I was sitting with the rest of the kids at the kid’s table. We looked sour-faced and shot brooding looks when the adults came around, but, once they left, we were joking around and having fun.
We made the best of what we had. Oh yea, we all wanted more leg room and space to prop up our elbows. We wanted the bigger table and thick plush cushioned chairs too. We liked being closer to the bathrooms, but we didn’t like being off to the side and “out of the way” as the restaurant greeter had described it.
We mostly craved the adult desserts — triple cheese cheesecake, cream puffs with chocolate sauce, and classic crème brûlée to name a few — but we cared less about the boring talk that almost always seemed to take over the adult table. We seemed to always find something to keep ourselves busy, they seemed to be playing some nonsensical mind game that made everyone miserable.
I bring all those things up, because, somewhere along the line, without me noticing, I got moved to the adult table.
Night and day differences
Let me just say up front, the adult table is a strange place indeed.
The adults worry more. Adults fret over what to order and then we fret that it won’t be to our liking or what it will mean for our digestive systems. We bring up world events and fret out loud about what the spike in gasoline will mean for family budget. We fret about last night’s baseball game. We complain that the Phillies manager didn’t let the starting pitcher throw out of a jam and then when he gives up the winning run, we fret that he didn’t go to the bullpen sooner for a relief pitcher.
It gets worse.
Adults are expected to eat their vegetables and we obsess over the caloric intake of every little thing on our plates. We have to watch our waist lines, so we pick and prod at our food. We ask the waiter how the entrée has been cooked and ask for the salad dressing on the side.
When’s the last time you saw a kid ask about his meal. If she doesn’t like something, she doesn’t eat it, simple as that.
Banter turns into power plays
We can’t just jump into the conversation, we have to patiently wait our turn. And when the distant family member or “friend” that we can’t stand drones on about his trip to New Zealand, we have to act excited like it’s the best thing since sliced bread.
“Oh yes, Cory, I just love your pictures. Show me more, keep ’em coming.”
That’s not all, the adults talk about the craziest things. They talk about deaths and funerals and how they haven’t talked with their best friend from high school in years. Kids talk about the stupid video they saw last night on social media.
Adults sit stone faced. We can’t make silly faces, touch our tongues to our nose, burp or make fart sounds with our hands and armpits like the kid’s table can.
The final indignity
And when the waiter comes with the bill, he comes to the adult table. He looks around the table until he sees a friendly face and hands the unlucky “sucker” the bill. The waiter doesn’t even think twice about stopping by the kid’s table. He doesn’t even approach it, except to put up his nose and look distastefully at the mess that the busboy or busgirl is going to have to clean up.
Yes, I love interesting and different food choices and my middle-aged palette has evolved far beyond chicken fingers and French fries or simple cheese pizza, but I want to go back to the kid’s table.
I promise that I’ll be good. I’ll share the crayons that I get with my menu and I’ll eat my vegetables and stay off my phone. I won’t pick it up once; I won’t even try to squeeze in a sneak peak. It will stay silent in my pocket. I’ll even take the spot next to Pig Pen or Messy Marvin or whoever else the adults decide to sit me beside.
It’s really no contest, the kid’s table has the most fun!