Falling Off the Wagon, Into a Big Vat of Warm, Gooey…

Falling Off the Wagon, Into A Big Vat
So then…a tiny window of time pops up during my role as Chauffeur to the World’s Youngest Passengers Who Never Tip, Sometimes Fart, and Always Giggle. I have an hour before my next pickup, so I’m alone, right outside Universal City Walk on a beautiful sunny winter day.

I can either walk around this lovely outdoor complex, burning up some calories – or listen to my rumbly tummy and eat up some calories. The latter, please.

But I want to be health-conscious, so I walk to the left, looking for a nutritious salad place when suddenly what to my wondering eyes should appear? TONY ROMA’S.

Ribs.

Well, protein IS one of the requirements of my new diet healthy lifestyle torture regime.

And ribs are protein.

And it’s right here.

And I’m hungry.

And ribs.

So I ask for a table near the window and vow to keep this simple and healthy.

When the server asks for my order, I say primly, “Baby back ribs, please.”

She asks, “Roma Rack or Full Slab?”

“Oh, just the Roma,” I say. (No need to be a piggy about eating this piggy.)

She jots it down, then asks, “What side would you like?”

“Hmm, what is your vegetable of the day?” I ask, conscientiously.

“Broccoli.”

“Lightly steamed?” I ask hopefully.

Snort. “No, microwaved,” she replies – then laughs and laughs and laughs.

I’m not sure if she’s laughing at the expression on my face when she said “microwaved” – or laughing at the very idea of her establishment “lightly steaming” anything! It is, after all, an unabashed rib joint.

She imbued that snort with the unspoken barb, “Whaddaya think – you’re havin’ tea with the Queen at the Ritz?

Either way, her laughter is infectious and I find myself joining in.

“Fine,” I finally say, using my tone of voice to indicate that “microwaving” the broccoli simply won’t do.

I glance at the menu, then make the only other logical healthy choice, “Bacon Macaroni and Cheese.”

She grins wide, nodding in deference to a truly brilliant side selection.

And now, the ribs and the warm, gooey Bacon Macaroni and Cheese arrive – and let me tell you, it is deeeee-licious.

— Darcy Perdu

P.S. And yes, I do know Tony Roma’s also offers grilled salmon. What’s your point?

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(Have you fallen off the wagon this holiday season yet? What’s YOUR kryptonite? Mine is obviously ribs & bacon mac & cheese – but I also go weak-kneed for warm chocolate baked goods smothered in cool ice cream. So ‘fess up – if you indulge this holiday, what’s your tempting treat?)
Falling Off the Wagon P

Biker Beauty?

So then…I swoop down the hill on my bike, zipping through the bike path at Mason Park, and just as I gracefully glide around a massive oak tree, I see him again. My lips can’t help curving into a smile as I recognize the sleek blue car with the attractive dark-haired guy behind the wheel glancing at me admiringly.

And why shouldn’t he? I ain’t no supermodel, but damn, I’m looking good! Birthin’ two babies in the past couple years sent my body weight careening into Orson Wellsian proportions, so I frantically adopted the advice of every weight-loss guru since the beginning of time: “Eat Less, Move More.”

I’m pretty proud to reach my pre-pregnancy weight (minus 5 lbs), so yes, I am wearing a bikini top with tight little biker shorts. And my daily bike rides in the California sun have tanned my long limbs a lovely warm brown. So I’m a little flattered that Sleek Blue Car Guy has driven past me a few times at the park.

As I’m loading my bike onto the back of my car, he drives over and says, “Hey, you’re pretty cute. Do you have a boyfriend?”

Suddenly I flashback to another guy who said the exact same thing to me a few years ago at this very park. I hadn’t had kids yet, but I was married, so when a fellow bike rider stopped me to say, “Hey, you’re pretty cute. Do you have a boyfriend?” I said, “Oh, not only do I have a boyfriend — I have a husband!” (I meant that a husband was even more serious than a boyfriend, so I really couldn’t go out with Nice Bike Rider guy.) But the guy jokingly interpreted it that I had BOTH a boyfriend AND a husband, so he laughed and said, “Oh, well, you must be really busy – I guess you don’t have time for me too?” And we both laughed and waved and rode our separate ways into the sunset – him feeling proud of his witty remark – and me feeling flattered to have attracted his interest in the first place.

So now, as I’m faced with a similar situation – and in fact, the same question, I smile and cleverly say, “Oh, not only do I have a boyfriend — I have a husband – and two kids!”

The car guy looks at me, frowns, and says, “Jeez, I didn’t ask for your whole life story.”

And he speeds off.

Oh.My.God.

I stand here totally deflated.

I was trying to reject him in a graceful, witty way – and he rejected me!! Instead of feeling flattered, now I’m feeling guilty that I bored him with my verbose personal history!

But I mean really, I only said 15 words! Was I really imposing on his time so much as I conveyed my “whole life story?” I want to yell at his receding bumper, “YOU stalked ME for half an hour, you jerk!”

I turn to my car and pull the last strap in place for my bike. I console myself with the thought that Car Guy was probably just looking for naïve women to fall for his line so he could sell them into the Serbian sex slave trade.

In which case, I’m glad I’m married and have two kids. I don’t even like baklava.

So there.

— Darcy Perdu

(Heard any good pick-up lines? Any gentle rejections? Share your stories of first meetings or awkward over-sharing in the Comments Section!)