Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When Slinky-Spine Comes in Handy

I love my in laws dearly.  But I've got a confession to make.  Despite my undying love for them, they do, unfortunately, have troubles with tact.  

Take, for example, our recent trip to PF Chang's in Baltimore.  These dear, lovely, and incredibly intelligent people tend to not do too well within the confines of an eating-oriented establishment.  It might be the terribly expansive menu, or the (legitimate) stomach issues my MIL has, or the stress that comes with having to make decisions under a time constraint.  Or perhaps they're simply trying to optimize the preference curve that exists in the relationship between the most varied and delicious cuisine choices vs. the ever-present fight for the lowest cost.  

My in laws are math geeks like that.  Or is that economics?  

Not important.  What IS important, however, is when my MIL pointed to one of the menu choices, and asked the waiter, "Tell me, Is it delicious?"

The other Russian couple we were with ordered their drinks with one single word, "Ginger!"  When the poor, sweet, and unbelievably patient African-American waiter wasn't entirely sure what that meant, they repeated, annoyed, "GINGER!"  They then commented to each other decidedly NOT under their breath about how black people are so stupid they can't even take drink orders.

My FIL is actually pretty good about these things.  He will actually not insult anyone when ordering.  He sits, silent, and points to the item he'd like on the menu.  The entire exchange between himself and the waiter is usually absolutely silent unless he'd like a shot of vodka.  I remember one time, the people at the restaurant said that they don't serve straight shots.  He then said, "Vodka on the rocks, no ice".

And just this past weekend, my wife was ordering a cocktail.  My MIL asks her what is in the cocktail.  My wife says vodka, schnapps, a little fruit juice.  My MIL wonders aloud if she should get one.  My FIL replies that she drinks too much, and is an alcoholic (which she definitely isn't).  My wife says that if she'd like one, she should get one.  My MIL then tells my FIL that if anyone in the family should stop drinking, it's him.  This exchange goes on for five or ten more minutes.

The waiter has still not yet finished taking our order, and is looking near comatose.  Or he's seizing.  Whatever it is, there's foam coming from his mouth.  (do these things happen with comas/seizures?  Please excuse my insensitivity/ignorance, also - my dear aunt sally {MATH JOKE!}).  Kapow!

I guess the point here is this.  Perhaps there is a Russian Emily Post?  Emilia Sergeivich Postova?  As much as I love them, my spine is starting to hate me from all the slinking under the table I've been doing at restaurant dinners with them.  I love them dearly, but perhaps we'll just get take out from now on.


  1. I'm so glad to hear you had such a delightful time.

    Actually, this sounds exactly like my parents except that my father orders beers. They don't embarrass me though. I know how to steer my mother out of convincing the waiter to spit into our food ;)

    My in-laws, on the other hand? Well, they are on the opposite end of the spectrum and I usually leave confused. lol

  2. Ginger?

    This is how I'm going to start requesting things from David. "bring me red" "what?" "red!!"

  3. I would do take out for sure whenever having dinner with them again.

  4. Eat at a Russian restaurant perhaps? :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.