I was wearing a Wal-mart original – $12 capris pants, a $6 t-shirt and black jogging shoes trimmed in neon pink. Daru was wearing a nice pair of pants, a matching top & sweater, gold necklace and earrings. We had worn this “attire” all day teaching.
Finishing up at 6 pm Daru and I went straight to the restaurant where she had made reservations to celebrate her birthday (for the third night in a row). She had consulted her IPhone for a good Italian restaurants in Santa Monica (she’s Italian) and made a 6:30 pm reservation at one that was close to the hotel where we were staying.
Parking in Santa Monica is difficult and all the metered street parking was full. Splurging on valet I handed the keys to my VW Beetle to the attendant in the near empty restaurant lot. We were greeted at the door by a VERY dapper gray-haired gentleman (gentleman being the operant word) who extended his hand and with a bright white smile welcoming us into the very small, dimly lit dining room. (dining being the operant word). I discreetly let the dapper gentleman know it was Daru’s birthday and would he please do something special.
Despite the fact that all the tables were empty we were seated at a tiny table at the very back. Daru was seated facing the dining room. I was seated facing Daru looking at a wall (after all it was her birthday celebration).
At about 7 the room began to fill: Men, in their 60’s or 70’s attired in expensive sports jackets (attired being the operant word) accompanying women wearing size 6 cocktail dresses, tastefully expensive jewelry, casually coiffed hair and impeccable make-up complimenting their second or third face lifts. I stretched my casual but elegant jogging shoes farther under the table.
The birthday treat was 3 scoops of ice cream – chocolate, vanilla & pistachio – of which Daru took a discrete photo to document the evening.
After finishing a good, but not great, expensive meal, I jokingly told her I would leave first so that no one would know she was with me (after all it was her birthday). As I arose from our table (arose being the operant word) I stepped on my jogging shoe string. My natural inclination was to bend down and tie it. For the first time that evening I got a really good look at all the diners. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor I strolled out, head held high, shoe string trailing behind.
Once outside I couldn’t find the valet parking ticket in my overstuffed handbag (BAG being the operant word). The valet looked at me and said he knew which car was mine. He quickly found my VW Beetle in the now packed parking lot among the Mercedes. I teasingly asked him how he could be so sure this was my car? He discretely smiled. (after all, he still expected a tip)