We went for lunch yesterday and a kind of upscale restaurant. Ruby had had her hair done and looked lovely with a pink feather woven into her hair. Her nails shone, freshly painted, having had her first manicure. She's getting ready to go to the ballet and we wanted this to be a total experience. We arranged the seats so that Ruby was at the end of the table between Joe and I. The restaurant is nice but maybe a bit sedate for a child and when Ruby began to get bored waiting for the food to arrive, I asked her if she wanted to play the 'gotcha game'.
The 'gotcha game' is one where one player puts a hand on the table and when the other person tries to slap it it gets pulled away quickly. If you get hit the hitter calls 'gotcha' and then they put their hand on the table. It isn't, um, sophisticated. Ruby and I have been playing this game since she was just barely over a year old and , perhaps surprisingly, it doesn't get old. I had Ruby look around the restaurant and asked her if she noticed that people were talking quietly and enjoying their lunch and their time together. I asked her to think about how, if we were noisy, that might affect others. She said, 'They wouldn't like it.' So, the rule was set, we'd play, but quietly.
The games began. She was having a rip snorting time, and so was I. We laughed quietly even though we played the game with gusto. 'Gotcha' sounds even more intriguing when whispered. At a table over across the way a family in several generations, was lunching. The little girl had been fussing and then began watching us, grinning. Her father noticed her watching and looked over, I said, 'We are being terrible roll models right now, I know.' He smiled taking in the fun we were having.
His daughter reached out and tapped his hand and burst into giggles, Another game of 'gotcha' started. When the food came, Ruby tucked in game forgotten. Their food arrived, and too, the game was forgotten. We had a lovely lunch and we talked about the parade and the ballet and all the plans for rest of the weekend. Ruby told us about school and about her dance classes and we had a long and fairly involved conversation about pushing elevator buttons. The waitress talked to Ruby about her nails and they compared hands. It was just plain pleasant.
On their way out, the dad stopped and said that he was glad to have seen us play and have fun together. Ruby said the oddest thing, 'Oh, Dave knows how to have fun sitting down, most people in wheelchairs do.' The fellow said, 'I guess they do.' I think he may have been a bit shocked at how forthright she was about my wheelchair or maybe it was more surprise at how conversational she was about it.
I know how to have fun sitting down. I never thought of that as a skill before.
But do will now.