The best way I’ve found to pin my son down alone for an hour or so is to make sure he and I meet for dinner somewhere once a month. I had been unsuccessful convincing him to go anywhere with me this week for Spring break, because, come to find out, most of his friends were staying in town. His social schedule was especially packed, but I managed to at least guilt him into our monthly dinner Wednesday.
(And next year, if I have to drug him, we’re going somewhere for his Senior Spring break. I am pretty well known for picking places and times that include some sort of festival. For example, this year I had tried to sell a visit to Washington, DC, which would have coincided with their Cherry Blossom Festival. This would have been fine two years ago, but not now. In a thoughtless moment, I mentioned the Festival and all bets were off. “You want me to do what?” I’m convinced that just the word is the deal breaker, not the week with the mother, so I’ll have to consider that in our plans. Or just use a different word.)
Anyway, Austin loves Red Lobster, so that’s where we went. And, as luck would have it, when we sat down, the waitress handed us our menus and singsonged, “It’s the last week of Lobsterfest! Order it while you can!”
A festival, after all. I win again. He was unaware and didn’t laugh when I explained what I was smiling about.
Then I thought of the time, years ago, when a cashier at Burger King told my ex-husband that they were out of Whoppers. The proclaimed Home of the Whopper was out of Whoppers? And now, Red LOBSTER won’t have LOBSTER? I swear - the longer I live, the more confused I get. What will replace it? Talapiafest? I’m betting it’s Shrimpfest, but I like the sound of a Talapiafest.
The marketing worked, because the frenzy was upon us. The last week! Now, I do know that Red Lobster doesn’t catch its fish from the same part of the ocean as the finer seafood restaurants, but I had no choice – we would order lobster. The $62 bill to come, after dinner, drinks, tips and taxes, was a small price to pay for such an occasion anyway. It was a festival, after all.
We try to eat before 5 pm here in Indianapolis, because of my disdain for crowded restaurants and people with unruly toddlers who should eat at home. This early dinnertime typically puts us in the respectful company of seniors and lone or coupled diners, with whom I love to be.
And this time, I noticed three women around us, each sitting alone. No books to read, no restless eye movements from not knowing where to look, no hurries. They were content and comfortable, just sipping their drinks and savoring their meals.
I mentioned that I wanted to be just like them. Austin assured me, “Oh, you will be. Don’t worry.” I took that as the complement it wasn’t meant to be.
So, $62 and an average seafood meal later, I had been comforted by my son’s company, these women, and the fact that we hadn’t missed the “fest” after all.
I got to go home and think of my future trip alone to the Smithsonian and the Cherry Blossom Festival. And, I plan to enjoy dining alone, thinking of the ladies at Red Lobster.
Austin got to leave and go hang out with his friends for yet another night.
A nice Spring break was had by all.