I slipped the guy a ten and he changed it giving me the redemption ticket for my car. The valet could not have been more convenient — I suppose that’s kind of the point of a valet isn’t it? The little street was narrow and the curb service was literally steps in front of the restaurant door. We had come to celebrate Maura’s birthday dinner. One of the few times recently that we’ve enjoyed dinner together as a family. All seven of us. He thanked me and offered a pleasant, “Enjoy your dinner.”
We were meeting Maura’s sister who oddly enough shares the exact birthday as Maura. OK, so oddly enough isn’t really true. They are twins after all. She had arrived before us so we entered the restaurant and headed directly to our table. The evening thus far the picture of efficiency.
As soon as we got to the table the requests from the kids started pouring in…
I want to sit next to you!
Can I sit next to Uncle Jim?
I want to sit next to Mommy.
It was about this point that Maura remembered that Zander had already laid claim to a spot at her side having made his request before we ever left the house. Maura surveyed the table and the kids and then asked, “Where’s Zander?”
“He’s right next to you,” I said making note of the hooded figure to her right. (Zander, for whatever reason, feels that if his shirt or jacket was designed with a hood then you should use it.)
“No, that’s Zia,” Maura replied.
And it was. Zia had thrown me a curve by wearing her own hoodie for the evening. A quick look around the room revealed that there was in fact, no Zander among us.
“Umm, I think he’s still in the car.”
“Oh, good lord!”
I rushed back outside to the now empty street. The valet’s buddy spoke up. ”He just left to go park your car.”
“Yeah, I know. I left my kid in the back seat.”
“Dude, you’re shitting me!!”
“Man, I wish I was.”
I suppose in the grand scheme of things it could have been much worse. Yeah, I know. It really couldn’t have been. I had just handed a total stranger the keys to my car — the car that contained my still sleeping child — and let him drive off into the night.
Long story short, the guy had only gone a couple of blocks and Zander was still fast asleep in the back, oblivious to the entire event. The only information he’ll be able to impart on later trips to the couch is strictly hearsay. At least for this specific event.
Upon leaving I slipped the valet another five spot for his trouble and hopefully, his discretion. Somehow, I doubt the latter.
But I guess I deserve that.