Email me if you have something to say. I like you.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Some people want to be unhappy.

My Grandmother is not one of those people. I was having dinner with her one night after one of O's piano recitals. We were with the children, my parents, my husband, my mother-in-law and maybe a couple of other random relatives. I was telling everyone how excited I was about having both boys stay for a full day of school the next year*. As my Grandmother's eyes lit up, my mother-in-law's face fell.

"Oh!" she exclaimed, very French-ly, "This is 'orrible! Now you will have to prepare two lunches!"

My side of the family started to laugh. I, however, knew she wasn't joking. The French love a tragedie, and Maman is about as French as they come. After we finished laughing and making lots of sarcastic remarks about how much more difficult it would be to make not one, but deux sandwiches every day, I tried to explain to Maman**.

"I always try to be like Grandmother," I said. "She always sees the positive. I've never heard her complain."

"Ah!" responded Maman, very French-ly, "This is not possible!"

She looked at my Grandmother in horror. I suspect that Maman thinks that people who don't whine aren't smart. She turned to my Grandmother and asked how it was possible that she never complained. My Grandmother's response was simple. Shrugging her shoulders, she said,

"I guess I just never could think of much to complain about."

And there you have it. She is one happy woman. Her life was not without stress. Shortly after she married, her husband went overseas to fight. Grandmother made the best of it and spent time traveling with her sister. When he came back, they were so excited to be together that they had seven kids. I don't care how much help she had, having seven kids is not always a walk in the park. A walk in a French park, incidentally, would probably be filled with misery: ants, puddles, bad weather, muggers (American, of course) and bad wine.

Anyhow...last night we went to Garibaldi's to celebrate Grandmother's eighty-seventh birthday. Five of her seven children , two of her thirteen grandchildren, one of her four grandsons-in-law and three of her daughters-in-law were there. And we are kind of loud. Our reservation was for six o'clock and, perhaps because of our behavior in years past, we were seated at a long table in the bar. It's my favorite place to sit, because it's where my husband and I sat on our first date. Before the meal, we were milling around and going back and forth to the bar for drinks. I think that's the way Grandmother likes it, because she didn't tell us to sit down and was doing a bit of milling herself. One of the reasons my Grandmother never complains is that she isn't shy about telling people what she wants, and they usually give it to her, because she's so sweet. Sweet, but effective. In a different time, my Grandmother might have been finishing up her second term as President of this country.

After we had been there for a while (maybe two rounds?), two ladies were seated at a table next to ours. They spent quite a bit of time not enjoying themselves, rather deliberately, if you ask me. They kept giving us meaningful, irritated looks. If one of us brushed against one of their chairs and apologized, they would respond, through clenched teeth, with one of those annoying, tight smiles,

"Oh. It's fine."

As we sat down, I decided to do the dumb blonde, nicey-nice thing, which I do quite well when I feel like it. I leaned over and said, with what I believe was a charming smile,

"Sorry about all this! My Grandmother is turning eight-seven today and she has seven children!"

One of those ladies said, lamely, if you ask me,

"Well, I just hope you're sitting now."

Or something like that. I don't remember, because I didn't really care. People like that want to suffer and they want to make everyone else feel bad. I don't like to suffer, so I don't let passive aggression put a damper on my fun. I'm sure they wanted to suffer, too, because if I had been sitting there, I would have asked to move to one of the other available tables. There were quite a few, including some of the booths in the bar area, which are great for chatting. There was an empty table right next to them that would have been more out of the way. Why be miserable when all they had to do was ask the waiter if they could move? Because they want the world to know how horrible everyone is to them. Or maybe they just like spending two hundred dollars on a meal and not enjoying it.

I would bet my last fifty dollars that most of their dinner conversation was about how awful we were. And we weren't, by the way, because we're all incredibly entertaining and good looking. And we never, ever drink too much. Do you believe me? No? Eh, I don't care. I had a blast! More importantly, Grandmother seemed to really enjoy herself. She's the master of ignoring things that are unpleasant, like the sourpusses at the next table. They were wearing sweatshirts, by the way, further proof that they just weren't feeling "fun" to begin with, n'est-ce pas?

Namasté, y'all!

* I was really looking forward to all the child-free time. I loved it so much that we decided to conceive another child. Ha! When he goes to school, will you all make sure we're using proper birth control?

** Yeah, I was being passive aggressive. Wanna' make something of it?


Don Mills Diva said...

Your grandmother sounds like a remarkable woman. Piss on those stupid people in the restaurant. I hate people like that and can honestly say I'm tolerant if it's others who are enjoying themselves a little loudly or whatever - it's what life is all about.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha! I am sorry I missed dinner with everyone!

Grandmother said she really enjoyed it!

~Katherine W.