Note: names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Last night we went out to dinner with a group of friends. Actually, our friend Kevin was visiting from out of town and he wanted to get together with a couple of friends, John and Tara. (Note: they’re not a couple) Kevin suggested we all go to dinner. Sounds good. The plan, last I heard, was we’d go to dinner at 6:00 then come home to watch a movie. Great!
We walk into the restaurant and I learn our reservations, that Kevin made, were for 7:30PM. You must be joking? And the reservations aren’t for five – they’re now for a party of ten. Oy, my third eye is starting to twitch. Mentally, I tick off who I think was invited and who I think will actually show up.
Into the bar we go and I immediately order a double vodka/tonic with a lime. It’s not that I don’t like going out to dinner with people. It’s when you have to sit around for 90 minutes beforehand, chatting and acting like you care….with people you rarely associate with ….in a bar that’s too loud so you’re yelling at each other…..or nodding your head like you understand a word they’re saying, when you have no clue….it’s too much effort some nights.
Thank god for the bars that have tvs in every corner. I mentally zone out. It doesn’t matter what’s on…sports, world news, stock reports…I’m focused on what color combination is coming up on the next reporter. (Now and again I get lucky and it’s a UFC fight, which I totally love.) Once in awhile I zone back into a conversation to see if I’ve missed anything but truth be told, I can’t even hear Kevin, whose sitting across from me. I know he’s telling a story about his newborn baby, which I’m pretty sure I have already heard, so I zone back out into my own little world…all the while thinking to myself…shoot me.
Cases like this, when someone invites a group of people together, there’s always a few that never show up. It wouldn’t matter if you traveled across Africa in a wool coat to see them, with a goat offering over your shoulders, they still wouldn’t come out of their house to acknowledge you. If given the invite list before hand I could have wagered a bet and been correct on who wouldn’t attend. Drives me nuts. They view themselves so far up the ladder of life, the peasants and peons of the commoners are nothing but lint on their trousers. Give me a break.
I zone back into the conversation and John’s wife Mary has arrived and she’s in a deep discussion with Kevin and Tracy about breast pumps and baby feeding schedules. Not that she has a baby, she just really, really wants one. Zoning out again….hey, look, I haven’t seen those pictures of the tsunami yet.
It’s now almost 8:00pm and we’re still sitting in the bar. Apparently, the table that we’re scheduled for has a group that won’t leave. I offer to get up and go have a word with this over-staying group but was ignored. Tracy can’t decide if it’s okay to order appetizers or not and she’s starving, as are most at the table. I’m tired and turning crabby after sitting for TWO HOURS… I make the executive decision and suggest she order them. Last I looked our hands weren’t broken and we can carry the appetizers to our table if necessary. How difficult can it be? One foot in front of the other and don’t drop the plate. The server already said it was fine. It’s not like you’re trying to decide if you should get a nose piercing. If you’re hungry, I’d rather you order something than to keep eyeballing the lime wedge in my drink.
Now our conversation has moved into the sleep schedule of Kevin’s newborn. Yep, got it. Again. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s exciting to hear about the baby and all the new adventures and see the pictures. I’m delighted for them – honest! However when you’re hosting the person at your house you can only hear the same stories so many times before your eyeballs start to bleed.
I tried talking to my better half, however he’s hard of hearing and being in a loud bar….well, you can imagine. I have to lean in and talk into his ear. Which makes me think people are wondering if we’re talking about them. Not that I give a crap. I’ve been looking for one of those old fashioned ear cones they used to use in the dark ages for when you were hard of hearing. Then it wouldn’t be so obvious…you think?
Finally, our table is ready. Now I’m pondering….I could say I’m going to the bathroom and then wander out to the car. I could sleep in the backseat. I’m dog tired. Partly because my Mom, along with our family on the east coast, woke us up at 4:00AM to warn us about the tsunami hitting Alaska. We didn’t get squat in Juneau, I’m thankful.
At the table, I request an end seat for quick escape and order another vodka/tonic. By this point in the evening I’m so tired I’m thinking I’ll injure myself if I have to use a steak knife for anything.
Now that we’re in the restaurant, in a corner booth, there’s no mental escape. We turned out to only be a group of six. Surprise, surprise. The conversation goes into guess what topic….babies. Out of the six people at the table only one has a baby – Kevin.
Tracy wanted to know what names they had picked out if it was a girl? Kevin said they hoped for a girl, but a boy was planted and you can only imagine their excitement. Kevin, bless his heart, again explained how life changing and exhausting it is to have a baby. We just can’t imagine. I’m thinking to myself: buddy, there’s a reason I don’t have any kids…because they are so exhausting – I’m not stupid. Review again the sleep schedule and waking schedule and feeding schedule.
Next up it was about how Kevin has to help his wife Martha as he’s unable to breast feed, but she does use the pump, so he can do bottle feeding. Tracy and Mary agreed that is the time to really bond with your baby during bottle time. Kevin spoke about how he has to now help around the house and he’s not used to that, but Martha is really focused on the baby so it the best he can do.
Would it have been rude to bring a book? How about a laptop? I take out my notebook and make a note about this evening for this blog entry.
Tracy talked about how mutual friends of ours just had a baby and they’re not letting any parents in to see the newborn for three weeks, so they can establish a routine. Everyone agrees this is a good idea and Mary confirms she’s already told her mother about it. Mary continues on about how they’re ready to have kids and can’t wait. She has always wanted a Pointer Deluxe Carriage or whatever it is and can’t wait to get started. John, her husband, who is 15 years older, just looks at her, smiles and gives her a kiss on the head.
Next up the details of the delivery. Really? Again. Second time tonight actually. Where’s the popcorn? Tracy talks about how her husband doesn’t want her to go through all that pain, which is why they haven’t had kids yet. Personally, I think they probably haven’t given up smoking pot yet. Then she shares a story about a friend of her’s delivery and I start to fondle my fork….if I jerk it up fast enough maybe I can stab my neck with it…make it look like an accident.
The meal arrives and I can’t hardly finish the Cobb Salad, I’m exhausted from all the energetic baby talk. Yet all I can think is: where’s the avocado? I don’t care at this point. Another friend joins the group and announces they’re expecting their second baby in August. Yeah everyone! My better half announces our neighbor, who everyone knows, is due in September. Yeah everyone! Since someone new has joined the table, Kevin is obligated to review the exhausting life changing events of having a baby and the feeding, sleeping, waking, pumping, diaper changing schedule. Now I’m thinking, if we don’t get out of here soon I’m going to strangle myself with my shoestring….right here at the table.
Tracy actually says at one point to Kevin….”Don’t you wonder what you talked about before you had your baby? We can’t figure out what we talked about before we got our dog!”
It’s 9:30PM and time for us to go. We get in the car and before Kevin gets in I say to my better half, “I’m going to shoot myself if I have to listen to any more baby stories.” He’s like, “really?” I’m thinking he didn’t hear half of the conversations because his hearing is bad. For me, I’d rather go to the dentist then listen to 3.5 hours of baby stories.
Kevin gets in the car and tells us when he comes back to Juneau for our tourism convention in October, he’s going to bring the wife and baby so everyone can see them….would it be possible to stay with us?
I start to untie my shoe.