Our local diner has a big table in the front right near a picture window that faces onto the street. A sign on the table warns patrons that the table is designated for parties of 5 or more "or those who don't mind sharing." I never mind sharing, especially when I'm with Charlie; if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a busy New England diner to distract Charlie from the fact that starvation is setting in, he's beginning to feel positively lightheaded from malnutrition, vision...blurring..., and his silver dollar pancakes should have been here days ago.
Yesterday morning we shared the table with an older woman who had three young boys with her. They were nice kids, enthusiastic without being rowdy. This could have been because as they joined us, the woman reminded them to be on their best behavior "to set a good example for the baby," meaning Charlie. Unfortunately, that worked both ways; with the kids there I had to scrap my plan to hop up on the table, take over the place Pulp Fiction-style [YouTube], and demand the goddamned pancakes already. All polite-like, Honey Bunny.
I am happy to report that all of the young people behaved beautifully. When the two oldest boys had finished their meal, they left the table to visit the restroom. I took advantage of their absence to ask the woman whether they were her grandchildren. They were. "Lucky you!" I said, meaning it. "They're great kids."
The youngest boy, who was probably about six and who'd stayed with us at the table, piped up, "Do you have any grandkids?"
"No," I told him. "Charlie is my son, and he's not even three yet, so I can't have grandchildren until he's much older." (And if he's not infertile, I did not add.)
"Oh," said the kid, and thought about it. Then, "Do you have any other kids?"
"No," I told him.
"But you could," he said. "She could," he insisted, over the protest — "Joe, that's private!" — his grandmother was making. "She probably has some in her belly that she could just push out whenever she wanted!"
And there are people who would have felt terribly hurt by this. It is kind of horrible, I guess, not only having that knife slipped swiftly between your ribs and then viciously twisted, but having it done by a freckle-faced, gap-toothed moppet with impeccable table manners.
But, God, I am so jaded that it didn't hurt at all. Instead it made me laugh. Because all I could think was, Thanks, kid. You don't know what a favor you've done me. Now I have something to blog about.