We are out and about. It is nearing lunchtime. Mark asks me, “You want to grab something to eat while we’re out?”
“Sure, but just pick something. Don’t ask the girls what they want to eat. They will never be able to agree and then the car will just fill with whining and complaining. Maj gets overwhelmed, Kallan gets contrary, and you get all passive-aggressive and weird.”
Maj leans forward, “We are right here, you know. We can hear you, Mother.”
“Yeah,” Kallan agrees, “It’s pretty rude of you to just assume that we won’t be able to agree on lunch.”
Mark is all good-Daddyish, “Your mother is exaggerating. OK, ladies. Let me think and I will give you some choices.”
People? At this point? Mark is dead to me.
Despite being dead, Mark continues talking. Which is just such a fucking shame.
He says, “Alright, so here are your options . . . we could go to Jack-in-the-Box or Wendy’s or Baja Fresh.”
Kallan votes, “Wendy’s!”
Maj yells out, “Jack-in-the-Box!”
And Mark says sadly, “I was thinking that Baja Fresh sounded good.”
The three of them squabble and argue and bicker as I search the glove compartment for cyanide capsules.
Mark suddenly yells for quiet, “Let’s go to Taco Bell!”
Maj hates that idea.
“What about Burger King?”
Kallan hates Burger King.
Mark throws out the names of five or six other restaurants and the girls shoot all of these ideas down. Maj and Kallan would like to go to for pizza, but Mark is not really feeling pizza. Maj and Kallan suggest McDonald’s. Mark hates McDonald’s.
Mark suggests Costco for hot dogs.
Kallan agrees immediately.
Maj is not pleased, “Hot dogs are disgusting. I am tired of watching you people eat hot dogs. They are made of ground up animals stuffed into a tube, and that is disgusting. I want to throw up when I see hot dogs.”
Kallan is curious, “How is a hamburger better, Maj? That’s just ground-up cow.”
Maj turns to her sister, “I like hamburgers, OK? But now that you said that? I don’t want a hamburger either. Daddy? I need a restaurant with no ground-up animals.”
And so then of course Mark suggests we find a nice steak place.
And Maj freaks out.
Like seriously freaks out . . . she fills the car with angry screaming about how she is never eating animals again and how Daddy is horrible and cruel and how she cannot eat meat if people are going to remind her that she is eating pieces of animals and isn’t choosing a place to eat supposed to be fun because she is not having fun SHE IS NOT HAVING FUN and also she hates this family.
She finishes her tirade and throws herself back in her seat. Kicks angrily at the back of my seat. Glowers and fills the car with radiant hateful energy. Announces that she will not be eating, and we should just take her home.
Mark is all soothing and tries to fix the situation, “We could go to Baja Fresh!”
Snort! Mark does have his moments.
Maj is seething, “First of all? I hate their food. Second of all? We already rejected that place. And third of all? You know that place makes me want to barf. Like seriously barf. Do you want me to barf while you are eating, Daddy? Really?”
Turns out Mark does not want that.
Mark stops at the bank for a minute and I ask him to take Kallan with him so that I can talk to Maj.
“What? I hate this family and I am not eating. WHAT?”
“I do not care what you eat or do not eat, but you cannot freak out like this. You are not allowed to yell and scream at us. Get it under control before they get back or I am making you eat at Puppy Chow.”
“It’s this new place I heard about with a big pen of puppies in the front window. You pick the puppy you want, and they cook it up while you wait.”
There is silence for a moment as Maj considers this.
And then she surprises me.
She giggles, “OK, I will eat at Puppy Chow. But I want a whole-grain dog.”
“Make a note, Mother! I want a hairless whole-grain dog!”
Mark and Kallan climb back into the car.
Mark looks at me hopefully, “So where are we eating lunch?”
Someone needs to make a decision, so I speak definitively, “Let’s go to Panda Express.”
Maj leans forward to protest, “That wasn’t even on our list of possibilities!”
Kallan pipes up, “Yeah, Mom! No one but you wants to eat at Panda Express!”
I turn to face them, “Oh, but you’re wrong! Daddy is all excited about going to Panda Express.”
I turn back to face Mark, “Right, babe?”
Mark is busy burrowing in the center console, flipping through the papers he finds there, “I wonder if we have a coupon for Chevy’s? Is there a Chevy’s around here, you think? Or maybe Pollo Loco. Taco Bell is still an option, I think.”
Dead . . . to . . . me.
But he kept on talking.
We ended up at Baja Fresh.
Of course we did.