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Mindless over Manners


Most Sundays we head to Bob’s Diner in Manchester to fuel up before gardening and woodstacking.  I’ll go write at a nearby cafe for a few hours, and when the kids wake up, the Big Guy will phone to say they’re leaving.  I usually get there first and, after getting our name on the wait list (there’s always a wait),  I claim the privilege of taking the seat with a view of the door.

I have a strong aversion to sitting with my back to  the door in any public place.  probably the result of being on the receiving end of a home invasion and relying on heavy doses of televison to manage the PTSD that followed(any fictional commando or special ops expert will tell you to keep your eye on the door).   For some reason, I harbor a deep need to be able to wave at a hypothetical incoming armed assailant before I kiss my kids and my butt goodbye.

Thing1 and Thing2 trade off sitting next to Mom.  The need to sit next to Mommy only emerges when we’re in a restaurant, but it’s pathological.  If we only go out to eat once a week, it’s pretty easy to keep track, but if we’ve had a busy week of museums and diners and cafes, I forget where we are in the rotation.

Last Sunday was one of those days and, predictably, the debate over who got to set next to Mom threatened to get them driven home without breakfast (a threat we have not had to carry out in several years but still keep in our arsenal).  Finally, deeming it way too early in the day to be brokering peace treaties, I issued sanctions against both parties and announced that I was sitting with the Big Guy.  The Big Guy had already arranged himself with his back to the door.

I ignored the annoyed faces of my children and snuggled into the seat next to my husband, no longer worried about not seeing whatever might come through the door while we ate our pancakes.   The fragile detente in front of us – strained by the appearance of cups of chocolate milk just waiting to be knocked over during a bilateral shove or a poke – was way scarier than any imaginary maniac I could possibly imagine.