Fun Down Under
We drove through the crowded holiday mess downtown and hit the parkway before deciding to choose between one of two places: An unpopular Mexican restaurant lounge where we could easily commandeer the television remote or the Outback Steakhouse, a crowded choice on a Friday night but a place that houses a gigantic bar and at least two televisions. Going home was NOT an option. We drove to the Outback and found fairly comfy bar stools (I reminded myself that I am much less comfortable actually attending a game and having to sit on cement bleachers) and ordered cocktails, lobster/crab cakes, and grilled shrimp. The people watching was simply outstanding. I found myself more enthusiastic about that than the actual game. Across the bar sat three men in strange, flat-brimmed hats, looking like the Three Amigos. One gentleman ordered a Coors Light with a strange hillbilly twang that would have made Garth Brooks proud. Brian and I decided we found ourselves confused by their attire. I commented that the flat brim of each hat looked quite aerodynamic, and I made a soft whooshing sound when one passed by on his way to the restroom. A petite thing with a rounded bubble of blond hair sat on the stool to my right and occasionally sent items from her plate back to the kitchen. Since I am not normally much for a slab of bloody meat, and the overenthusiastic jumble of spices the restaurant rolls their food in tends to cause heart palpitations and night sweats in me, I very wisely chose the grilled chicken and vegetables. Brian chose steak, a grainy, bloody plank of fat-rimmed beef accompanied by some admittedly tasty french fries. We ate our dinners bathed in the bright light of neon kangaroos.
I thought a lot about the fact that most Americans, including myself, are horribly ignorant about other countries and the people who live in them. I also thought about how sad it was that the place innocently tends to nurture the assumption that Australians are all unusually friendly country folk who drink Fosters all day, talk funny, raise cows, and throw boomerangs in their spare time. Ironically, most of the food offered at The Outback is Creole/American, anyway, with little to no Australian influence that I could detect. I have learned much about the world in the last three years by communicating with many people in different countries. I now know for a fact that there are many people in Australia who have children who look an awful lot like my own son. I also know that these families have the same joys and heartbreak I do. They are some of the nicest people I have ever met, and they are a lot like me, no matter where they might live. Amazingly, I felt a little homesick for the people and places I have never seen.
I have learned that Williams syndrome is everywhere. Thankfully, so is Fosters. :)
We watched OSU fight its way to victory in a less than attractive manner, and in the fourth quarter we ordered coffee and a monstrous chocolate sundae with two spoons. The family dinner crowd was replaced by younger patrons, mostly in pairs, and we soon gathered our things and drove home, where a very excited boy bounced up and down on his mattress in his room and giggled, content as could be.