Monday, December 3, 2012

A Portlandia Moment

Just when we thought we caught a break from bussing the kids to various sporting activities, winter basketball strikes again!  Kaylee's third grade team had a "jambouree" this weekend over on the East Side and basically had back to back games until after lunch.

I'm thoroughly convinced that the ACTUAL definition of a "jambouree" is a day long sporting event where your youngest child is only willing to watch about 30 seconds of one game and spends the rest of the morning and early afternoon begging you, BEGGING you, to play on your iPhone.  Nothing says mom of the year like shoving an electronic in my kid's face to shut him the hell up.

Like moths to a flame, if any of the other younger sibs busts out an iPad, DS, or cell phone the kids all gather around and watch.  I don't know why it is a fun time for kids to watch other kids play games, but perhaps it's just that they are hypnotized by the pretty lights.  Who knows.

Because we were on the east side ALL morning, we didn't really get to do much but snack so by the time the games were done both children (and husband) were ravenously hungry and unwilling to wait to eat until we got home. 

Mark drove around while the kids fought, I ignored them and tried to find a place to eat.  We had heard of this great place on the east side (whose name I will not mention because I really do love this place and plan to go back, and I want to be sure they let me in the door!) and BOOM it popped up on the little mappy thing on Mark's phone so we pulled in.

Never having been there before we didn't see the other, more larger parking lot until later on.  There were two spaces left in the whole upper lot.  The largest and most SPACIOUS of spaces of course is reserved for that one in 100,000 cars in Portland that needs a charge in between uses.  And it was FRONT ROW baby.  Front row.  Not even people with a handicapped sticker get front row on the east side, unless they drive an electric car.

The other space left over was rather small.  As with all parking spaces in the greater Portland metro area they are designed for only a Smart Car to park there.  You know those little two-seat cars that are basically a golf cart with a delicious hard candy shell?  Yes, those cars.

I didn't feel TOO bad as we parked between a Toyota 4 door truck and a Yukon, and we were in my little white Kia, but all the same we couldn't even open our doors all the way, which made for a pretty funny visual watching our family try and get out of the car.

I think we had "suburban" family written all over us, and the lady that took us to our table put us, the family of four, right by the back door so that every time another group of diners came in we felt the arctic blast of the outdoors.  Mind you, the place was NOT that busy, it was well after the lunch rush.  It was while we were seated at that table that we realized there was another parking lot.  But really, people, if you drive anything larger than a Prius you're screwed for parking in this town no matter what.

We sat down, checked out the menu (OMG so many tasty options) and ordered drinks.  Both kids had been up late the night before, watching a movie with Mark and I and totally gorging on popcorn and then they got up ass crack early, so you can imagine how well things were going with them being tired and hungry and all.  That's ALWAYS a pleasure.

Our waiter brought us drinks and we settled in to wait for our food.  As always, about 30 seconds after our order was taken the kids started asking when our food would come out.  Everything in this place is locally grown, source, and organic so I told them they might be awhile as they were going to have to slaughter the cow and dig up the potatoes from the garden for their fries.  They were in no mood for sarcasm.

Knowing that this place is billed as a "sustainable" business it was a bit surprising that they offered paper napkins and plastic cups for the kids, but at the time I didn't really give it much thought.

As is nearly ALWAYS the case, one of my children spilled a drink.  Theirs of course came with a plastic cover on top and I ordered just water, so the drink that got tossed was Mark's sustainable root beer.

I'm sure I've mentioned that the little boy was a little on the worn out side, so as soon as the drink went flying he totally started crying and saying "I don't deserve to go tonight!"  (we had an invitation to a birthday party that evening) and just totally freaking out.

I did what any quick-thinking suburban mom would do, whose son was coming unhinged while the root beer seeped out over the floor in the path of wait staff delivering food to hungry patrons:  I grabbed a stack of paper napkins!  Truly, there was no one at the counter when I went to ask for a towel, I really really did plan to get a towel.

But in that moment of the entire restaurant of people watching this scene unfold, I figured time was a-wasting and I'd better get moving to clean it up and reassure my son of his worth as a human being.

I kid you not, the mess was almost completely cleaned up by the time our waiter came over with his little yellow towel, most of it had been mopped up by what he probably thinks is a big ass case of napkins (but probably was maybe a half a package).

He proceeded to repeat not once, not twice, not thrice, but FOUR TIMES:  "I've got this!  Stop wasting napkins.  You're wasting napkins.  Stop wasting napkins.  I've got this.  You are wasting napkins, stop!"  He probably dabbed up 1/8 of the mess, I was almost done for shit's sake.  And I'm a grown ass woman, I don't need people to REPEAT things four times for me, my kids yes, me no.  I heard him the first time!

I am sure he could feel every little tree branch around shudder with terror as we used a handful of paper napkins made of recycled fiber.  The dude clearly is NOT a parent, or he would totally get why a mom (or dad) would grab the first available item for mopping and get it done quickly before the kid completely fell apart out of guilt and embarassment.

Honestly, I felt like the whole damn restaurant was watching us, and judging us, with a tsk tsk and "can you BELIEVE that mom used paper napkins?" and  "Oh my GAWD what was she thinking?"  or "well, how many trees did SHE just kill?"

I think the most mortifying part of it was just the nonstop lecture from the waiter as if I am a total dumbass woman with no concept of conservation and sustainability.  If you and your happy little towel had been handy, jackass, I wouldn't have needed the napkins.  And if you don't want people to USE the napkins, don't put them out.  Just sayin'.

So Mark and I have completely written an episode of Portlandia based on this experience, and I'll post it once it has been completely rejected by Fred & Carrie (totally on a first name basis since they filmed in our 'hood last summer, not to same drop or anything).

And it is a doozie, I've got to tell you.  But I'll never publish the name of the restaurant because I want to go back and they might permanently ban me from going there!  Head on over to the east side, though, if you want to have a quintessential Portlandia experience.  They.  Are.  EVERYWHERE.

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