This is another one that I wrote before I had a blog. It happened last summer, August of 2015. Posting it now.
Thursday Night People Watching
Tonight I went to Cafe Rio to have dinner by myself. When I arrived, the first thing I noticed was that there was a line that I would have to wait in to order my food. I was tempted to take out my phone and read some news or play some Words With Friends, but I kept it in my pocket. I thought it would be nice to take a break from the electronics and be present in the moment, even if the moment was waiting on line to order food.
The first people I noticed were a young couple two places ahead of me in line. They had two kids: A boy, about five, and an infant. The infant didn’t look too happy, and the husband held her in his arms, walked around to soothe her, and then took her to a table. The wife waited in line to place the order for the family. The older child was quite hyperactive, and ran and bounced around the restaurant the whole time his mother was in line. Every time he ran back into line, he had to go under a wooden bar (that separated the rows of people in line), and every time, I was afraid he would hit his head, and I flinched. But, the boy had things under control. Each time, he would slow down, just a wee bit, right before he got to the wooden bar, and then he would duck his head and clear the bar by about an inch or two.
The next thing that I noticed was a row of arms, pointing forward and slightly upward, all holding smartphones. The woman in front of me had a ginormous phone, what you would call a phablet. She seemed very busy with it, but didn’t look too happy.
The next two arms holding phones belonged to the same person! The man, three places ahead of me in line, was holding two phones! And he was looking at both of them. On one, he was reading and typing, possibly an email or a text. All with his left hand. On the other phone, which he was holding in his right hand, he was apparently reading an article, or at least looking at it occasionally. My first thought was that he was so addicted to his electronics, that it took two phones to satisfy him. I expected one was an iPhone and one was an Android. I took a good look at the phones. Both were iPhones. Hmm. Then I looked at his face and his body language, and I noticed the hot blonde in front of him, with no phone in her hands, no handbag, and no pockets, and I knew exactly what was going on! This was a henpecked husband, holding both his phone and his wife’s phone while they were in line, so she could have both hands free, and he was making the best of the situation.
I kept an eye on this couple three places ahead of me, as I went through the line and placed my order. When it was time for them to pay, I realized that my suspicions were most likely true. The wife took her phone back, and the husband seemed to breathe a sigh of relief, no longer having to carry two phones. Then he put his phone in his pocket and paid for their dinner and carried the tray to the table.
I sat down at a table next to the young couple with two kids. When the wife and son got to the table, the husband and wife traded roles. The wife fed the infant, and the husband entertained the hyperactive son. I liked this couple. They seemed to all take care of each other.
The unhappy woman with the ginormous phone was sitting at a table by herself. She continued to look at her phablet, while she ate her meal. I briefly considered asking her if she wanted some company, but I was very content sitting by myself and watching the people.
Meanwhile, while I was enjoying my meal, I couldn’t wait to get home and write my story.
Sometimes going out to eat by oneself can be very entertaining. And sometimes, having to wait in line to order can be a blessing.
For those of you who have to know what I ate, I had the Thursday tamale special. I was hungry, so I had the double. One chicken tamale and one pork tamale. With whole grain rice and black beans, melted shredded Mexican cheese, shredded lettuce, and pico de gallo. With a limeade. I asked for the chicken tamale with medium sauce (because I thought it would go better with the chicken, which is a bit spicy), and the pork tamale with mild sauce (because I thought it would go better with the pork, which is slightly sweet). But the server put the sauces on, and then said, “Oops, I think I got it backwards. The mild sauce is on the chicken and the medium sauce is on the pork.”. I said, “That’s fine.”