Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love over lo mein

This evening, my husband took me out for dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant in these parts. It is beautifully decorated and they play soft classical music -- lots of J.S. Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart -- over their speakers and their food is delicious. It is also inexplicably cheap.

Two things of note happened while we were dining:

The first thing is that I dipped my egg roll in a small puddle of Chinese mustard I'd put on my plate for that purpose, but continued talking to my husband throughout the dipping process, so that by the time I (long-windedly) got finished with what I was saying, I'd forgotten about the first act of dippage and went for the second dip. The resulting bite of egg roll nearly made my sinuses implode. I thought my head was going to turn into a flaming skull and start shrieking around the room like a helium balloon with the gas released, only scary-looking. Anyway, the allergy medicine I take at night? Well, I don't think I'll be needing it. Maybe for the next two years.

The second thing that happened is that the Tall Family came in. I'm talking about a man who was about 6'6 and his wife, who was about 6'2. They had their two daughters with them, one who was as tall as I was and the other, who wasn't much shorter. I figured that they were probably a first grader and a pre-schooler, all vertical things considered. They were very nice looking people, very stately and dignified. I thought that maybe they were somehow related to Legolas, Arwen, Elrond and Galadriel.

Anyhoo, Mrs. Tall did a very curious thing. She rummaged around in her large handbag (a Chanel knockoff) and brought out a plastic canister of anti-bacterial wipes and a pump bottle of Purex hand sanitizer. The family stood back, making sure not to touch anything, and the missus went over the entire surface of the tabletop with an antibacterial cloth. Then she did the chair seats with another cloth. And, I kid you not, she wiped down the ladder backs of the chairs. I AM NOT KIDDING. No matter what you're thinking, I am telling you the truth.

After she had wiped down their table (I thought she was going to come over to me and my husband and spray us with a Flit gun full of bleach solution), her family lined up solemnly in front of her and each received a squirt of Purex onto one upturned palm. At this point, I had abandoned my manners and was staring in frank amazement, a bit of lo mein falling out of my mouth onto my plate.

"Hark, yon germophobes," I whispered to my husband, indicating the Tall Family with a gesture of my head. "They are not only tall, they are very, very clean."

"When they come and sit back down, do you think I should start coughing?" he asked wickedly.

Mrs. Tall had left the canister of wipies on the table -- maybe she planned to start on the wall behind their table after she ate -- and I noticed the little Chinese server looking at it in bemusement as she set down a little tray with their bill and four fortune cookies on it.

I wanted desperately to see if she'd wipe off the tray and the cookie wrappers with an antibacterial wipe, but I never got the chance. Mr. Tall's shoulder was in the way.

My fortune cookie said this: "Be prepared to accept a great opportunity that will come your way."

I can hardly wait.

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