Another magical St. Anthony's day has come and gone. If you don't know what St. Anthony's day is or who St. Anthony is, please click here to read last year's entry. Incidentally, this is one hotly-searched-for post in the Interwebs, because it seems that there are lots of people searching for lost things.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, please, again, I exhort you to go to last year's entry.
It's funny that what I'm about to write should have kind of transpired today, traditional day where people celebrate the saint to which so many pray for lost objects. And boyfriends. And girlfriends too, I imagine, though maybe not as wildly.
Today the Meows went to be swingin' with the beautiful people at happy hour.
Okay, we were just getting some dinner; but you know, it was Friday and the partying starts early. So as we were enjoying a lovely family dinner (sample snippets from our sparkling repartee included, "Sit down! Eat your food! Don't go under the table! Stop climbing over mommy and daddy! Sorry, what did you say? Hand the credit card over! Stop doing that! WHAT? Eat your food! No! No! No!")*, we couldn't help but notice that we were the only family at an establishment that unabashedly was catering to single people.
Now, I have no problem with single people: as a former single person, I have been there for both the good and the bad (though exactly how much "good" and how much "bad" as compared to other single and formerly single people I've done is hard to gauge), and there are times I wish I were single. No, not fervently or ardently or actively, but there is always a little fun and mystery and adrenaline when it's just you and there is flirting and there is money only for shoes.
But when you're no longer single and, in my own personal case (because I know there are many people who enjoy the single life very much), you are glad that the nights are not so soul-crushingly lonely and you're glad that every social occasion and gathering does not become another opportunity to pine, flirt, ignore, and get involved in weird is-he-or-isn't-he cycles. You're also glad that you can enter a fine, or not-that-fine-really, establishment in shorts and a peasant top and with your hair in a ponytail and that it's quite okay (even if you feel slightly underdressed amongst the patrons with adorable dresses and tight pencil skirts and cute peep-toes and proper pedicures that don't look like you got your cat drunk and took inappropriate pictures of her and then threatened to release them unless she painted your toes) because you're not trying to dazzle anyone with your polish and your undernourished frame.
And so, being the lonesome couple in an area that's increasing in meat-market-y level also places you in some sort of display: you can imagine some quiet tour guide whispering sotto-voce,
"And over here you can witness the endangered species Nucleus familiaris var. unigenitum. Note their sparkling repartee and the way the adults hover over the child– this is called 'posture of impending doom.' We're walking… we're walking…."
Some people love seeing Herr Meow, both within and without a restaurant. They wave or smile or shake their head in a conciliatory way when he runs into their shins at 40 mph and we whisper "sorry!" here and there. Some people are even interactive and ask for high-fives or call him "buddy" or wave goodbye.
Some people are more reserved –this would be the larger group: they politely get out of the way or simply prearrange their route to circumvent the Whirling Dervish. If in the same room with him, they may smile momentarily and go back to their amazingly-uninterrupted and possibly grown-up conversations.
But then there is the third group.
It's hard to put into nice words this feeling –this static– but the best way came through Monsieur Meow.
"Did you see those people back there? They gave us the 'Breeder!' look."
Some people resent the husband and wife team, and the fruit of what people refer to as, "The Nasty." They stare openly as we walk into what they may perceive as their terrain, daring to disrupt their Pad Thai or their perfectly chilled cocktail with our flurry of arms and legs and shrieks and admonitions and sorries and hellos. They look up from menus or roll their eyes derisively into their BlackBerrys and wonder what we are doing infiltrating their five o'clock no-children-allowed world. They raise eyebrows and nudge elbows and cringe inwardly. They think they are subtle.
They shoot looks of hostility, as if we were deliberately flaunting our… what? Our conformity? Our lack of fluid dinner conversation? Our fertility, perhaps?
This didn't put a damper on our evening, but it did make me wonder if those looks of open hostility are nothing but a subverted longing for what appears to be greener grass.
Or maybe I had spinach in my teeth.
*Note: This dinner conversation was, effectively, drowned out by the din of about 80 office workers and about as many other Marines who lined the place from wall to wall. Normally our dinners would include some of the same repartee, but just at hissing level, and peppered with more frequent threats of, "If you don't stop that by the count of three WE. ARE. LEAVING!"
Quite an enjoyable post. I could imagine I was there with you eating. Or yelling or staring. One of them. And I also like imagining your family as large cats who speak very proper english. And bow or curtsy. Then that makes me giggle and I remember how much I enjoy reading your blog! 🙂
The majority of people around here seem to enjoy seeing little kids. Probably because they aren’t their responsibility. 😛
A lot of people also give parents the “I’ve survived, you will too” smile of encouragement. The only real issues people have are kids that have no manners or teens that are rude or parents that don’t appear concerned over their kids actions.
Usually people interact with kids, especially on the buses. There was one little boy, about 4 years old, who was on the bus talking with anybody who was near him and when he left he said goodbye to the driver and everyone on the bus. Almost everyone said goodbye back. When the kindergarten and daycare kids get on the bus for trips, people will stand to give them seats if the bus doesn’t have enough empty seats or offer to hold some of the little ones in their laps. People getting on with strollers will have seats offered to them in the front and people offering assistance in getting the strollers on or off the bus. I actually had one kid sitting next to me fall asleep against me.
I agree. We have the same table conversation and get off the floor is a big one! I think when we go out to eat we either get smiles from those that think our kids are cute (mostly young girls and grandparents) or we get the frowns you talk about from singles that do not want to be bothered! NCLM
I remember those conversations… usually, I remember them fondly, but not always…sometimes I’m just glad our youngest is 10 not and (usually) better behaved!
Lovely, well-written post! :o)
once upon a time, i may have been one of those rude singletons eyeing the smug married couple who dared bring their baby out on a friday night. 😦 it’s great to hear it from the other side. i apologize on behalf of my rude counterparts.
Here from NCLM. We almost never go out to eat, but the good thing about having three of the little buggers is that you’re too frantic trying to contain, sanitize, pacify, entreat, console, and threaten everyone to even notice if you get any ugly looks. In fact I can’t remember a single ugly look since having the third one, because I don’t think I’ve noticed anything beyond our table since then. Every time we go out to eat, without fail, my husband says “My god, I am NEVER going to dinner with these people again! What came over me that I thought we should do this? THIS IS THE LAST TIME WE ARE EVER GOING OUT TO EAT!” But he has a short enough memory that sooner or later we do it again.