Monday, November 9, 2009

We, we

Last night, the family and I rekindled one of our longest-standing traditions. We dined at an establishment known as The Old Spaghetti Factory, an icon in the Pacific Northwest. Before Cheesecake Factory began deforesting the old growth tree stands just to print their menus, long before Olive Garden introduced the bottomless iceberg lettuce bowl, The Old Spaghetti Factory stood proudly as the bastion of affordable, massive food quantities.
I've been a father now for almost fifteen years, which translates to 23.7 wear-and tear-adjusted years (much like wind chill makes the temperature colder than the thermometer indicates). During this period, we have visited The Old Spaghetti Factory approximately 90 times. Not only have we gone on the kids' birthdays, we've gone on their "half" birthdays as well. In addition, I've used it as an incentive for them to get along and leave for school on time. A few years back, they earned dinner there after getting out of the house in a timely manner 20 days in a row. I know, I know. Parents shouldn't use food as an incentive for good behavior. Whatever. If it worked for Pavlov, it works for me.
The family and I operate with a fine-tuned efficiency at this place,  never waffling at the last minute when faced with the final pasta decision. Last night we were thrown a little off balance by the waiter, as everything he asked us included the word, "we":
"How are we doing tonight?"
"Do we know what we want to order?"
"Do we want another Shirley Temple?"
It got really irritating after a while. This guy was really tall and masculine, but he talked like someone's grandma. Being a family of wise-guys, we all had to bite our tongues when responding to him. I really wanted to ask him when he would be available to go to the restroom with me.
Aside from that, the evening, as usual, proceeded like clockwork. Bread, salad, spaghetti, Spumoni ice cream, and out the door.
I think when we reach the century mark of eating at The Old Spaghetti Factory, we'll celebrate by going there.

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