As is our tradition in the middle of the week, today Mike and the boys came to meet me for lunch. We went to one of our favorite kaiten (rotating) sushi bars, Bluefin Sushi. It's much more expensive to eat out nowadays as the boys are getting older. Nicholas will eat just two things there, but he eats a lot of it: gyoza (the Japanese word for potstickers) and shrimp sushi. Kieran always gets inari sushi, a few other varieties, and a piece of cheesecake.
When the sushi plates go around the conveyor belt, most of them are covered with little plastic bowls. Creative Kieran made a hat out of one by poking a chopstick through the hole in the top. He desperately wanted to take one of the little plastic covers home. I try to minimize every possibility of bringing in more potential clutter to our home, but he had his heart set on the thing.
Trying to be a good citizen and parent, I suggested that he ask the waitress whether he could take one home. He demurred, wanting me to do so instead. I told him I would go with him.
Instead of the waitress, I stopped the first employee I found: the hostess. He asked her his question very politely, and she said no, she didn't think so. He immediately buried his head into my skirt and looked mortified. Although Kieran is loud, boisterous, and opinionated, he is also VERY sensitive.
The entire way back to my office, he walked with his head bowed down and buried into my waist. Poor little guy was so embarrassed, he couldn't even show his face in public. When they said goodbye to me at the office 5 minutes later, he was crying.
Mike announced that he thought all along that they would not let him take one of the plastic covers home. I figured it was worth asking; they must not cost more than $0.05 each!!! And we had just spent nearly $30 on lunch.
I told Kieran that some people are rule followers, and some people are rule benders. As Mike did point out, none of the staff at the sushi bar seemed particularly inclined toward children or patrons in general. They obviously were not charmed by Kieran as many people are. I declared that the waitress with blue hair would certainly have said yes (she wasn't there today).
Last week when Kieran and I drove to the train station to pick up my friend Roy, we pulled over into an area that said "loading zone, no parking." No trucks or anything loading were in sight--it was a Saturday morning! But sure enough, some rule-following Nazi (the type who get their kicks out of making people follow instructions) came marching over to us, shaking his finger at me, and I had to circulate around instead of parking and reading Harry Potter to Kieran.
The world has rule followers and rule benders. Mike is a rule follower (in general). He would love to be said rule-following Nazi and give out rule-breaking citations or lectures at the very least. He said that they couldn't just let everyone take the little plastic covers home or they wouldn't have any left. But I ask you: how many people (or children) really want to take these silly things home??? How often could that possibly happen?
I'm a rule bender at times. I would never break laws, and I'm a huge believer in karma. However, at times one needs to be flexible. I would wager that the sushi staff were not told "under no circumstances should you ever let anyone leave with one of the plastic sushi covers!" This young woman took the opportunity to flex her muscles, even though she left a creative 6-year-old crushed and embarrassed.
I hope she regretted it. She's the one who should feel embarrassed. It certainly makes us less inclined to return to the restaurant any time soon. I'm sure we'll never be able to drag Kieran back!