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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Culture Club

All of the answers to the remaining questions in the ask Lois segment are long enough to each be their own post. I'll pick up on those again tomorrow. Today I'd rather share with you something funny that happened before I forget the details.

We went out to dinner Friday night, which is a rarity around here. I learned that this family just isn't mature enough to experience any form of culture. We went to this little Mexican restaurant and of course my kids frantically searched the menu for burgers. I managed to talk Lane 1 into trying an enchilada.

"Is it going to be like the kind I tried at Grandpa's in California?"

"Yeah, just like that. You're getting older and your tastes are changing. You really should try new foods when you have that chance."

"Okay. I'll get one, but can I get a burger too?"

"I guess."

Lane 2 wasn't budging out of her little American food comfort zone. She wanted a burger and didn't even want to talk about trying something new.

Our waiter came by and the first thing I thought as he welcomed us was, "He doesn't speak English." But that was fine because we were just going to be talking food, and surely he knew the menu.

He looked at me and said, "You want it one drink?"

"Sure. I would like a diet."


"Yes, a diet. And she," I said, pointing to Lane 2, "would like a cream soda."

"Gream sotha?"

"Yes, cream soda. And he," pointing to Lane 1, "would like a fruit punch."

"Froo punch?"

"Yes, fruit punch."

Mr. Lane said, "I want a Pepsi."



"Okay. I bring you cheeps."

He walked away to get our drinks and chips. The kids were giggling over his accent. I decided when he took our food order that I would point to the menu for each item, just to clear up any doubts.

He came back to our table with chips and salsa. Then he handed me a diet soda and said, "Diet?" I nodded and reached.

He handed Mr. Lane a Pepsi and said, "Peksi?" he nodded and reached.

He handed Lane 1 his fruit punch and said, "Froo punch?" Lane 1 said, "Gracias." and reached.

He handed Lane 2 a lemon lime drink and said, "gream sotha?" My girl looked at me like she was going to burst with laughter. I gave her the don't be rude look and she said, "Gracias."

I leaned in and quietly told her "cream" and "green" sound the same to someone just learning the language, and then I asked her to please drink it anyhow. She offered a sweet little, "Okay Mommy."

As planned, I pointed to the menu while ordering mine and the kids' food. That worked out well for both the waiter and I. The kids got a case of the giggles when the waiter asked what kind of enchilada Lane 1 wanted. "You want it one shicken or one a biff?"

"Oh he likes to get the biff," I said while mentally biffing my son in the head for giggling.

Mr. Lane ordered for himself. He talked extra loud, over-annunciated each word, and moved his lips as if he were communicating with a deaf lip-reader. The three of us wanted to laugh so badly at that man.

After the food order was placed, the kids and I made fun of Mr. Lane for being a dork. Soon, all of our glasses were empty. Mr. Lane raised his hand to get the waiter's attention. He came to our table where Mr. Lane slowly and loudly told him "More drinks, please."

"Peksi, diet, froo punch and gream sotha?"

This was where Mr. Lane got his lips ready to explain cream soda to the waiter. Pointing to Lane 2's drink he said, "This. No." While shaking his head, "Creeeeeeam, not greeeeen soda. Okay?"

"Oh. Yes. Okay."

Again, the three of us were dying with internal laughter. Our eyes were filled with tears from holding back. When he walked away, we quietly mocked Mr. Lane again.

The waiter came back with more drinks. He handed each as he had the first time, until he got to Lane 2. Who instead of a cream soda, was given a bowl of sour cream. Not one of us could tell him he made another mistake. I think if we had tried to open our mouths to say something, nothing but laughter would have poured out. So, I just handed her a straw and smiled.