Monday, September 02, 2013

In Which I Stay Out of Trouble

We went to the beach this weekend, mostly, I think, to see if we could. To reassure ourselves that we would not be stuck at home for the rest of our lives, and to remind ourselves how nice home is. We got there and back all in one piece, so I suppose we succeeded. We built a sand castle, or at least a Sand Lump. We got the kite up in the air, briefly. We visited the nature center. I even took the camera with batteries, although it may be next year before I download the pictures.

One area we really lucked out was in a hotel with a full breakfast--not a wimpy offering of bagels and orange juice, but the full deal with eggs and bacon and everything, constantly replenished for two and a half hours. This made the children happy, as they got to eat cold cereal in unnatural colors. And it made me happy, except for the effort wasted on packing breakfast food.

For Labor Day weekend the hotel was booked solid and this morning the breakfast room was packed. The petite lady who seemed to be running the hotel all but single-handedly had kindly placed us in a room right next to the short staircase down into the breakfast room, so that DOB could walk down the stairs when he didn't want to use the wheelchair and elevator. However, when we got into the breakfast room that day and there was nowhere to sit, he went back upstairs to await developments while the children wandered around rootless with yogurt cups.

Finally I spotted a tiny table with three seats that seemed to be clearing. I stood beside it for a moment to see if it really was or someone had just gotten up with refills. A woman with an accent that I will not try to classify better than non-English-speaking European asked me, "Are you leaving this one?"

"I'm just seeing if it's available," I said. She wandered off.

A moment later, I saw that a large table was coming clear. I walked over to it. The same woman--the funny thing was, she looked rather like me, not doppelganger similar but enough that if a police description had gone out we both would have been picked up--was suddenly there again.

"I'm taking this table," she said, "You wanted that other one."

"Not really," I said, "This one would work better for us." (At the moment the children and yogurt cups had wandered off.)

"There are five of us right here," she said, "My husband is here." (He appeared to be trying to settle her down, unsuccessfully.)

"I have four small children and my husband can't walk," I said. She was completely unimpressed even by the disability card. I was more than a little annoyed. And then suddenly the mental picture of two middle-aged women duking it out in a restaurant breakfast room over a table overtook my anger with amusement.

Later I wished I could have thought of something very gracious, or very cutting, to say. But both failed me. I just said, "Fine, take it."  And went back to the three-seat table.

Whereupon the children and yogurt cups reappeared and complained about the shortage of chairs. But within a few minutes the next small table over opened up and we squished them together and DOB rejoined us and we had a decent breakfast after all, though we didn't get in line too close behind the other family.

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