May I have an extra napkin please?
I don’t go out to eat in restaurants much anymore and I miss that. Not that K-Bird and I were ever fanatics for the taste of another’s cooking, We have often felt after eating, even at a good restaurant, that we could have cooked our meal better ourselves using better ingredients and at a much better price, but the food wasn’t the main reason for dining out. It was the romantic experience - the out of the way table for two - someone else to wait on us, cook for us, and clean up after us - the whole restaurant, night club - going out culture - that appealed to us, we could be anywhere - even a tiny seven-table family-owned restaurant in Riverside and it was special, special because we were OUT. I feel that there must be some distant and ancient social need met by leaving your house and eating in public, and that’s what I miss.
I don’t go out to eat in restaurants much anymore because I am embarrassed, for parkinsons* has become my flag, as well as my cross, to bear. By flag I mean I have become and continue to become more aware that I don’t look - behave - sound like I used to and I definitely don’t have the table manners that I used to, table manners that my dear mother worked so hard to instill in me. Basic table manners that, along with countless other, taken for granted, abilities - abilities that once were performed without thought or worry - are now seemingly beyond my grasp. To watch me attempt to enjoy a simple bowl of soup can be comical, with soup going everywhere it shouldn’t , like a thousand clowns spilling out of a tiny car in the middle ring of a three ring circus, running around with nowhere to go but down the front of my expensive dress shirt. Quite comical - and if it were funnier I would laugh more.
I see people stare, their faces filled with unwanted expressions of fear - pity - confusion, as they notice my flag of disability. Or, is it only my own paranoia I see? Are the looks on their faces actually the expressions of my fear and confusion mixed with unaffordable self pity. I feel so different than all of my fellow humans - so different - and they must notice how difficult life is for me. But, in reality they don’t, they can’t see past the difficulties in their own life. This is as it should be, for life is difficult and everyone has their own cross to bear - their own flag to fly... everyone. The answer for me is not to be ashamed but rather to be proud of my tattered battle flag. I’ve earned every rip and tear. Even though sometimes Kathleen has to order for me, even though I might spill my ice tea there times in a one hour period and helplessly subject my companions to other toddler like behaviors, I have no reason to deny myself my humanity, no reason to not enjoy a night out. I have no reason not to laugh at the silly clowns jumping into my lap...for, like my mother taught me, that’s were my napkin is.
Until next time, be good - be happy - be good -n- happy
Andy Ward King can now be seen making a mess in finer restaurants all around the Riverside area of Jacksonville, Florida
* I never (and never will) capitalize the word parkinsons - it does not deserve that much respect. No matter what happens I shall always control my shift key!
NEXT TIME on MY WONDERFUL LIFE
Join Rex the LuckyDog and his old friend Spike as they take a tour of the “New And Improved” Gr00vyLand Gardens
just say yes!
meet Andy Ward King, a professional musician and artist until a diagnosis of parkinons dsease at age 49 forced him into an early retirement., he now uses his music, his art along with the whimsical world he has created in this blog as therapy to ( as he puts it ) outsmart his brain and make the daily battles with parkinson’s a little bit easier, to give him that all important reason to get up on the morning, to make his life worth living. Andy has learned how to say NO to gving up \ NO to depression and apathy \ NO to following willingly the road of decline that stretches before him. he learned that to say no to all of these things all one has to do is say yes. Andy has learned to just say YES to life/\\