In England I find that the establishments we frequent do no provide napkins without some positive request on behalf of the patron. I feel exceptionally grumpy as my brain has been turned to mush by the latest mantras:- “Roger! Over and out!” with accompanying hand gestures and microphone voice, interspersed with “intruder alert! Intruder alert! Intruder alert!” in perfect Dalek, every time someone comes too close.
I know I shall be a complete basket case by the end of the day or deaf.
We sit in the cafÃ© by the beach in the rain, a picture of misery, although that's probably just me.
The first time my exceptionally clean son helps himself to a wad of paper, I lecture him on recycling, deforestation and scarce resources. “Intruder alert! Intruder alert! Intruder alert!”
As usual, no-one is listening. “Roger! Over and out!”
I stomp back to the counter in a huff to return them to the dispenser.
Back at our table I find my older son, the filthy one, wiping his mouth on his T-shirt with a fully exposed tummy. I immediately spout on the subject of unnecessary laundry, water and detergent usage with thinly disguised grumpiness. I plod back to the counter for one more leaf of napkin.
When I return the little one grins at me, “intruder alert! Intruder alert! Intruder alert!” I expect a sense of humour failure very shortly, but I cannot see his brother, with his face hidden by a bowl as he licks the platter clean to the wrathful glances of other guests. I show him my best pouty expression with hands on hips for extra emphasis when he volunteers, “save trees use tongue!”
I shall resolve to try harder to avoid typecasting my children.
“Roger! Over and out!”
p.s. to newbies – it is important to note the following [ a few years ago]
a] I would not have been able to help anyone to go to the cafe in the first place
b] no food would have been acceptable
c] no conversation of any kind would have ensued [reciprocal exchange]
d] everyone, including me, would be unhappy about this ‘choice.’
e] no-one would have eaten anything
f] we would have been asked [politely] to leave
g] I could not have left them ‘alone’ at the table for a nano second
conclusion – things change in ways that you may never have anticipated
p.p.s jus luv em [feel free to admire my American accent!]