Awkward? Party of One? I Can Seat You Now


Working at a restaurant has taught me kids come in two forms: the super cute, and the super hateable.

Sometimes, like when a little baby looks up at me, and spontaneously bursts into a huge face crinkling, toothless smile, I like them.  Other times, like when a kid’s  jumping on the seats of the booth shrieking like a God damn banchee; or when they’re sitting in a highchair taring a tomato sauce stained napkin to shreds and then throwing it in the air like confetti; or when they’re wiping their greasy little hands on the windows I just windexed, leaving a revolting streak of sticky film in the shape of an animal paw print hand  upon the once clean surface — at these times, I hate kids.

There is actually a third species of kid: the creepy kind. They’re pretty rare though.  But, when you encounter them, they make it count…

The dinner rush had ended, and my shift was settling nicely back into a nice boring little lull of inactivity.  I reached behind me and grabbed the copy of The Corrections that I had just taken out of the library the other day.  A friend had once told me that it’s a “really riveting book.”  I had somehow managed to drag myself across 160 pages of inanity, and was beginning to question both my friendship with this person, and whether or not a person could actually die of boredom, when I had the strangest sensation I was being watched.  Putting my book down, I craned my head in either direction to catch my peeping tom in action, but all I saw were oblivious dinner patrons scraping away at their meals.  A few tables away, a kid in a booster seat blew a snot bubble.

Still not convinced that I wasn’t being watched, I wearily picked up my book, and continued reading.

“A boy likes me.” A tiny voice bleated.  I ignored it.

“I said, a boy likes me.” This time, the voice tapped on the host desk for extra emphasis.  Leaning over the host stand, I finally made eye-contact with my voyeur.  A tiny girl with giant purple cat-eye framed glasses.  The lenses were so thick, her eyes seemed to take up half her face.

“Excuse me?” I responded.

“A boy.  Likes me.”  She repeated.  She tugged down on her bangs impatiently.

“Oh…”

“A boy likes me, and I like him.”

“Sarah? Oh, there you are.” A young frumpled looking woman rushed over to the host stand.  She smiled up at me apologetically.

“Mom, I’m telling her about the boy I like.” Sarah pushed her glasses back on to her face, leaving tiny little smudges on her enormous lenses.

“Huh, huh.”  Her mother laughed nervously, wiping the child’s spagghetti stained face.  Talking about boys with strangers was clearly not polite conversation in this mom’s book.  I decided I liked this kid.

“What’s his name?” I asked, as though this toddler and I were discussing last-night’s hook up over Sunday brunch.

“Um, I don’t know…” Sarah struggled out of her mother’s grip. “Mom, what’s his name? What’s the name of the boy I like?”

“Jonathan.  They just met.” Mom looked up and explained to me. “Honey, you don’t like him, you just met him.”

“No, I like him.  and he likes me.”

“How’d you meet?” I continued to prod.

“Just now.  His mom just became friends with my mom, and then me and — Mom, what’s his name again?”

“Jonathan.”

“Yeah, Jonathan, liked each other.”  Sara clasped her hands breathlessly.

I'm pretty sure this girl's going to be Jennifer Aniston when she grows up

I was pretty impressed by this four-year old’s willingness to be so open about her love life.  I predicted a future full of eye-rolls from friends annoyed by frequent tales of obsessive crushes and uncomfortable bedroom antic overshares. I was also, not a little bit jealous that this little nerd — twenty-years younger than me, had managed to land herself a man while out to dinner with her mom.  This girl was good.

“Jonathan is so nice, and so cute!”

“Wow, that’s exciting.  Do you think you’ll see him again?”

“No!” Mom forcefully interjected.

“No.” Daughter sadly shook her head.

“Oh.” Hostess awkwardly smiled for lack of anything better to do.

Thankfully, at this moment, another frumpled looking woman rushed up to the host stand, saving us from our awkward party.  This mom was carrying a chubby baby, who’s bulbus-head tottered up and down like a bobble-head doll as she jogged.

“Diane, so great to meet you!” Frumple Mom Number Two patted Frumple Mom Number One’s shoulder.

“Oh, I know, you too!”

Frumple Mom Number Two set Bulbus Head on the chair next to her.  Lacking any real coordination (he was after all, a baby) he flopped into an upright position next to her.  Meanwhile, Sarah had shyly crawled up onto the couch next to him.  She stroked his platinum curls lovingly.  Then, tentatively at first, she put her head on his shoulder.  She smiled up at him.  Confused, Bulbus Head stared down at her.  Confused, I stared at Sarah too.

OhmyGod, is this kid in love with a baby?

Sarah nuzzled the baby’s neck with her nose and kissed his ear.  Gone were my visions of an adorable little girl in adorable puppy love, and here to stay was the realization that this kid was a pedophile in the making.  Sure, it’s unfair to call a four-year-old a pedophile; I mean she’s just a kid, and with any luck she’ll avoid a life of pedophilia and grow into a first-rate Cougar someday, but,  right now? Homegirl was kiiiind of creeping me out.

Shuddering, I picked up my boring book, excited to grab on to anything to erase that creepy kid from my memory.

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