Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Heebie-Jeebies Buffet

They were gaping at us, mouths open, eyes wide. It wasn't even like we were fodder for conversation at their own table as there wasn't any, so fixated were they on us, or more specifically, on Eon and Bo. 

To be fair, we weren't exactly dining in an upscale or even mid-level restaurant. We were eating at a Walmart buffet, if Walmart had a buffet. Same clientele...if it were Walmart at midnight...on a weekend. But, church had just ended on Saturday evening and it was late. The kids were hungry and this place was cheap (which is imperative for a family of ten) and all-you-can-eat. 

We sat ourselves in the back room for large groups, divided up which big kids and grown ups would take which small kids and set off to fill plates. I stayed behind with Bo, who was already buckled in his high chair, and Eon, whose big kid made a bathroom run. That's when I noticed them. 

Eon being Eon was vocalizing a bit loudly his displeasure at having to wait. I assured him that Ellie would be back soon and began asking him what foods he planned to select. The older lady at the next table started watching him and our interaction. She was there with what may have been her husband and some adult children and their spouses. Sensing her stares, I felt like I was "on" and became even more animated as I interacted with the boys. 

Eon's big kid returned and took him to get food and the woman shifted her attention to Bo. When Shawn returned to the table, I left to get food and by the time I came back, the starers had grown by two and were eerily silent while the rest of their table ate and talked. I fed Bo while chatting with Eon and Ellie who were sitting near me wondering what in the world I was going to say if those people actually said something rude to me. 

My first thought was wondering how I was going to hold Shawn back so I could have a go at them first. I'm always so Christ-like when my mama bear instinct strikes. 

Before I had even gotten to Bo's dessert, their entire table was completely silent and blatantly gaping at our precious boys. 

I have no idea why. 

The boys weren't making a mess or being loud. I was feeding Bo, so he wasn't feeding himself with his hands which he does at home. Eon was using his utensils properly. It was just bizarre!

When I see people notice us, I always like to think the best. I usually imagine that they're wondering if the boys are twins or trying to figure out if they both have Down syndrome. I sometimes wonder if they have a relative with special needs. I glanced at them a few times to try and gauge the situation. They weren't openly curious. They weren't openly disgusted or hostile, either. They were just openly...staring with completely blank expressions. Heebie-jeebies creepy.

Shawn, at the far end of our table texted me:
If they keep staring at Eon and Bo, I'm going to beat them with a chicken leg.
Clearly, I'm not the only one whose instincts stray far from cheek turning when it comes to our kids. 

After a bit, they got up and left. We spent some time talking about it as a family. It's funny how you can come up with so many clever things to say after the fact. Everyone has their own idea of what they should have said. I wish I would have looked them straight on and, with a syrupy southern accent and a big smile said:
Would y'all mind if I take your picture? I have this blog, see, where I chronicle our lives with these beautiful boys and I have never had anyone take such and interest in them while they eat! I think it would make for fascinating reading on the blog if I showcased you with your picture! I shore hope you don't mind. You wouldn't now, would you? Of course not! Scrunch in there close now. That's right. Smile! 
Sadly, I did not do that, so you will have to use your imagination. I will tell you that, before the staring started, one of the sons stood to get more food and scratched his belly for a good long while and gave us an extended view of his poorly toned, excessively hairy abdominal region. (My eyes! My EYES!!!)

Maybe that will help you frame the situation. Heebie-Jeebies creepy, I'm telling you.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I wish you would have taken their photo! That is a hilarious idea. :-) Oh, well.... They had something to tell Mabel who wasn't able to join them.