I have mentioned before my uncanny ability to embarrass myself in just about every type of public situation (try here, and here, and here). This time, though, it totally wasn’t my fault.
After an uncharacteristically crazy Friday night, we left my car downtown and took a cab home. At the time it was a great idea, but then upon waking the next morning, we vaguely remembered the conversation we’d had with my friend the night before. Mike’s car was in the shop, so she said that she would come get us the next morning and take us back down to get my car. It was already 11:00 when we finally rolled out of bed, and she was on her way to get us. We hurriedly dressed in our Saturday morning best, each donning jeans and a sweatshirt, Mike in a ball cap, and me in a straggly ponytail and the biggest sunglasses I could find. Definitely not our finest hour. My friend picked us up and dropped us off downtown where we began walking the block to the parking garage where we had left my truck so many hours before. As we walked in front of Zaidy’s, a delicious Jewish deli on Market Street, we realized we were both ravenous and decided to go in for a sandwich before we picked up our wheels.
The hostess sat us in a booth right up front, and although I didn’t argue, I would have much preferred a back-corner table where I could hide my unwashed hair and the remnants of Friday night’s mascara. We ordered Diet Coke and coffee and lots of water and sandwiches and fresh-cut French fries.
Mike and I traded sandwich halves, as is our tradition, and ate our late breakfast while joking around about the prior night’s goings on. We waited patiently for the caffeine to take effect. About halfway through our meal, the hostess sat another couple in the booth directly next to ours. I was facing the man; Mike and the woman were back to back.
This couple did not look like they had spent Friday night drinking more than their livers were ever intended to process. In fact, they had probably played backgammon in front of the fire, maybe enjoyed one glass of wine, and then they had turned in early; that was the only explanation for how prim and proper they looked. They were here at Zaidy’s at 11:30 for their second meal of the day, not their first, and they had most definitely showered before leaving their house. The man’s shirt and jeans were both professionally pressed, with straight, crisp creases trailing the lengths of both his arms and legs. The woman was equally cleaned and starched, not a hair out of place in her puffy early-90’s-ish coif. They smelled of Old Spice and Chanel Number 5, and they looked convinced, after taking us in, that they had been seated next to a couple of vagrants. They were politely trying not to stare, but not completely succeeding.
After the couple placed their order, our server moved on to us, deftly picking up our dishes and dropping the check. This is when Mike got greedy. Because of our seating position directly at the front of the restaurant, Mike had a straight-line view into Zaidy’s famous pastry case. He was eyeing the apple strudel, and I agreed that I wouldn’t mind a couple of bites of the huge Snickerdoodle. We flagged down our waitress, and she went off to grab our pastries and adjust and run our check on my debit card. She brought back the card and receipt and a paper bag with the warm sweets inside.
Mike picked up the bag of pastries and stood, walked two steps to my side of the booth, and reached out to help me. I handed him my to-go box containing a half a sandwich, then asked him to hold my credit card and the receipt while I gathered up my purse and jacket. He was standing directly over me with his hands full as the waitress passed behind him. This is why, when he felt that familiar urge, he neither covered his mouth nor turned away. Just as I was standing up with my purse in hand, my boyfriend released world’s largest sneeze directly on to my face. My bangs flapped in the substantial breeze, my face was soaked, and the sunglasses perched on top of my head were covered in droplets of God-knows-what. I looked right up at him, incredulous, touching my face and head. “What the hell was that?” I screeched at him.
As Mike started to defend himself, I looked up to find Mr. Backgammon wiping his face, clearing it of the soda he spat upon seeing my boyfriend attack me with a germy WMD. His wife was completely turned around in her seat, staring at us, trying to figure out what had happened. The man, who had looked to me like the type who might have been completely offended and disgusted by what he had just witnessed, couldn’t stop laughing long enough to explain it to her.
I dragged Mike out of the deli and we laughed all the way down the block and into the parking garage, our shrieks echoing off the walls.
One of these days we will learn how to behave in public. However, until we do, I’m really glad that we can spread joy to the people of Denver.
P.S. I hope that guy gets as much mileage out of this story as I plan to.