Thursday, January 24, 2008

I love California

I screech to a halt just outside the restaurant to leave skid marks by the entrance. I take a deep breath before meeting my pals for dinner. It’s a posh restaurant so I obey the dress code: ‘shoes and shirt required.’

“Hello! Long time no see!” is my original opening. My pals are well turned out, as casual Californian attire is an art form.
“Hey you look flustered?”
“Do I? I thought I remembered to breathe?”
“Sit down. Take the weight off.” I plop into the empty chair and beam. The bliss of grown up people. A server snaps a napkin onto my lap and commences his spiel about the specials on offer tonight. Jack. Jack is a snappy dresser himself and the hand gestures that accompany his short order description is lengthy and purple in style: enrobed, glazed with a tincture of lemon rind zest. No doubt it will arrive tied in a knot or something more exotic. “So can I start you ladies off with some beverages?” he grins. We send him away with an order full of fizz and ice and no alcohol for the drivers. It’s a pity we’re all drivers.
“So did you break the speed limit to get here?”
“Er no… know me, I always tow the line, too much of a scaredy cat to speed.”
“Just look at the menu Maddy. We want to order before we die of starvation.” I open the menu the size of a broadsheet, nip to the fish section and select, “done.”
“Already? What are you going to have?”
“Bouillabaisse followed by mussels in white wine.”
“Is anyone having dessert? Who else is having a starter?” They all vote for dessert and to skip the starter. We await the waiter.
“Did the baby sitter turn up on time?”
“Did you have trouble leaving the house?”
“Nope! Easy peasy. I skipped out during pizza.” The waiter waits on us as they all slowly plod through a minefield of indecision. My turn. “I’ll have the Mussels in White Wine and the Bouillabaisse for dessert please.” He looks up from his note pad, frowns ever so slightly and then returns to his scribbles.
“Did you have a tough day?”
“No, not really. Actually no, I had a great day. How about you?”
“Oh well……fine I guess.”
“So Jenny couldn’t make it afterall?” I ask them all collectively. Collectively they squirm, “no……she’s probably the only person who’s busier than you.”
“Too true, too true. Working mother’s deserve medals.”
“Are you sure you’re o.k.?”
“Who me? Yes. I’m fine.” They look from one to another, a conspiracy. “What is it? What’s up?”
“Nothing really…….we were just wondering how you are, how you really are?”
“I’m fine. I just said so.” I wonder whether the words that I think are managing to come out of my mouth successfully. “Didn’t I just say that I was fine?”
“You did.”
“O.k. that’s good.” The server plants a large basket of bread in the centre of the table, my exit cue, “I’ll just nip to the restroom….you know……retainer!” I explain waggling my pink retainer case to dispel confusion. I skate over to the bathroom where a woman titivates in front of the mirror. Her mascara clad eye lashes look me up and down with a hint of disapproval. I skulk into a stall rather than use the mirror next to her to unlock my teeth and expose them to the fresh California air. I pop it in the box and flush the loo. She’s still there when I come out. She snaps her make-up bag shut and drops it into her purse with a flourish. I step towards the sink to wash my hands, the third sink, the one furthest away from her. She sniffs and departs. I wish those retainer boxes didn’t resemble something else. I remember the dentist’s incredulity, “it looks like a what?”
“Um…you know….?”
“A what box?”
“The kind of box you put your diaphragmme in.”
“A diaphragmme?”
“Er….cervical cap?” What is the right word in America?
“What sort of a cap?”
“You know…..contraception?”
“Oh….does anybody use them anymore?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you use one?”
“Then you’ve got nothing to worry about, you’re not gonna get them muddled.” I leave the restroom in Ms. Beauty’s wake and return to my table with my retainer.
“What kept you?”
“There was a queue.”
“No not really I lied, anyway hasn’t Jack turned up with the feast yet?”
“No. It’s really busy tonight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so busy. Are you very busy these days?”
“You know…..busy……tired…..distracted perhaps?”
“No more than usual.” I look up at them with my mouth full of bread as I attempt mastication in public. They in turn are all looking at me. I look from one, to the other to the other until my mouth is empty, “what is wrong with you all?”
“It’s you!”
“Me? What about me?”
“Why are you wearing your slippers Maddy?”

