On Friday night, Dan, Priscilla and I went out with the whole family (mom, dad, brother, his girlfriend, and my two nieces) to celebrate my father’s birthday at a nice restaurant near the house. We met them at 7:30, which has been my bedtime of late, given the onslaught of projects and pressure at work.
But P and me had a long talk earlier in the day and decided that, no matter how too-pooped-to-pop we felt, we’d go and make the best of it. Get all gussied up—even put on a little lipstick and that fabulous black lace duster we bought in Chicago back in July—and drag our sorry collective asses (ass?) out of the house. (But not before having a few spoonfuls of old apricot preserves I found in the vegetable bin—to which my censor-free alter-ego commented: “You’re gross” to which I said, Whatever.)
And I must say, it did feel good to leave the house (read: computer) and enjoy a little family time. Even though that can sometimes be stressful in and of itself (since the Cleaver’s we’re not), but still. It was better than having to dine au jour with Microsoft Outlook and several large piles of notes, as has become typical on the weekends.
Once there, we enjoyed a lovely meal of crab soup, salad, and Atlantic Salmon. Just delicious. And it was all perfectly normal, until the waiter asked if anybody wanted dessert. That’s when I noticed something, well, interesting about our family.
Everybody at the table looked as if we’d just been caught in a bank heist. We glanced nervously at each other with a sort of what-do-we-do-now kind of look I can only imagine bandits have as they’re discovered in the vault fondling piles of cash. I guess, after listening to my mother lecture us about the size of our respective donkeys and waists—and the do-we-really-need-that’s for, like, eternity—we’re all afraid to eat dessert in front of her.
I don’t know why this was so punctuated on Friday night. It’s not really news. And yet, it struck me as kind of odd. Like something you’d find in an Augusten Burroughs novel. Now, maybe it was my frazzled nerves and low burnt-out reserves. Maybe it was my exhausted alter-ego Priscilla on board who, especially lately, has forced me to be observant in a different way than usual.
And then, a funny thing happened in that moment: Priscilla wanted chocolate. And she would not be deterred or pushed down by my lil’ ol Jewish mother. And before I knew it, with as good a Broadway voice as I heard watching ”Wicked”, she belted out: “SURE, WE’D LOVE TO SEE THE DESSERT CART.” (Subtext: BRING IT ON.)
I was mortified (although my husband was quite amused).
But then again, you can’t silence Priscilla. I’ve learned that much in a week or so, since she burst out of my brain. And I really envy that about her. Looking on the bright side, she’s shown me that exhaustion can be quite freeing.
So, long story short, the waiter brings over a dessert cart full of uninteresting sugary items inevitably ruined by fruit—apple pie a la mode with a special crust, crème brulee with a raspberry sauce, chocolate mousse with blueberry froth, key lime something, YUCK AND YUCK—before finally getting to the good stuff. That glorious brownness that medicates sooooooooooooooooooooo well.
To which P says, “We’ll take that. One piece, with vanilla ice cream, eight spoons.”
Talk about courage. Gosh, I’m really gonna miss her once I finally get a day off and a good night’s rest.
Well, that’s it. That’s all I’ve got. Do with it what you will.
Until next time.