Just before Christmas 2017, our library director took his library staff out to lunch. It’s been a tradition that it’d be some non-standard fate, and this time we settled on Van’s Vietnamese restaurant, on Central Avenue in Albany.
It was fine, and the servings were generous. I got two more lunches out of the leftovers. But the decor was non-distinct.
But I recall the PREVIOUS time I was at Van’s, more than a decade ago. It was located on Madison Avenue. It was going to be the first time my wife and I were going to actually go out to dinner at a nice, sit-down restaurant. It had a nifty tile floor, as I recall.
Of course, we had to take the Daughter in that carry seat that fits into the back seat of the car. All the way to the restaurant, she was fine. Happy, even.
However, within five minutes of being seated, she began to cry. No, that’s not precisely correct. She began to WAIL. The screaming bouncing off the floor made the sound even worse.
None of the usual tricks – the binky to suck on, singing to her, holding her -worked. After about five minutes, not wanting to torture the other diners, the waitstaff, or ourselves any further, we departed, leaving a small tip for the two partially-drunk glasses of water.
We put her in the car, went to some drive-through place for some burgers and went home. The Daughter was fine, happy even. So what happened?
Theory #1: she did not want her parents to have a good time! Theory #2: there was something about the smell of the food that disagreed with her. Or maybe it was just the sound of people walking on that floor that bothered her ears.
Emotionally, I’d been leaning towards Theory #1, but years of hindsight suggests the second theory is more plausible.