Went to eat Chinese the other night. That’s about the extent of ethnic restaurants in my town. Mexican doesn’t count as ethnic because it’s practically the majority culture. Went with my little brother and his wife Nina. We were going to meet a friend of his there—someone he’s known for a long time in town—and his wife. Much to our surprise, there were 3 people sitting at the table when we arrived.
Oh yeah. That’s right. Someone thought Uncle Leon needed a date. No, really, I’m handling this single life quite well, but everyone seems to think I’m a sad charity case. “Leon needs a good woman.”
Now I know Lamar had nothing to do with this. It’s not his style. I suspect it was his friend’s wife trying to play matchmaker. And the “extra woman” was her older sister, who was about 5 years younger than me but seemed like she was 15 years older. Yeah, That really interests me.
I was the oldest person there, but I felt like the youngest. Everyone was talking kids and sounding so much like PARENTS. Isn’t it strange how being in the wrong kind of company can bring something out in someone you know well so that you don’t recognize them? That’s sort of how I felt about Lamar and his wife. Do I know these PARENTS? Why yes, that’s my kid brother and my sister-in-law! They act nothing like that when I’m alone with them and their kids.
But the Blind Date Sister? What a trip. She seemed congenial at first, but then I realized every joke she cracked or anything she laughed about was all framed in self-deprecating humor, which isn’t so bad by itself, because lots of good commedians use it. But hers was a new breed of it all together. It wasn’t just self-deprecating humor, but self-deprecating humor that deprecated all of us, not just her.
Let me see if I can give some examples. Like when the waiter was describing one of the dishes she had asked about, and it sounded quite big and filling, she laughed and said “well, we certainly don’t need THAT! (belly slap, laugh laugh ha ha)”. Who is this we? Maybe I don’t care about my expanding beer gut which is actually quite small for a middle-aged man.
And when the waiter was seating our party at the table that they were sitting at, he said something like…”gentleman waiting for you with two lovely ladies”. Well, Blind Date Sister heard that and she said “Well he can’t be talking about us!” (slaps sister’s arm laugh laugh ha ha) I would guess her sister would really hate that, but maybe she’s used to it.
There were other comments she made that had that tone that I can’t remember right now, but it was enough to really get me thinking that anyone hanging around her would really start to experience low self-esteem, not because she would belittle them, but because of her use of “we” and “us” when she belittled herself, like she thought herself so unworthy and a loser that anyone else who was related to her or friends with her was surely unworthy and a loser themselves, so naturally she would use the all-inclusive WE.
Let me just mention that I hate it when you eat Chinese and you’re with other people you’ve eaten Chinese with before and you’re all set to get something everyone can enjoy because that’s the point of eating Chinese is to try a little of everything and eat communally, but there are always some people who don’t come from that tradition and they have to get a dish that’s all for them and them only. Nina, Lamar and I shared our dishes. The other 3 didn’t.
I hadn’t originally ordered anything alcoholic to drink—actually, Blind Date Sister took it upon herself to let our waiter know in no uncertain terms “We don’t need THOSE extra calories!” (laugh laugh ha ha kneeslap), but by the end of the dinner, I ordered myself a LARGE Sake. After all, Lamar was driving and he’d been drinking iced tea all night. Everyone at the table gave me a strange look—Lamar and Nina because they know I’m not a big drinker and the others because, well, it was strange to order a large Sake at the end of a meal. Or maybe they’re from one of those non-drinking Xtian cults, although I can’t imagine Lamar being good friends with someone like that.
But I had to have a drink. I just couldn’t take Blind Date Sister. I wanted to just leave and walk home, but that wouldn’t be fair to my little brother who was just as surprised at her presence as I was. Lamar had let me know earlier that evening before we went to the restaurant that dinner was on him, and I assume he meant he’d pay for his friend’s and his wife’s meal as well, but upon seeing the uninvited guest, that was a gamechanger. At the end of the meal we all counted out our cash and put it in a big pile in the middle of the table, which never works. Everytime I’ve eaten that way with a bunch of people we’re always short, as we were that evening. And I KNOW, I just KNOW Blind Date Sister didn’t put in her fair share.
Maybe because I worked as a waiter for a short time in college and a little bit afterward, but I am in complete solidarity with all waiters and waitresses of the world and tip damn well. So I stayed behind at the table and did my best through my Sake-induced fog to count the money, add 20%, and make up the difference from my own wallet. Then Lamar came back, saw me struggling with math, and gave me a $20 to help. Blind Date Sister gave me a strange look as we were leaving, maybe she thought I was taking some of the money, however it couldn’t be further from the truth.
One thing about having to meet people in this town is that you’ll most likely see them again. Fortunately, Blind Date Sister is from another town in the general valley area, so I probably won’t run into her again. I hopefully made a bad impression, or at least a non-impression as I was rather quiet throughout the whole meal, so that if I have a social event with Lamar’s friend and his wife again, she won’t be along for the ride.
Now everyone repeat after me, Leon does not need a blind date thank you very much.