Thursday, October 16, 2014

Undomesticated and germaphobic?

Last Friday was our 11th anniversary and we (predictably) had dinner at Story. Normally we sit at the bar, have a couple of drinks, eat a small dinner, usually have dessert and just generally enjoy being there. Occasionally we’ll actually make reservations and sit at a proper table. I say all that just to set the stage: we were at a table, so we could see parts of the restaurant we normally don’t see.

I first noticed the man—probably in his late 30s—because he was wearing scrubs and a surgical mask and latex or some other sort of protective gloves. He joined a woman who’d been sitting at a high top in the bar area; she had a small girl who was probably about four years old, and a boy of maybe eight. The man took the mask and gloves off before he came in the restaurant, which is really what caught my eye.

I faced their table so could see the whole scene: both parents wearing scrubs, both children being quite loud and rambunctious and running around, and an older woman (maybe a grandmother?) ineffectually trying to get the kids to settle down.

I should mention this isn’t what you’d call a family style restaurant. You go there for the award winning food, the amazing wine or drinks and the grown up atmosphere. It’s not the kind of restaurant with either kids’ menus or kids’ portions.

The woman finally collected the little girl and left the man, the grandmother and the boy still there. I watched as the boy walked along the edge of the window (floor to ceiling, I might add so he was on the bottom rail) and plastered his sticky hands all over the glass. I could see lots and lots of palm prints where before the glass had been clean. It was, in a way, like watching a train wreck. They didn’t leave for another 20 minutes or so, and when they did, the man put on his mask again, and dragged out the gloves and put them on too.

We moved to the bar after that, to enjoy one more drink together. I said something to the bartender about that family—and it turns out they come in and do this every Friday night. Wow, I was shocked. I mean, seriously, there is no way I’d have let my kids behave like that in any restaurant, let alone a really nice one like Story. And apparently the dad is quite the germophobe! He always wears the gloves and mask.

People are so strange.

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