So we’re out to dinner last Saturday and the Boy, yet again, was on.
This isn’t a surprising thing, as the kid has more wit at 15 then I’ll ever have. I mean, any kid who describes a crap as releasing the chocolate hostages is an interesting person to have around, let me tell you.
Anyway, we’re in the U.S. and in a restaurant, we’ve ordered and we’re in that dead time that parks itself awkwardly from the orders being taken, the drinks arriving, then waiting for food. The Boy, of course, sees this as an opportunity to entertain.
He worked his way up to it, starting first with a pair of mirror aviator sunglasses I’d been wearing. I don’t think they’re particularly flattering on me, but they remind me of my early twenties, when I thought they were cool.
Anyway, the Boy grabs them and puts them on. I must admit, my first thought was, that the little bugger rocked them. He looks a hell of a lot better in them than I ever will. But then, he begins his spiel.
“Look at these things!” he says, touching the arm of the shades reverently. “These things were made to take off!”
“What?” I ask, more than a little bewildered.
He pinches the arm of the shades, sweeps them off with a flourish as he turns his head to look at some far-off vista. He holds the pose for a second, peering intently. Then he turns to me. “These things are the shit!”
Of course, I’m laughing so damn hard I can’t answer. He does it again, staring off to some interesting horizon like one of those cheese portrait poses. It’s even funnier the second time. The Girl and the Wife are laughing just as hard. He pulls it a third time, somehow managing more emotion in the removal of a pair of cheap sunglasses than Shakespeare ever wrung from a tragedy. His gaze holds more intensity than Justin Bieber eyeing a tube of zit cream. I’m dying from laughter.
The Girl says, “You’re better at that than that guy on CSI: Miami!” She’s right, of course.
But then, he moves to the main event.
Turns out the Wife carries a lot of superstitions. But she’s a touch scatterbrained on a few of them. She knows enough not to walk under a ladder, and if she gives you something sharp as a gift, like a set of Ginsu knives, she’ll include money. She won’t put shoes on a bed.
But the one that drives her crazy and brings out the scatterbrain is spilling salt in front of her. It literally makes her bugshit crazy. Her eyes bulge and she trembles. Her voice finds upper registers that only bats and dogs can hear.
Yeah, her and spilled salt don’t go well together.
So of course, the Boy has to go for the salt shaker.
Just picking it up is enough to go to DEFCON 1 for the Wife. There’s no food around, so picking up that instrument of evil can bode no good. But she tries to keep it cool. “Put that down,” she says, thinking her voice is still all smooth and calm. In fact, anyone could hear the tremor of fear that courses through it.
“What…” the Boy says, glancing at the salt shaker. “This?” he finishes as he gives a threatening tilt to the container. It doesn’t tilt much more than 10 degrees from the vertical, but it’s enough for the Wife to involuntarily lurch in her seat.
“No!” she says. He knows he has her now. She’s dropped any facade of dealing with this reasonably. Now, there’s a real chance salt will spill. This is Bad News. This is Horrible Stuff. This is Superstitions Come To Life. May God have mercy on us all.
The Boy gives a couple more cavalier tilts of the shaker, just to torque his mother up. And she responds faster than a Pavlovian dog at the dinner bell. She’s twitching and jumping, giggling nervously and trying to look stern. Her eyes are bulging and watering.
“Put that down right now!” she says, enunciating each syllable like a machine gun shooting. Then she reaches for the shaker.
The Boy pulls it back, dangerously agitating the granules inside. “No!” she cries, reaching again.
“BACK OFF!” he says, his own eyes bugging. “I’M CRAZY! I’M CRAZY!” He jiggles the shaker. “I’LL DO IT, MAN! I’LL DO IT!”
The sad thing about this? If the salt drops, she’ll furiously swipe at it with both hands and toss it over both shoulders. Why? Because she can’t freaking remember which is the proper shoulder to toss it over, that’s why. This would be the scatterbrain portion of our show.
Luckily, that hasn’t happened yet.
The Wife looks to me for help. I see this through the blur of tears as I try desperately to hold in the laughter from spilling out and getting all the patrons to look at this morbid tableau.
Eventually, we’re able to talk him down from that salty ledge, but it’s a near thing, I gotta say. The Wife continues to hyperventilate for a solid ten minutes after the shaker is released.
Seriously. How many women do you know can be held hostage by a slightly canted salt shaker? Thankfully, she’s not a chocolate hostage.
And why does my wife lose all sense whenever we travel to the United States?