taste try?
GirlAdult: You know, when I get to try all the flavors and decide which one I like the best.
[Waitress clenches her fists as she silently walks away]
BoyAdult: So how are the kids?
GirlAdult: Oh, they’re great! They’re better than yours AND they’re cuter and…
BoyAdult: Your kids are dopes. Mine are better, so ha ha ha.
GirlAdult: WHY are you so MEAN?! I didn’t do anything mean to you!
[Waitress returns with the smorgasbord requested, sans yogurt tubes.]
Waitress: Since we don’t have yogurt tubes, we are whipping up some different parfaits for you to try, in 3 different flavors. I’ll bring them out in a bit.
GirlAdult: Wait, I changed my mind and wanted a waffle.
BoyAdult: Hey! THERE’S NO BUTTER ON MY WAFFLE!
Waitress: Sir, there was butter; it must have melted. I’ll bring you some more. Miss, I can bring you a waffle.
BoyAdult: AND THESE WAFFLES ARE TOO HOT!
[Waitress leaves, fists clenched tighter. GirlAdult admires herself in her pocket mirror and acts out imagined dramatic scenes with herself. BoyAdult leaves table and walks around aimlessly. He returns only to have a bite of GirlAdult’s toast, but walks around while chewing, staring at others dining.]
BoyAdult, to another diner: Oh! I see you have an iPhone sticking out of your purse. Can I use it for games?
[Dining woman pretends to ignore; BoyAdult’s crumbs fall from his mouth into the interior of her purse. Waitress returns with yogurt parfaits and a stack of waffles. BoyAdult rushes back to his seat.]
Waitress: OK! Here’s a giant stack of waffles, and a trio of yogurt parfaits for you to enjoy. Anything else?
BoyAdult: My waffles are cold. Are those cold too?
GirlAdult: Oh, I’m so sorry, I am just SOOOO stuffed. I don’t need the yogurts now. [Smiles.] Tha-anks.
BoyAdult: This cereal bar is…not good. I don’t like it. It’s not my usual kind.
[Makes horribly mean face at Waitress and growls.]
[Waitress exits. Forever.]
And this is the scene that I, the Waitress/Chef, picture when I have those not-as-dramatic-as-George-Bailey moments of underappreciating my own influence in the world, especially my influence on my progeny. Saving society from scenes such as these are just part of my life’s mission.