I don’t go there often; the last time was in February. But tonight I am too tired to think about cooking, much less cleanup.
The boys and I walked in and were given a table directly across from the child-height candy machines. Bad idea.
“Um, could we get another table, please? Something maybe not so close to the dulces?”
We were led across the restaurant to a booth by a window. Sufficient entertainment for a three-year old while he’s waiting for his food. Jack was pleased.
Our server came to take drink orders. He was Mexican, like all the servers here. Very handsome guy: pretty eyes, chiseled features and full lips. His chest was just discernible underneath his polo shirt. I'd guess he was 26 or so.
Jack kept asking, “What’s YOUR name?” Finally, the poor guy bent down close to Jack, so he could see the printing on his shirt.
“AL-ba-rro. Me llamo Alvaro. Can you say it? AL-Ba-Rrro.”
My kids speak two languages, or at least are used to hearing two languages at home. Neither language is Spanish, though they are both excellent mimics. Jack doesn’t miss a beat, “Al-Ba-rrrrro.” He rolls the R perfectly.
“Muy Bien!! Perfecto!”
Another one bites the dust. Charmed by my youngest son, servers across this fine town have fallen victim to the longing gazes and waves from across the room. The small blond boy summons one and all to his table to say hello. Mark at the Thai place. Chrissy at the deli. Amber at the sports bar. They are all among the smitten. When it comes to striking up conversations with folks in the food service industry, Jack has no problem.
Miles, who has none of this bravado, leans in and whispers to me, “Momma, ask Alvaro if he knows about Dora!”
The server is trading “high fives” with Jack.
This is very cute, I think. I say, “Excuse me, Alvaro, but did you know that there is a cartoon show about a girl named Dora?”
“Si! Dora la exploradora! I know her!”
Now Miles is smitten with Alvaro. He hides his face in my dress.
We order our dinners and sit, as Jack makes conversation with the couple in the adjoining booth. They are a young couple, and clearly don’t have any kids. They engage him in his antics and wind up having a difficult time finishing their meal. I say they are clearly kidless, because anyone with small children knows that “booth talk” is like a death sentence. You will not have two minutes alone with your sweetie as long as you make eye contact with the small child flirting with you from over the seatback.
Let them learn.
Our food comes while we are in the restroom (It works, even with kids!). We come back to the table and start to eat. Jack is searching out Alvaro. Smiling and waving. “Hola, Alvaro! Gracias! Alvaro! Gracias!” He knocks his drink onto the seat next to him. At that moment, another server, Silvia, is walking by. She picks it up and wipes up the bit that spilled. “Hola, muchacho! Que tal?” She tousles his hair.
“Say, ‘Gracias, Silvia,’” I say. Silvia turns to me, surprised, “Usted habla espanol?!”
“No realmente; un poco.”
“Usted no tiene un acento!"
I shake my head, smiling; I know I don’t have an American accent when I am speaking Spanish. Or French. Or anything else. Still, it’s nice to hear it and act flattered.
Silvia walks away, shaking her head and laughing. I see her talking a few minutes later with Alvaro. Soon she is back.
“You have two boys, si?”
“Si, Miles is almost five, and Jack will be three in a few days.”
“You are married?”
“Ah. My friend, Alvaro, he thinks you are… muy hermosa,” she smiles.
“Oh! Thank you…that’s very sweet…tell him thank you.”
“How old are you?”
(This is turning comical)
“No! You look, maybe like 27. Maybe!”
“Gracias! I really am 33.”
“Where do you work?”
“I’m a massage therapist. I work at home.”
“Oh! I like very much the massage! How much money do you take? Can I have your number?”
I give her my card.
“You know, Silvia, when Miles was Jack’s age, we came in and you were our server. Miles could not keep his eyes off you. He kept staring at you and calling your name, ‘Siiiiilbia!’ He fell in love with you. And you were very good with him. Thank you.”
Silvia smiles and blushes. She walks off again toward Alvaro, armed with my bio and phone number.
I wonder which one will call me first.
As we are leaving the restaurant, Jack makes the rounds to all the servers and says “Adios.” To Alvaro he gives a hug. Alvaro picks him up and kisses his forehead. Jack lays his head on Alvaro’s shoulder.
“Tell Alvaro you’ll see him next time! Adios!”
Alvaro smiles at me as he sets Jack down on the tile.