Meelyn had to work today, so Aisling and I went on a little shopping expedition to Hamilton Town Center; she had some birthday money burning a hole in her purse (her birthday's not until Friday, but we had her family party early due to Pat and Angie's vacation plans with the kids) and was longing to spend it. On what, you ask? Why, clothes! And makeup! And purses! And shoes! And bath and body unguents! And jewelry! And hair do-dads!
Me, I used to spend my birthday money on books, and when I informed Aisling of this, her eyes welled up with tears and she put a sympathetic hand on my arm and whispered, "Oh, Mommy, I'm so sorry."
Shopping wore us down to a fine frazzled version of our former energetic selves, so we stopped by Paradise Café to split a sandwich and chips and have a cold drink. We stopped by numerous times during the winter for their truly delicious (and surprisingly inexpensive) coffee, but this was the first time we'd ever eaten lunch there.
The Paradise Café is one of those places that looks like either Tuscany or a very pukka sahib Bangalore, it's hard to tell. It's a cute place in kind of a self-conscious way, but they bake their own giant croissants, so who am I to quibble. One thing that does bother me is that all the tables are really close together: it's not the kind of place where you'd want to tell your lunch companion about your last moustache waxing or how your pedicurist had to hone down the corns on your toes with a belt sander, know what I mean?
Anyway, we sat down at a table for two near this pig, who had just sat down with a large cup of iced tea and a book. It looked like she was waiting for some companions to come in, at least this was my surmisal since she was at a table for four. Since she was so close, I was right there watching her empty two packets of Splenda into her iced tea, take the paper off her straw wrapper, stir the tea and then take a drink. Nothing unusual so far, since this is an action often performed by many non-pigs around us.
What startled us so much is what she did next: The pig put the plastic lid back on her cup and then casually swept her torn-in-two Splenda papers and her straw wrapper onto the floor. Just....onto the floor.
I was raised in a household where it was strongly intimated that if I so much as let an stray eyelash blow off my cheek onto the grass, God would smite me. Remember that television commercial that featured the American Indian shedding a tear as he looked around at how polluted things were? Well, I took that commercial darned seriously, my friends. And we have raised our kids to be the same way. Eyelash fall out? Well, CATCH IT AND DISPOSE OF IT IN A TRASH RECEPTACLE, GIRRRRRRLS.
So when the pig pushed her trash off the table onto the floor, Aisling and I looked at the trash, looked at the pig and then looked at each other, mouths open like goldfish. We looked back at the trash.
"I'm just shocked," I said. "Shocked."
Aisling whispered, "She's all, like, 'Hello, Guatemalen immigrant working at a menial job, bend over and pick up my garbage because I'm too good to sit at a big table that has two torn Splenda packets and a straw paper on it. I am clean and tidy and you are here to serve.'"
"I know!" I said fervently. "I wonder what her house looks like?"
"Maybe she has help that comes in a couple of times a week to pick up her used tissues and coffee filters," Aisling hissed. "Or maybe every day."
I scrutinized the woman closely. "She doesn't have daily help; her handbag and her shoes aren't that great."
"It must be ankle-deep around her place."
Honestly, I couldn't take my eyes off that trash on the floor for the rest of the time we were there. I seriously wanted to tap her on the shoulder -- our tables were so close, I could have reached out and touched her -- and say, "Excuse me, you seem to have DROPPED SOMETHING" in a sweet voice, but darn you, Mom, for raising me to be all ladylike and long-suffering. Actually, I also wanted to slap her right in the back of the head, but I've heard that the authorities frown on that kind of thing, so I resisted. But I fumed silently and kinda-sorta sat there hoping that one of the walnuts in her chicken-apple salad would make one of her crowns fall off.
Other than that, our shared Paradise Club was very delicious and it even came with a complimentary chocolate chip cookie, which almost made up for having to sit next to a pig. Which I think is an insult to pigs, but if I called her what I really want to, my mother would call me to say indignantly, "I did NOT raise you to talk like that, YOUNG LADY."
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