Lena and I were at the food court in the mall, eating dinner before our movie came on. She likes the gyros (the food court is apparently the last bastion of the giant rotating meat-thing that gets slowly whittled away throughout the day under the orange heat-lamps — it’s just not a real gyro without it) and I like the veggies at the Big Easy “cajun” food place. It’s sort of a Taco Bell version of cajun cooking, but the corn, green beans, and cabbage are great.
After we had gotten our food we took a table towards the outside edge so we could watch the shoppers walking by and tucked in. Directly behind Lena at the table next to us was a young family with three kids. There was a daughter of maybe five years, and two little ones in a double-decker stroller, one girl and one boy, as well as Mom and Dad. Everyone was reasonably well behaved except… well, I suppose it isn’t really their fault, but the two in the stroller (twins maybe?) were of that age where you are just sort of “discovering” your voice. It’s like a new toy, and you want to take it out and play with it as often… and as loudly… as you can. They were alternating between screeching and this high, keening wail that left you with the distinct impression that they were most likely possessed by the devil. But just when you’re reaching for the ceremonial daggers, you realize that they’re actually baby howler monkeys, and all you really need is a cell phone to call the zoo to come pick the creatures up and stop interrupting your meal. For their part, the children seemed remarkably unperturbed as they made their cries of doom, looking almost bored with the whole game — just not quite bored enough to let me hear anything but them.
Mom decided quickly she had had quite enough of that, and got up and walked around the other side of the stroller to distract the wildlife with chicken nuggets and juice boxes. This caused a commotion of an entirely different kind, as Mom herself was young, pretty and fit, and wearing a tiny pair of white cotton shorts like you might expect to find on a teenager in Miami or L.A. — assuming she was also a hooker. On the far side of the family was a father feeding his boy lunch with a spoon. Father was faced away from all of us such that he had to crane his neck back over his shoulder to see Mom at the table next to him every time she bent over in those tiny shorts. This resulted in Father repeatedly running spoonfuls of food into the side of junior’s face while the boy bobbed and weaved attempting to catch the spoon in his mouth.
After the third time Father tried to feed his kid’s ear I finally started laughing myself, which caught Mom’s attention, which caught Dad’s attention, which immediately focussed Dad’s attention on Father, who, suddenlycompletely engrossed in his own child’s feeding, that the spoon went in the mouth, not the forehead, and never turned back around. Dad, for his part, seemed pleased with the encounter, perhaps even flattered at the attention his wife’s hooker-pants were gathering. They left soon afterwards, forgetting their older daughter’s cleaning kit for her newly-pierced ears, which Lena picked up and returned to them.
The whole affair, while entertaining, has left me with one question that continues to trouble me. Is there any way that giant rotating meat thing can really be sanitary?