50 shades of grey hair
There's this dingy little Mexican joint in my hometown that I used to hate. The first time I ever went, my dad got food poisoning. The food is now lightyears better than it used to be, and I find myself craving it all the time no matter how many good Mexican places I go to in Columbus. It's a staple in the community. I can't go without running into everyone I've ever met and I swear the paint color is different every time I drive by. This place holds so many memories. I've gone with my family countless times, I used to go with friends in high school, and I've been on more than one date there. It's a Friday night tradition for my parents to get take out from there, and I'm not shy about planning my visits home at those times. James and my dad both had to work Saturday, and I had major cabin fever, so my mom and I decided to go eat there. I haven't actually eaten in the restaurant in years. I usually don't stray from my parent's neighborhood when I'm there, but I was feeling brave and the fajitas were calling.
We were seated in a back corner booth with a couple sitting directly behind us. The booths are so close together that I could lean my head back just a couple of inches and bonk heads with the man behind me. I was elbow-deep in the chips and salsa when I noticed my mom's eyes nearly pop out of their sockets. Before I could ask what was wrong, I heard a slurping, smooching sound. I whipped my head around to see the couple behind me, in their 50s or 60s, swapping spit. Not just a little peck, but a full-on make-out session. There was tongue. And this was all taking place about 4 inches from my face. And did I mention they weren't young? You would expect this from teenagers, but not from a couple who could qualify for social security. I looked at my mom and mouthed if she thought they were on some kind of drug (aside from Viagra...ahem). I mean, this isn't normal! And NPR did just do a story last week on the drug issues of our town.
I'm not totally anti-PDA. A kiss in public doesn't bother me at all. But this? This was what I imagine the beginning of a romance novel to be. I was expecting Marvin Gaye to start playing at any minute. Gracie was sleepy and starting to get a little fussy, so my mom and I were passing her back and forth to soothe her and take turns eating. The kissing and smacking and moaning continued and I started to lose my appetite. I thought Gracie's whining would be birth control enough for them, but clearly not.
I find kissing noises to be completely disgusting. Any kind of mouth/eating/kissing sound makes me want to heave. They were truly kissing as loud as humanly possible. As the meal went on, she started kissing his neck, all over his face, his chest, rubbing his arm and putting her hands down his shirt, playing with his hair, and pulling him close for some more tonsil hockey. They went, honest to God, no longer than 30 seconds at a time without some kind of kissing.
My fajitas started to lose their appeal. They were making out so aggressively I was convinced I could taste their saliva in my salsa. My mom was almost in tears from laughing so hard. Whenever they finally pulled away, I looked between them to see THEIR POOR SON in the booth opposite them humiliated beyond belief. He never said a word about their behavior, but I saw his head collapse into hands every time the urge hit his parents. I couldn't catch much of their conversation, mainly because there wasn't any as their mouths were otherwise occupied, but their son regaled them with his adventures of "smoking his weiners" (please be talking about hot dogs) and how his friend left a 6-pack of beer in the back of his truck and it was "the funniest thing ever."
I was still trying to keep Gracie content and was bouncing her on my leg, thankfully keeping them out of her eyesight as 5 months is a little young to teach her about the birds and the bees. Because I could not let this situation go unmocked, I started kissing Gracie every time they started in on each other again. I kissed her as loud as possible, exaggerating every sound hoping they would get the hint, but if anything it just created more passion between them. Their hands were all over each other. I considered drawing a map to the nearest hotel, folding it into a paper airplane, and throwing it at their table. I knew I had to get a picture because at this point, my blog was just writing itself and I needed photographic evidence of this. I couldn't find my phone in the abyss of the diaper bag, so my mom handed me hers.
I have a very special talent for taking pictures of people without them noticing, but this was one of the most difficult assignments I've given myself. We were so close to each other, and the woman kept darting her eyes over to our table to catch a glimpse of The Hair, as though she was trying to make one of her own, and I was terrified she would catch me in the act. I tried to pretend like I was taking a picture of Gracie and me since she was still bouncing on my leg while I was carrying a conversation with my mom and trying to hide the phone. It was the Olympics of undercover photo-taking and what I've been training for my entire life.
I forgot my mom always has the volume of her phone turned all the way up, so as soon as I took a picture, the camera sound went off. ROOKIE MISTAKE. It's like the time I was trying to snap a picture of my British Lit professor in college. He had flared plaid pants in every color and would sit on his desk with his legs crossed, drinking coffee out of his thermos, and twirling his hair. This man made me nervous. He once scolded me for smiling as it "distracted the class" and lowered my grade from an A to a B+ on a paper because he (wrongly) claimed I misused the phrase "it begs the question." I had told everyone I knew stories of this guy, and one day I got brave enough to take a picture. The flash went off, he looked directly at me, and to this day I have never sweat more profusely than I did in that moment.
Thankfully the camera sound didn't seem to alert them to my sleuthing since their kissing was louder than any camera could ever be. We stood up and got ready to go, mainly because we were finished with our meal but also because I was scared of what my eyes would see if we stayed much longer. As I put Gracie back in her carseat, the woman leaned over the booth and commented on her hair. "So much hair! You never see hair like that on a baby! How old is she?" I tried to politely answer her questions when all I really wanted to say was, despite her age, "keep this up and in 9 months you could have one too!"
As I was driving back to my parents' house after getting gas, a rusty, beat-up truck passed me, and what did my little eyes see but a grey haired man driving with a grey-haired woman cuddling up next to him in the middle seat.