Monday, October 4, 2010

Lettuce wraps and entitlement

Over the weekend, my husband and I took the kids out for dinner after Mass. It had been an incredibly busy day, and frankly, I am getting kind of bored with making dinner every night. Seriously bored.

We choose a semi-fast Asian fusion restaurant, where we can order our children's Honey Garlic chicken without the honey or garlic. Any guesses as to what's left when you remove those two key ingredients? Chicken nuggets. With steamed white rice. I know.

We placed our order, and went to find a place to sit with our family horde. And there, we were met with the self serving, entitled older folks. Giving us the evil eye.

And I swear that my children were being good. No one was fighting, no one was whining about the chopstick clips, no one was upset about being hungry.

So I gave the evil eye back. They kept glancing our way, with tight frowns on wrinkled, sour faces. They got their bowl of wonton soup before us, even though we got our order in first.

Eventually, we got our soup. And our fabulous lettuce wraps. And that's when one of the entitled retirees snapped at the waiter, and me, as I sat gap-mouthed, astounded by her rudeness.

"You didn't order lettuce wraps, did you?" she asked accusingly.

"We most certainly did. Sorry." I answered smiling sweetly as I seethed.


She must have taken the hint. She mumbled something, half-apologetically, about us having ordered first. My husband and I exchanged puzzled looks.

How do people think that being that rude entitles them to any kind of special treatment? Why do these people feel that anything and everything that they want, they are entitled to?

Our mean neighbor and her entourage got their order messed up. The restaurant was so busy that the waiters failed to catch they incessant bickering over the order being wrong.

And us?

We enjoyed the rare instance in which we dined out and our children actually enjoyed their meal and each other's company. Hubby and I had a deep philosophical conversation about the Bill of Rights and separation of Church and State.

And you know what? I felt sorry for that group of people who sat a mere four feet away from our table. Because everyone is entitled to some happiness. And it was clear that these four people were not happy. Not because their food was wrong or because they were sitting next to young children.

Because they were failing to see that happiness is something that they could grasp for themselves. It was not the lettuce wraps that they ordered and did not come as quickly as they wanted.

It is in our grasp to live in the moment.

To relish and savor the tender morsels of everyday joy, instead of cultivating anger and anxiety.

On the way home, I thought of what these people must have endured in their lives. But, we all experience disappointments, sadness, anger, rejection, sickness... What makes people hold on to that yuck? So much so that it taints everything around them? How do we avoid becoming that person?

We experience it, but we don't have to hold on to it. We learn from it. We release it. We move on.

And when all else fails, we dig into those lettuce wraps, and perhaps, gloat just a wee bit...

Hey, I never said I was perfect!

P.S. A very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY goes out to the best dad in law anywhere, Granddaddy! So sorry the kids were sick this week and we missed out on celebrating with you! We love you and will see you soon!


  1. Maria, great post! My mother, at 80, is also popping up with things that just come loose out of her mouth without any censoring. It's scary. She's lost all diplomacy, though normally she doesn't notice anyone around her, including kids!

    Glad you had a nice dinner out!

  2. I have to say, I see so many cranky old people nowadays. Am I just noticing them all of a sudden or are they multiplying? We are talking serious cranks! Glad you were able to enjoy your night out in spite of them.

  3. Whenever I see cranksters like those you decribe I realize that I need to let GO of negativity! It just makes people miserable, doesn't it? I would have had to bite my lip to not ask what their problem was... at least your night ended up GREAT! You deserved it... even if your neighbors couldn't find happiness in their meal! Maybe their fortune cookie would help them find some light at the end of their tunnel.


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