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Suburban Island

Dining Out
Sunday, Jan. 05, 2003, 4:08 a.m.

Question: Why ask a question when you know you aren't going to get the right answer?

What I Learned? Wait them out.

Deciding on a restaurant at our house is like negotiating a major record deal Ė youíd think everything is riding on this one decision and that there will never be another opportunity to dine again.

The conversation goes something like this:

Where do you want to eat? [Husband]

Iím flexible. Where would you like to eat? [Me]

It doesnít matter to me. [Husband]

Okay, how about the Greek/Italian place? [Me, always taken in by the above statement of husband.]

Not the Greek/Italian place, we always go there. [Husband, with grimace like maybe I have picked the only restaurant in the universe that is unacceptable to him by some bizarre twist of fate.]

Well, I thought you said you didnít care. [Me]

I donít, but just not the Greek/Italian place. Anywhere else is fine. [Husband]

Okay, well, how about the Japanese/Chinese place then? [Me, still buying his line.]

Not the Japanese/Chinese place. Itís too expensive. [Husband]

But you said you didnít care where we went. [Me]

Just not the Japanese/Chinese place or the Green/Italian place but anything else is fine. [Husband]

Okay, what do you suggest then? [Me]

I donít care. I told you, wherever you want to go is fine. [Husband]

How about the Southwestern place by the coffee shop. [Me, sorting through my mental database of possible eateries.]

Itís too late for that now. Thereíll be a line. [Husband}

This is where it really gets good because one of us will then say Ė Letís ask the kids what they want.

Hey kids, where do you want to eat? [Parents]

The diner. [My oldest, wasting no time in responding Ė sheís got a social life you know.]

Okay, fine with me. [Both parents, as we start to wander around the room excitedly looking for coats, shoes, scarves, and car keys - hurray, we've actually got a decision here.]

No, Iím not in the mood for the diner. [Emphatic statement by younger child.]

Okay, where do you want to go? [Directed to dissenting child by all family members at once.]

I donít care. How about the Japanese/Chinese place? [Dissenting child]

Not this time. [Weary parents while older kid taps foot and looks at watch.]

How about Mexican? [Older kid chimes in.]

Okay. [Both parents, willing to throwing New Yearís diet to the wind at this point just to secure a meal somewhere.]

No, thatís even worse, thereís nothing I can eat there. [Dissenting kid playing for keeps now.]

How about the Southwestern restaurant? [Dissenting kid, assuming maybe that was close enough to Mexican to fly.]

No, thereís nothing there I can eat. [Wails the oldest child.}

We all scramble out to the car, headed towards Ė well, nowhere. Our breath in the ice-cold car quickly obliterates the driverís view of the road. Stomachs are growling. Watching are steadily ticking.

All right, letís go to the Greek/Italian place AGAIN. [Collectively voiced with a shared sigh.]

I canít help but smile a secret little smile. I like the Greek/Italian place.

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