Monday, June 21, 2010

You can't make this stuff up...

This past Sunday, Randy and I went out to eat with his parents and brother, Jim, to celebrate Father's Day and our wedding anniversary. That's the only way we really see his family: out at a restaurant feeding our faces. On this particular visit, we were supposed to eat at a steakhouse, but Carol got there late due to church responsibilities. So, meeting at a steakhouse at 12:30 on Father's Day didn't work out so well. The wait was over 45 minutes and not worth it, so we decided to go to Fazoli's instead. For those of you who don't know what Fazoli's is, it can easily be understood in a simple analogy. Fazoli's is to the Italian food world as McDonald's is to the hamburger world. Fast, unhealthy, food-like substances.

So, we've done our ordering at the front counter of Fazoli's, and we're now sitting down waiting for our buzzers to go off to pick up the food. We're sitting silently at the table. Usually, if I don't make small talk, or Carol doesn't have something to say, silence will prevail. I didn't feel like being a chatty Cathy, and Carol, I guess, didn't have much to say at that moment. Silence. Then, Carol thinks of something. She's gotten us an anniversary card and wants Jim to go get it from the car. Jim retrieves it, and Randy opens it. There's $50 and a nice card. Geez. She doesn't need to do this. She never needs to do this. But she always does. She can't afford it. It's so unnecessary. We make more than double Don and Carol's combined incomes, so I feel bad taking the money. She insists. Thank you's are exchanged. Carol now becomes talkative, and this is how she begins the conversation...

"I'm mad at our President right now..." Great. I'm thinking there's going to be something about the oil spill or some crazy right-winged agenda that will soon follow that introduction. She goes on to say, "He didn't put a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier like all the other presidents have done." Hm. The poor guy (Obama) just can't make anyone happy, especially my mother-in-law. Yes, of all the crazy sh** that's going on in this world, that's a great thing to get mad about. Geez.

But we were saved from the rest of that conversation by Carol's phone ringing. It was Randy's other brother, Bob. Carol, who is one of those people who speak increasingly louder when she talks on cell phone, is practically broadcasting the conversation over the Fazoli's loudspeaker. Then, she ends the call with "Do you want to talk to Randy?" And promptly, without Bob's answer, hands the phone to Randy. Annoyed, Randy says, "I'll call you later." I know he's thinking it's ridiculous to hold a conversation with someone on a telephone during a lunch with others around. But, Carol interprets this as Randy having a secret agenda to discuss with Bob without the presence of his parents. She's always thinking that we get together with Bob and his family behind her back.

After that wonderful display, we go one to talk about other appropriate lunchtime topics: Jim's lack of health insurance, Jim's spending money at movie theaters every week, Carol's disgust with the school's sub list freeze, etc. At this time, we've gotten our food and have started to eat. Randy and I both got spaghetti. Carol is eating the platter meal, which comes with three large samples of food. She's already put down a salad. And she's got her hand on a breadstick. She takes a large bite of the undercooked, garlic butter-soaked breadstick and says, "These breadsticks are so luscious." At this point, I can't hold it in anymore. Randy can't either. We both laugh. Yes, Fazoli's, the fast-food Italian chain restaurant, is the definition of "luscious." I chime in with my sarcasm, "They're gourmet." I think I've heard it all.

I have to change the subject, or I'm going to die laughing. So, I go to my go-to phrase, "So, is there anything new with you guys? I haven't talked to you in a while." Randy automatically gives me "the look." This look means that I've committed the cardinal sin. I've opened up an opportunity for Don to discuss all of his problems.... and he doesn't disappoint. "Well," Don starts, "the doctors said my kidney is doing better. It was at 106. It was supposed to be at 102. Now, it's down to 104." *Whew* That could have been bad. I was thinking there would be talk about finding kidney stones in urine, having water-filled ankles, etc. But that was good news. No complaining, which is quite unusual. Okay. Not bad. "I do have this flaky skin that's on my arm. I keep picking it off, but it keeps coming back" Don says next. I hang my head. Oh God. In my mind, my plate of food soon becomes flaky skin pieces. I can't eat anymore. Where do these people come from? Who does that? My in-laws.

We stay and talk a bit longer, and I'm thankful that most of the other families around us have cleared out (was that because of us? can't be sure). Right before we go, Carol asks Jim to go up and get one more breadstick. "Would you eat one more?" She asks Don. He himhaws around and says yes. "GET TWO, JIMMY!" She yells across the restaurant, because Jim is almost up at the counter at this point. He brings back two. They inhale their 3rd (luscious) breadstick. And we're up to leave.

"How can we get your parents to live closer?" Randy says as we get into our car. "You need to get on that."


EWebey said...

LOL...I'm sorry.
I hope your meal at El Mezcal on Saturday was a lot better!! :D