Recently the girls and I found ourselves famished at the late hour of 5PM, in the vast child-friendly restaurant cornucopia known as the Upper East Side. We were too hungry to get home to Brooklyn first. So we popped into an old school diner, the kind of place where the children’s plates turns out to be the same as the adult plates, only they come with a cup of milk. And the adult plates could easily feed two.
I’m not sure what chef thinks that a five year old can eat 7 chicken strips, each the size of a an actual chicken, but he must have large children.
Massive bag of leftovers in hand, we trudged up the avenue to one of the best ice cream shops in the city as promised. It’s one of our favorite Sometimes Treat places, and the girls go crazy for their cake batter ice cream.
I generally let them split a “child size,” considering the child size is more than enough for two small girls (especially those who couldn’t finish the chicken fingers). I often get one for myself, and just hope they don’t card me.
Think I can still pass for 9?
Let’s face it: our food has gotten pretty freaking big.
I’ve been asked a lot about the Bloomberg soda ban, and I’ve turned down a few media appearances because I’m conflicted about it. If you’re not familiar with it (because you don’t follow any New Yorkers or Libertarians or soda companies on Twitter), the proposal is to ban the sale of sugary drinks over 16 ounces with the aim of reducing obesity. I understand the intent. But I think there’s something to be said for the idea that adults can make their own terrible decisions provided they don’t physically hurt me–as opposed to say, smoking in public or driving like an ass on 95. To me, regulating adult food choices at the movie theater doesn’t have the same urgency as regulating children’s food choices in schools.
My issue is that we simply have no choices at all anymore.
I go into Five Guys burgers (mmmm Five Guys…) and my single option is buying a soda bigger than size of my head if I wore a bouffant. To say nothing of the gargantuan movie theater soda sizes which are so cliché by now, I can’t even make a new joke about them. I tried but…nope. It’s all been said.
Oh wait! How about…
nope. Been said.
The only compromise I can think of is that where 16 ounce sodas are sold, maybe there has to be a 6 or 8 ounce option too. Wouldn’t that at least allow the choice for those of us who want less? And then the people who want to chug 32-ounce Mountain Dews for breakfast and lose all their teeth still can?
New York has been more polarized by the debate this summer than the Mets-Yankees subway series, and that’s saying something.
As for us, back on that corner of 78nd and 2nd, our summer night ice cream outing was coming to an end in a typically messy way. Sage and Thalia and I sat under the ice cream shop canopy on a slatted bench, slurping down the last of the cup’s melted contents while I tore through a tree’s worth of of napkins trying to keep it off their faces, their dresses, their sandals, the little yappy dogs that walked by.
Ap0logies to that one Yorkie.
Just then, a man ran up to us, hot and out of breath. He wasn’t well-dressed but not quite disheveled either. He thrust a piece of paper toward me and asked me to help him find the xopaiwehihlshporreirpx and something about the church which sxkjjjporslawerrrrl something about families? And I had no idea what he was talking about with families and churches, but he seemed in a great hurry.
“I’m so sorry, I don’t live around here,” I said.
But before I could reach for my phone and try to Google whatever address he had scribbled down, he thanked me and literally ran off. I watched him scurry uptown, bobbing and weaving a bit, paper outstretched in his arms as if he were following a treasure map on a very urgent deadline.
It was only after he turned the corner that I was able to cobble together what he had asked me.
Do you know where I can find the food pantry at the church, the one that gives out meals to hungry families who need food?
My heart sank.
It sank lower than the bench we were on. Lower than the subway tunnels many meters down.
It sunk wildly low as I ran through the scene over and over in my head from his perspective: two cute young girls with expensive ice cream all over their faces, a mother holding a 5-pound bag of leftovers that may or may not be eaten, and somewhere, blocks away, a family hungry for dinner.
“Who was that man?” Sage asked.
“He was a daddy,” I said.