Tonight, we got cheapola pizzas for the boys for dinner, and the adults – my husband, brother-in-law and I – went out for sushi. I will confess, it wasn’t until I hit my mid-40s that I was actually willing to try sushi. One summer evening, after all the boys had departed for a week of Scout Camp, we 3 adults checked out the sushi bar near our (old) home. I was game to give it a try, I’ve found as I’ve gotten older my tastes have changed. I used to like ketchup, for example. Now I can’t stand it. Coffee? Yuck. Now I like fancy iced coffee – frappacinos. But this is not the point of my ramblings.
At the sushi bar, there was the bar where you could sit, as well as tables. The bar is more family style, as you’re surrounded by other people enjoying their sushi. You say hello to the person next to you when you sit or they sit. Share some smiles or agreements about the yumminess everyone is directing towards their tummies. Laugh with/at the sushi chefs (is that even the right term?) as they prepare your sushi rolls. Down in SoCal, there was a “Spidey Roll” at our fave sushi bar. Every time it was ordered, the Japanese chef would sing, “Spidey man, spidey man…” Yes, we did our part to egg him on. The kid making our sushi rolls tonight had a sense of humor too. BIL ordered “Godzilla.” The kid told him, “You didn’t say that right.” When BIL made his second order, he asked, “Did I say it right?”
What’s this have in common with Basque restaurants? Seating at Basque restaurants is family style…people sitting at long tables, together. I don’t know why this got stuck in my head while we were stuffing our faces as fast as we could move our chopsticks, but it did. Maybe it was the sense of camaraderie amongst the diners and chefs. Three people down from me, a diner asked one of the chefs, “Do you know where the seaweed came from?” The chef shrugged, clearly baffled, and replied, “The sea?” That caused lots of giggles. When our chef asked The Spouse if he wanted something else, The Spouse declined, and I quipped, “He’s watching his girlish figure” which caused Chef Seaweed to grin hugely. People clearly enjoying each other.
It made me happy, all this human interaction. Strangers being friendly. As we left, we said goodbye, and the people sitting to our right all wished us good night. We’re there to eat, a basic human need. It didn’t matter race, color, creed, political affiliation – we were bonded by our need to get out and have a nice meal. Sitting together like that really leaves you no choice but to interact, and you start ahead of the game with something in common: enjoyment of the food you’re there to eat. If only we could practice that in other aspects of life – start with what we have in common, rather than what we don’t, or what we disagree about. Wouldn’t that open more doors and possibilities? Ahhhh, what a lovely notion.
The only complaint I have about tonight’s dining experience is the stools at the bar. You need 8 feet long legs in order to sit and unsit. An elevator up to have a seat would’ve helped me – I’m short. The Spouse asked, after I commented it was a long way down when we were leaving, “Were you sitting there swinging your legs?”
Yes. Yes I was. And I’m positive I wasn’t the only one.