The Circus after the Circus

For Bill’s Father’s Day treat, we took him to the Cirque du Soleil show, Kurios. It ended at 7:30 p.m., and we decided to stop at Uno’s on the way home. Uno’s is a family favorite: buttered pasta for Liam, Kraft mac’n’cheese for Will, and a Numero Uno for Bill and me. Actually, Uno’s is one of my favorites because everyone will eat there, so a second meal doesn’t need to be prepared at home after we have dinner out. We weren’t starving but definitely needed some real food to counter the over-priced, sugar-filled snacks we bought at the big top. Liam was a chatterbox throughout the show and a happy little soul afterwards. Piecing the day together, at the Uno’s table, I realized that he had had marshmallows for breakfast, skipped the sandwich I had made him for lunch, and dined on popcorn and a bag of gummy bears at the circus. And, he had just ordered a glass of Dr. Pepper.

We guessed that this was our waitress’ first day on the job. Bill ordered a tall beer and a small beer was delivered. The requested Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes came as we were eating our second slice of pizza. Will’s fries didn’t make it onto the order. As we ate our food, we all drained our first round of drinks and asked for a second.

Liam picked up his second soda as he was telling a story. With his hands. The lid flew off the glass and the glass flew into the air covering Liam with sweet sticky cola. I pulled my feet closer to the wall: brand new sandals wouldn’t take that brown yuck very well. We sopped up what we could from Liam’s seat and clothes with four paper dinner napkins and eight cocktail napkins. Liam turned to me and said, “I think I handled that pretty well, Mom. I didn’t yell or anything.” Our waitress brought us more napkins and said she would be back with a mop. Five minutes later, she came back to mop the floor. “Where’s the glass, Mom?” We couldn’t find it. And we weren’t offered another.

Liam was hardly fazed by the incident and squatted rather than sit his bum in wet clothes for the rest of the meal. “My shorts are soaked, but my underwear is dry! Isn’t that weird, Mom?” And on he went with his story. I watched a very capable waitress approaching our table and wondered how long she had been waiting tables. How long does it take to learn how to wait tables? She carried herself with a confidence that our waitress lacked. I never have – never could – wait tables.

As this waitress’ tray of drinks passed the center line of our table, she wobbled, and a margarita dumped onto the back of Liam’s seat before shattering on the floor. A beer bottle had done a simple tip to horizontal and beer was jugging over the edge in a foamy beerfall. Three other drinks had toppled, their contents adding to the lake on the floor. Thankfully, the waitress remained upright. I watched the whole slow motion production with wide eyes and a near chortle. One of those situations: I-hope-you-are-OK-because-that-was-hilarious!

She didn’t miss a beat. “What!?! No “Wet Floor” sign?” and then she apologized profusely to all the tables in our area. Our waitress hadn’t marked the floor where Liam’s drink had spilled and where she had mopped. Liam, still squatting said, “Hmm, I smell apple cider, Mom!” I scooched him to the front of the seat and saw remnants of the margarita that had landed under him. It smelled like an apple margarita. With one cocktail napkin, I brushed the slush to the floor where it splashed into the lake of truly mixed drinks. While we waited for someone to clean it up, the family seated behind us, in the shallow flood, stood up to leave. The dad said, “Wow, you’ve had a bit of bad luck at your table! I think we’ll get out of here before the roof caves in!” Yes, we were that family.

Three tables were flooded in for five minutes before someone appeared with the mop. What is with the mop? Why can’t anyone find it and put it to use in good time? I glanced at Bill’s glass of beer. I needed to make a break for it, and his glass was still half full. And his last slice of pizza was half-eaten. As a mom, I’ve inhaled food for 12 years. I’m ready to leave a restaurant the moment I sit down. Bill has not adopted this guaranteed indigestion routine. We left the table with the check in hand, and we helped Liam and Will skim over the wet floor.

At the front, we were confronted by the manager when we tried to pay. “You need to give that to the wait staff! I can’t process it here!” Our alpha male bristled. “We are sitting in a lake of drinks and broken glass all over the floor. We haven’t seen our waitress for five minutes!” I pulled him away to the little wait staff cubby in the back corner where an apologetic waiter helped us pay the bill.

On the way to the car, Liam – in his highly sensory armed little body – said, “Mom, how am I going to get home?”

“Whatever you need to do, Liam, do it. Take your shorts and shirt off if you want to.”

“And my underwear?”

“Why don’t you leave those on,” I suggested as we got into the car. We waited for Liam to get situated, and we laughed at the episode inside the restaurant. We discussed Murphy’s law. Our episode was a bit like a Gumball episode on Cartoon Network.

On the road, Liam suggested, “Mom, please don’t go too fast or too slow. I don’t want to get pulled over by the police. My reputation would be ruined for life!” We laughed. Surely, we could explain why our son was sitting in his underwear in the back seat.

At home, I put the car in the garage. Walking to the house, I saw Liam covering his bum with his shorts and his front with his shirt. Dodging naked from shadow to shadow 20 yards to the back door. “Liam, you forgot your underwear in the car.” I thought I was pointing out the obvious.

Giggling, Liam confessed, “I didn’t wear underwear tonight!”

It all started with marshmallows for breakfast.

Happy Hump Day.