Personal Space Invaders

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Today I went to eat at a hibachi grill with my family.  We watched in awe as the cook (HEY!!  He’s not JAPANESE!!!!!)  made flaming onion towers, chopchopchopchopchopchopchopchopchopchopped up eggs, did a little dance with his spatula, pulled little rice pranks on a disinterested teenager and gave me one too many pieces of teriyaki chicken (DO I LOOK LIKE A YAK?  Do you think I can EAT all of that??).  Before I slipped into pure hibachi euphoria, we had to first enter the restaurant, walk past the snobbish sushi bar and the fish tanks (quit sucking up the rocks, goldfish, before you lose your restaurant some business!) and arrive at “our” grill/table. 

Uhhhhhhhhhhh………waitress?  Who are these people?  WHY are they flanking my sides?  I said a table for 3.  I would also like my own hibachi man and would prefer for him to be Japanese. 

Sidenote: Do you think they’d hire a white female like myself to stun guests with my ability to chop the heck off of shrimp tails?  My husband likes for me to make money.  I will seriously consider this possibility.

My experience of enjoying the heck out of that ginger dressing on iceberg lettuce really was not brought down by the fact that there were complete strangers sitting reaaaaaaaaally close to us.

Can you wait for the waitress, disinterested teenager, and stop drinking my tea?!?!?  Yokatta kotto! (that’s “my goodness” in Japanese)

I guess we were also sitting close to them.

Mmmmmm, Middle-Aged Lady, I’m glad you got shrimp!  Tasty!  Is this restaurant You-Ain’t-My-Family Style?  Sou nara ii desu ne!  (*sigh* That is “I hope so!” in Japanese.  Check out Rosetta Stone, would ya?)

Sitting riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight next to these other hibachi-lovin’ Americans made me aware of some other personal space invading places (that sounds like a video game!  I think I have just stumbled upon a brilliant idea…), including:

  • Restaurants with loooooooooong bench seats on one side, several itty-bitty tables and a long, crowded line of wooden chairs on the other side.

Hi, sir.  Can we sit here?  I am so sorry, but there are just no other options for seating.  Yes, yes, I see that you are reading an “intellectual” book.  I hope my screeching 2-year-old and whining 5-year-old don’t disturb you.  Um, sir.  Can my 2-year-old, who is desperately in need of a diaper change, sit on your lap?  I need one of these seats for my purse. 

Well, would you look at that?  Everyone has left.  It’s just my two sons, me, and you crowded on the end of the bench together.  This sure is awkward.

Are you going to eat that French fry?

  • Dentist offices

Is my gaping mouth inches from your face, Ms. Hygienist?  I am so sorry!  I don’t normally approach a complete stranger and show them my tonsils!  This is really embarrassing… asdlkjdg;lkasjgdlkjasgkljasldgj [This is me trying to talk after she’s stuck that sucker in my mouth that parades as a saliva catcher but is really trying to remove all my teeth so that the dentist office can sell me dentures]

  • Elevators

If it is okay with you, elderly stranger and fellow elevator rider, I am going to go ahead and get on your shoulders.  As you can see, there are people trying to get into this elevator and I don’t want to be seen as the person not being accommodating.  Can you make a step out of your two hands?  Okay.  I’m up.  Can you push 4? 

  • Disney World

We WILL get in to see this showing of “It’s a Bug’s Life”, even if it means that we have to get inside your fanny pack, mister.  Could you please remove your granola bar and lip balm?

  • Wal-Mart return line

Excuse me, older gentleman with black calf-high socks and shorts, could I have a piggyback ride?  I see no other way of getting us all into this little corner of the store so that we can return our Mitchums, frozen pizzas and loofah sponges.  Awww, thanks!  You are the best!  Can I call you PawPaw?

Oh, I have to admit, sometimes I like being in close quarters with complete strangers.  You get to eavesdrop on their conversations, start a conversation if you bargain you’ll be there a while (and decide it would be more awkward to stand there like a human statue on Time Square that whole time) and gush over children and babies.

Sayonara!

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