Christmas fun time

I never did talk about Christmas with my Mom and my sister, did I? Very well, then.

So every Christmas, I take my mom out to a Chinese restaurant. This should surprise absolutely no one, since the Chinese shopping centers treat Christmas like any other day of the year except for the giant Christmas tree smack dab in front of the Ranch 99. I like to think of the Christmas tree as a sign of goodwill from the management; in reality, it's probably more of a blatant reminder to the employees that while white people everywhere are spending time with their families, they're busy stocking shelves, steaming pork buns or selling body parts of endangered species.

This year though, my mother wanted something different.

Eric: So where do you want to eat this year, Ma?

Mom: ... this year, I want American food

Eric: [cue sound of record scratching] Really?

Mom: But nothing too expensive. I don't want you to spend too much money on me, after all.

Now, my mother's version of "Fancy American Dining" is usually Hometown Buffet; the idea of all-you-can-eat spare ribs and crab legs is the ultimate American decadence to her, along with the Home Shopping Network. (She LOVES her those damn cubic zirconium rings, but that's another blog post entirely.) Unfortunately for me, Hometown Buffet is closed on Christmas Day, which leaves two options: Denny's or an uber-fancy restaurant.

I briefly close my eyes and try to imagine us eating Christmas dinner at Denny's. Then I remind myself that the last time I was at Denny's, it was three in the morning and I witnessed one of the servers start a physical altercation with the short order cook. I then imagine my sister, losing her temper and attacking both of them with a serrated butter knife.

Well, that won't do.

So instead, I took them to Parcel 104, a fancy restaurant that serves "Californian Cuisine." Now, I've never taken both my mother and my sister out to anything this extravagant before, so I'm a little nervous; I remind them to wear something nice beforehand - NO SWEAT PANTS - and when I show up to the house to take them to the restaurant, my mother is wearing a delightful red sweater, red slacks, and has a red silk scarf around her neck. My sister is wearing the same sweater and scarf combination, but in green. Like they were stewardess for "Crazy Chinese Family Airlines," now departing for a fancy American restaurant.

Mom: Eric, your face and neck are going to be cold. Here, I made a scarf a couple of years ago than you can wear, so you can be warm.

The scarf is made out of silk. It has blue flowers on it.

Eric: No.

Mom: What's wrong with it? Blue is a masculine color. FOR BOYS!

Eric: NO, NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO.

Mom: (mocking) Wah. THOUSAND NO. Ai-ya.

Once we actually got seated inside the restaurant, the experience went by relatively smoothly. Instead of writing about the actual dining experience itself, I'll just highlight the experience in little bullet points:

My mother and sister eats salads and entrees the same way they eat a bowl of ramen: hover over the bowl or plate, shovel everything you can into your mouth, bite off the rest, continue process until food is eaten. Salad fork? Knife? Fuck that, we're going for efficiency. I nodded and smiled politely to our waitress and fellow patrons as they did their best to convince themselves that table etiquette isn't really necessary on Christmas day.

Mothers will be mothers. "You don't have enough vegetables," my mom said as he grabbed a fork full of Caesar's salad Hearts of Romaine and dumped it on top of my Carrot Bisque soup. Not wanting to cause a commotion, I did the only thing I really could do; eat that goddamn salad floating on my soup as quickly as possible, stuffing the whole thing in my mouth. It's kinda like playing Chubby Bunny, but with organic ingredients and more humiliating.

And that was my Christmas, really.