The Setting: Booth in a deli in New York City, 2017

The Players: Mother in Law, Waiter, Son, Daughter in Law

Waiter approaches table, notepad in hand:

Waiter:  Can I get you something to drink?

Mother in Law:  Do you have diet black cherry soda?

Waiter:  Yes.

Mother in Law: In the can?

Waiter: Yes

Mother:  Is the can cold?

Waiter: Yes

Mother in Law: Very cold?  Because I don’t like ice.  I don’t want the soda to be made cold because of ice.  I only want it if its a very cold can.

Waiter:  Yes.  Very cold can.

Waiter begins to walk away

Mother in Law: And make sure you bring me a cup of ice.

Waiter returns with soda, ice, and complimentary bowls of cole slaw and pickles, and quickly leaves.

  Mother in law touches all six pickles in bowl.  Takes one and bites it.

Mother in Law: Blah.  These pickles are warm.  Who serves warm pickles.  Pickles are supposed to be cold.

Son: They always serve them like that.

Mother in law picks up pickle and hands it to son

Mother in law:  That is NOT how a pickle is supposed to feel.

In what seems like 3 hours, but in reality is only 5 minutes, waiter returns with plate of stuffed derma

Mother in law:  Can you bring us a bowl of cold pickles.  Cold.  Like from the refrigerator.  Cold.

Waiter takes bowl of apparently ill tempered pickles.

Mother in Law:  Is the derma hot?  Derma has to be hot.

Son:  Ma, there’s steam coming off it.

Mother in Law:  Fine.  If you’re sure it’s hot enough.

After another eternity seeming 5 minutes, waiter returns with corned beef, pastrami and hopefully cold pickles.  He places food and sprints from table, clearly shattering the table to kitchen speed record

Mother in law touches all the pickles.  But doesn’t take any.

Mother in law: Cold pickles.  But is the pastrami warm?  You know how I like my pastrami warm.

Mother in law rises to use rest room.  Waiter chooses that moment to bus table, taking with him a touched but uneaten bowl of cold pickles.

The End





21 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Temperatures: A play in one act

  1. I had to refrain from replying for a few seconds. It wouldn’t have been very nice. Some people… I think maybe in 1% of the time will I ever complain about something, especially in a restaurant. To each her own… but my take-a-ways… I feel your pain. Trapped. You can’t do or say anything. Sounds like you were very strong!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for considering me strong and not crazy. I’ve decide there are three ways to handle things: cry, get angry, or laugh. Though I definitely cry and get angry (ask my daughter) I be decided that laughter is usually the way to go…..and just think….this was only a small part of evening….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Speechless… no, not really, but I barely know you and it is not my place to say what I really would like to say. Perhaps a transient bout of dementia will strike you and you just find yourself wandering off to a nice hotel for the rest of the visit… Best of luck???!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m laughing here, but have to wonder how wigged out is your MIL?! Fingering pickles seems nuts to me. Worrying about pickle temperature seems nuts to me, too. Best of luck dealing with her, may your strength of character overcome her fussiness.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yesterday I mentioned a Benjamin Franklin quote about company getting old after three days. Clearly in this case three days would be WAY to long …

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! I thought I had difficult family members, but now I see what difficult truly means….. Glad the visit is over, and maybe if you move (without providing your new address) soon, it will be her last visit?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m glad your husband can laugh about this situation. I try to go by that rule about how you can’t control what anyone else does but you can control your reaction to it. Laughter is good. We all have “characters” in our lives that make situations a bit of a challenge. If we can turn them into great stories like the one you just wrote, maybe it’s worth it to get all this fodder. Keep sharing. But never with her. OO that would never do.

    Liked by 1 person

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