Wednesday, July 26, 2006

From: Dining With Monkeys

Sadly, I bring you the final installment of the Monkey Convergence at Pete & Sam’s from Andria. Thanks for humoring us! Unless we hear some complaints, we may do it again soon. But invote more people, like the Chockleys.

As the last person to weigh in on the Monkey Convergence (assuming Warren and Admiral Jeff are still in their stress-induced comas), I feel it's my duty to make sure the record is accurate and complete. It's my pleasure to bring you ...

The DWM True Monkeywood Story!

[cue ominous voiceover guy]
Thursday, June 15, 3:38 pm, downtown Memphis: in a tobacco-fueled moment of delirium, RJA suggests that Stacey and several guest bloggers, all go to the same restaurant at the same time. Those still capable of basic math smile patronizingly and say, "sure, sure ... sometime."

Sunday, July 9, 2:47 pm, JP's birthday party, Kristy & RJA's front porch: suffering the effects of moonbounce-induced heat exhaustion, a small gaggle of DWM bloggers discusses possible locations for this purely theoretical monkey convergence. The exceedingly brilliant idea of visiting The Blue Monkey is shot down by one (roller)blogger who seems to think bars are inappropriate venues for large gatherings of children. The field is narrowed to two finalists: Jasmine and Pete & Sam's.

Wednesday, July 12, 1:19 pm-Friday, July 14, 4:59 pm, various Memphis workplaces: no fewer than 27 emails are sent in an effort to finalize the convergence. Jasmine is the winner. And then not. A last-minute audible is called and reservations are made at Pete & Sam’s. For 12. But what the DWM bloggers didn't know is that ... one of them had a secret.

[interior: dimly lit room, a female form in silhouette speaks in a privacy-protected distorted voice]
Anonymous Blogger: "Look, I ... I just don't really like Pete & Sam's. I never have. Maybe it's the peppers in the gravy, I don't know. But after all the debating back and forth, I was just too tired to object. And Je ... I mean, my husband was all excited about the tiny pizzas, so I figured maybe it would be better this time."

Friday, July 12, 6:34 pm, Pete & Sam's parking lot: [interior: anonymous Toyota] "Holy crap, that's Stacey's car ... and that's Kristy's car. Everyone's actually here already!? Man, the multi-breeders are going to give us crap for being late."

Friday: July 12, 6:36 pm, Pete & Sam's secluded back dining room: crap ensues.

6:39 pm: in an amazing stunt of accidental convenience, each family is seated at their own table, making the separation of checks 14% less annoying for the waitress. Drinks are ordered.

6:41 pm: Drinks are spilled.

6:42-7:01 pm: Monkey level reaches a steady 4 on the Cornelius Scale (10=damn dirty
apes). Most monkeys are still seated, but the restlessness is palpable. As the youngest walking member of Team Monkey, Jiro breaks the tension by trying to wiggle/fall/negotiate out of his high chair. On the south end of the table, a saintly almost-3-year-old sits quietly on her mother's lap while said mother pretends that this uncharacteristic display of shyness-related calm is actually the result of excellent parenting.

7:02-7:13 pm: The adults grow increasingly unnerved by the monkeys' collective reserve. The children are chattering pleasantly, fewer than 3 objects have become airborne, and there have even been smatterings of grown-up conversation.

7:14 pm: Food arrives, accompanied by a side order of monkey sauce. The table is suddenly aflurry with activity, very little of which seems related to eating. This is when two DWM myths are exposed. 1) Stacey's children really aren't as pinball-esque as we've been led to believe; she just likes writing every single little infraction down in her teeny notebook while she urges Warren to contain them, and 2) RJA's children aren't quite as angelic as assumed; he just drinks over the chaos. And Andria's monkey? Still sitting like a parochial school librarian, eating a bowl of black olives.

7:15 pm: Andria remembers too late that she dislikes the chicken parmesano, which is basically just an over-steamed chicken breast covered in sauce with a slice of mozzarella on top. By the time she recalls that she sort of likes the ravioli and tries that instead, it's cold. Her monkey is consuming a reasonable amount of mini-pizza and secretly plotting her monkey debut.

7:24 pm: In between bathroom trips and sub-table child extractions, the adults have finished their meals. The Monkey Level is approaching 9 when the checks arrive. Even Andria's cherubic child has dismounted her mother's lap and is joining the nerve-fraying fray. Amidst bribes involving lollipops, gumballs and monkey bars, the entire crew is slowly relocated to the lobby and then toward their own cars.

7:33 pm, Peabody Park: All three families rendezvous, as much to let the adults work out their tensed up shoulders by pushing swings as to get the kids unwound before bed.

7:42 pm: Somewhere in the humid Memphis dusk, a voice is heard saying, "That wasn't
so bad. We should do it again." Followed by various mutterings such as, "yeah," "maybe," "more liquor."

[interior: back to dimly lit room, a female form and a hopscotching toddler in silhouette]
Anonymous Blogger: "I'm actually glad we ended up at Pete & Sam's, because I think the real point of the trip was to show that families can still have social lives. We don't have to be terrified of going out in groups. It even makes it a little easier to have more kids around, because they entertain each other and the adults can play zone defense if needed. There's really nothing to be afraid of. Except the damn chicken parmesano."

posted by Stacey Greenberg

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