Saturday, August 6, 2011
minnesota nice vs new york state of mind
I'm not so sure. I grew up on both the West Coast and the center of the country. I don't think ideology, or cultural norms can be that different - especially in this case . . .
It's last Tuesday. Rico, Yoda and I are out running errands in Minneapolis. It's been a long day, we're hot, we're hungry, and Rico has a coupon for a free gourmet burger at a restaurant we've been wanting to try. We pull into Red Robin, plop Yoda into a highchair, place our orders and relax for half an hour. The burger is tasty, Yoda loves the sweet potato fries, the spinach wrap is excellent - it was worth the detour we took to get there.
Rico prepares to pay the bill, while I take the little darling to the restroom for a diaper change. She stinks horrifically - but hey, she's a baby, I'm the mom - that's my lot in life. So I place her on the changing table, wondering why, if she's laying there, my arm feels warm and pasty. I know before I look, that she has pooped spectacularly all over me. It is on my clothes, covering my entire forearm, in my hair (don't ask) - it is a masterpiece of Picasso proportions. Ironically, there is not much left in the diaper (thanks Huggies). I spend the next five minutes simultaneously wretching, wiping, rinsing, holding my breath, digging for a new diaper, balancing Yoda in one arm while literally scrapping the crap off of my other. It was bad.
It was the bad that bad thinks is bad.
So I manage to quell the gagging, and carry a clean and beatifically smiling Yoda out to her father. When I step out of the restroom, he is facing us, and as I gaze over his shoulder, I see that there is still a massive pile of steaming turd in the highchair.
Not even remotely hideable pile.
At this point, I don't even think he is aware of the problem. So I thrust Yoda towards him and say, "You need to hold her while I get some paper towels."
There is panic in his eyes. He shakes his head and barely moves his lips when he whispers, "No - we've got to get out of here quick. She just crapped in the high chair and it's disgusting."
What . . . the . . . hell? Is this really how his brain works?
What he can't see are the two bus boys standing behind him attempting to clean our table. One is covering his mouth - the other looks positively appalled, and Rico is standing there, ashen-faced, tugging on his beard and nodding towards the door. Either he wants me to steal second, or still thinks we can make a break for it.
I don't even know what to say at this point. Is he really attempting to make an escape here? Is this man, whom I look up to and respect with all of my heart, really attempting to leave a pile of our child's steaming feces in a restaurant for somebody else to clean up - or worse yet, to set another child into. "Wait, we can't. . "
But he cuts me off, "I saw it when you picked her up. I thought it was guacamole, and that's weird because we didn't order guacamole, and it was a big pile, so I stuck my finger in it and smelled it, and it's NOT guacamole!!"
I tell him about the "not guacamole" on my arm as well, and convince him that we have to offer to take care of this. Finally, he does ask the waiter for a wet rag so we can clean up - but the waiter says he'll take care of it, that he has a baby too. There is no argument from Rico as he bolts out the door. I apologize again to the waiter and follow sheepishly behind, secretly hoping that "take care of it" means "bonfire" or "hazmat", because no other family should have to endure that kind of contamination.
Back in the car, the aroma lingers like a cloud of shame. But neither one of us can stop laughing. "I can't believe you would try to ditch out on that," I say to him."
"I grew up in New York," he says, "and I am telling you that every single one of my friends would have done the same thing."
"God - remind me never to use the high chairs in New York. I mean you complain when a dog takes a dump on our lawn - and you'd leave that at a dinner table?"
"I'm serious," he says, "my friends would have left."
"No, Frank wouldn't have. And remind me never to eat with your friends. "
"OK - you're right, not Frank, but still . . ."
And that's where it ends - so now I'm dying to know - what would you do? It's like a pungent John Quinones special, and I have to know the answer, where do you stand - MN nice or NY state of mind? Take the quiz on the upper right corner and let us know.