I’m at Red Lobster.
On a Friday night.
I am wearing the same Wal-Mart workout clothes that I put on at 7am that morning.
But I never got around to working out.
I look down and notice my shirt is on inside out.
I am drinking a glass of house Cabernet. That is the Red Lobster house wine people.
I, not my date, pay the tab. (He can’t find his credit card. Of course.)
When the waiter returns with the bill and my credit card, he asks for my ID.
I consider jumping on the seat of the booth and punching the air Tom Cruise style, but instead I just shout “GOD BLESS YOU MAN!” And then I whip out my license (out of a diaper bag) and show it to him and anyone who will look in my direction.
In the Red Lobster house wine provided haze, I think I’ve been carded.
And then he says, “Ma’am, the back of your credit card says Ask for ID. See?” He holds the card out at a distance so I can see it.
That is the sound of my ego deflating, adjusting to the appropriate level for a 46-year-old woman with a toddler wearing Wal-Mart clothes inside out at 5pm on a Friday night in Red Lobster drinking house wine, paying for her date and shouting God Bless You Man! for no good reason. That level is somewhere under the booth along with the stray Goldfish and dropped color crayons.
I console myself with the fact that at least I didn’t jump on the booth. There’s that.
“Oh. Well then,” I say. “I knew that. God bless you just the same sir.”
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Originally published February, 2007