Good question.


kristen said...

Yep. I've done it. A few times. But I usually catch myself on the driveway.

flutter said...

have you figured it out yet? *grin*

frog ponds rock... said...

great post.. I thought it was because you asked for the bouillabaisse for dessert...hehehehe slippers.. at least your feet were

Michelle O'Neil said...

So funny!

zhadi said...

It was like a chapter out of a chicklit novel! Which is a compliment, btw. Very funny!

Robin said...

I never realized you had another blog! I've been missing out all this time.

And no wonder I like you so much. We're obviously kindred spirits. I've lost count of the number of times I've found myself out and about in my slippers LOL.

The Anti-Wife said...

Hey, at least you were comfortable! Hope the meal was good.

Angela said...

Oh Maddy... I am sorry but I must admit that brought me a good laugh.. I haven't done that..yet.

crunchy carpets said...

Almost done ..not quite.
Wore my crocks out in public after swearing I wouldn't.


Wonderful World of Weiners said...

You are NEVER too old to happy dance!! But if you insist you are the cheer will be GLADLY accepted!!

THANKS!!! :-)


Mrs. G. said...

I would like video of you dancing. I'll be back.

painted maypole said...

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

did they REALLY take that long to tell you???

thanks for stopping by my blog!

painted maypole said...

oh, Maddy... oops, if I had scrolled all the way down I would have realized you are the same maddy I know and love from Whittier on Autism. Sorry. I've never been to this blog before. lovely.

Joker The Lurcher said...

i have a friend who is a very successful lawyer - he dresses in very fancy, very expensive suits, but unless its raining he will wear his tweedy tartan slippers to go to a restaurant. so you are not alone...

Whitenoise said...

I hope they were the big, fuzzy kind, with some sort of furry animal on 'em. ;-)

Marita said...

Fantastic! :grin: Thankyou for making me feel not so alone in this crazy slipper wearing in public world.

Cynthia Samuels said...

That's a pretty gutsy story to tell on yourself. Funny, too.
The whole time I lived in LA I felt inadequate - they really spend a lot of money on their looks and bodies. But they can't write like you, slippers (glass or other) or otherwise....

buffalodickdy said...

If you were a guy, it's having your fly open...Did that once, on a joint sales call with my new boss. When we get out of the meeting, he says "Do you know what you just did? I told him, "You sell steel your way, and I'll sell it my way"...I bet you're pretty cool...

Attila The Mom said...

Oh geez, I can't stop laughing!!

I was once on my way to a meeting and halfway down the mountain before I realized that my bra was still sitting in the dryer (the undies load hadn't been quite done when I got out of my shower so I thought I'd get dressed and put it on before I went out the door).

I kept my purse hugged to my chest the entire time. They must thought I was a nut! LOL

Shellie said...

Ha, ha! Someone even worse than me. Love it!

Chris H said...

Never done it... hope they matched your outfit! Hope they were not screaming bright pink or green!!! LOL

Mary Alice said...

Bless your heart! You poor thing, it did make me laugh though!

Domestic Goddess said...

I went to a parent meeting a few weeks back. Wearing my slippers. Had no idea until someone told me they liked the shoes I was wearing. Thank goodness we live in hippyville, where it is en vogue to wear leather-fleece-lined shoes...

Hammer said...

Wearing slippers in public is pretty normal around here. I wouldn't have given it a second thought.

I've walked into the grocery store forgetting to remove my black plastic mouth guard. I always wonder what people are looking at then have to nonchalantly slip the thing into my pocket.

Jocelyn said...

I was waiting for the, er, shoe to drop--wasn't sure what charming eccentricity you must've been sporting (I was voting for a penned-on mustache you'd forgotten to wash off).

My favorite moment in the post? When the retainer gets a taste of CA air.

You are always brill.

Maddy said...

My moustache isn't penned on, but it's still permanent!

melody is slurping life said...

I'm loving you more each time I read. are a breath of fresh CA air.