Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The True Melting Pot

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to do something I almost never get to do.  I went out to dinner with just my sister.  No kids, no husbands.  I really can't remember the last time we did that.  We went to Hibachi Japan where you sit around the grill and they cook in front of you.  I really like this because I can see what the food looks like before they cook it, and also that nobody has a chance to do anything to it.  ( I special order EVERYTHING and always worry that there is spit in my food.)

One of the things about this place is that you sit with strangers.  When you first get there everyone is kind of quiet and reserved.  As the meal goes on people start to loosen up and that is when the fun begins.  Time after time I am reminded that you can not judge a book by its cover.   I have sat next to a photographer that took pictures of all of his food and how the chef was making it.  I have sat next to a man that looked like a skinhead but it turned out that he was a convenience store owner who wanted to scare away potential robbers.  I have sat next to soldiers coming home and even a superintendent of a local school district. 

This trip there was a family that seemed slightly uncomfortable from the very beginning.  They were very concerned about who was going to sit by whom and when the waiter asked how we were going to split the bills there was a flurry of discussions while they decided who was going to pay for what.  One half of the people were into sushi where the other half was more of a meat and potatoes group.  The two people in the middle were a couple.  It was obvious that the others were the families of this couple. 

As we were talking to these people it became clear to me that they thought that my sister and I were a couple.  This was quickly cleared up when we told them that we were sisters, but it brought up an interesting thought.  As I have mentioned before, I go through life thinking that I am invisible to others, not like I have the invisibility cloak or anything, but I always think that nobody notices me.  It was the first time that I was there where i realized that someone else was looking at me and guessing about my life. 

As it turns out, that group of people were there to celebrate a graduation.  Allison was the valedictorian of her class.  The two families  do not spend a ton of time together and that is what was causing the tension.  It is fun to find out what the story is at the table with you.  Once again I was reminded that just as you can not judge a book by its cover, you can not judge the people around you until you take the time to find out the story.

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