I love dining out. I take my children with me most often (ok, pretty much all the time). So silence and peace during a meal for me is foreign. Very foreign. In fact, if I get out of the restaurant without some sore of mini disaster (spill, toys on the floor, seat getting taken by sibling) it's a win all the way around. If I eat my food, even better. It doesn't sound like it, but I love that. I love taking the kiddos on adventures. Breakfast, lunch or dinner adventures with the promise of something new and exciting, the chance to order your own food, and just spend time with Dad. Typically this daddy date occurs every Friday night. Sometimes on Saturdays.
It's interesting to see the dividing line of folks at the diners: Those with kids, and those without.
Those without kids do not understand those with kids. They simply cannot fathom how the chaos and constant motion could be fun. They often get irritated with said children being children and snapping the perfect Instagram food selfie becomes increasingly difficult when you're getting lapped by a 3 year old. Kids are bothersome, yucky, and failures of parenting when out of line.
The other faction, those with kids (or those who have once had kids) are much more understanding. Smiling and laughing - they ask questions; "How old are they? Are they twins? Is it pajama day?". They also make observations: "Looks like you've got your hands full there.... ". It's nice - they understand, they care, and they appreciate how difficult it is to take kids anywhere and how freaking cool my kids are. Because I have cool kids. Because they ARE wearing their pajamas and cowboy boots to dinner, because they can speak to you on the lineage of Disney's Princesses, evolution of Pokemon and the life cycle of the frog in the same conversation.
But.... A strange thing happened to me the other day - I discovered a new faction of diner out there. The silent ones. Picture this: A couple was seated by the hostess. Elderly and shuffling they sat as if they has assigned seats. There was no question about what they were going to order. They would have the meatloaf. Because they always had the meatloaf. It is as regular as the sunrise. They took their jackets off and faced each other. Silence. Pure silence. Not a finger lifted, not a word said. A nod and a brief word to the waitress was it. Silence. 5, 10, now 15 minutes had gone by without a single word (or even a glance) being said. It was fascinating. By this time my children had just finished discussing the finer points of tone inflection through the songs of Disney's Moana and had moved on to their Christmas list for next year. "Dad- I still want a YoYo."....
But the couple, not one peep out of them. Not one. Magical. Almost by default the food came and they commenced their eating experience. Like clockwork in a factory they exchanged salt and pepper shakers, spread their napkins on their lap and continued their silent meal. It was almost as if they knew the other's move before they moved. LIke the prefrontal cortex of the brain prepping movement and muscles, these folks had this down to a science. They finished, paid (in exact change) and shuffled out, nary a word said for nearly 45 minutes.
Were they communicating via telepathy? Was there something I was missing? Or were they in fact, simply that in touch with each other words were not necessary? I like to think the latter. I dream of a time in a relationship when you level up to a point where you are so in tune with each other you feel everything rather than say it. Transcending the communication barrier - like time travel. Your entire relationship becomes a give and take of habit and feelings and tradition rather than anything else. It's romance at the highest level. You've earned the silence.
So, the next time you're out and about keep your eyes peeled for the Silent Ones. They're out there, and they're in rare form.