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When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Evolution And Eating

What is it about growing up that makes us increasingly more rebellious towards our parents? It's a tale as old as time; child grows up as the darling of the family before puberty triggers repressed rebellion he/she never even knew he/she had (this is however not applicable to kids without siblings; they're 9 times out of 10 forever ensconced in their parents collective womb bosom).

Why is this though? Is it some remnant of evolution, wherein we are genetically programmed to not function with our parents to ensure we leave the nest/hive/tree once we become adults?

As much as I love my quirky and semi-dysfunctional family, recently there are certain activities that I can only get through if I bite my tongue into submission or if I trick myself into thinking it's some form of survival test. Chief among these is the dreaded 'family meal out'. Please, join me, as we run through one together.

1. Where?

The first hurdle is always: where to eat. This is usually preceded by the "shall we have dinner/lunch out?" argument, where both parents argue about whether to do it or not, and whether there is food in the fridge that "needs to be finished first". Of course, since that argument usually ends in a stalemate, the two sons are involved, and as usual, we don't really care either way. Somehow, we make it all the way to the car, and then start deciding on a venue. The choices vary in number, depending on whether we're in Kandy or not (Kandy = 3-4 options. Elsewhere on the planet = infinitely more), but in actuality, the choices are limited to a) places we've already been to and b) random newspaper clipping/flyer discovered by Mom. Once we went to a place that Mom had found in a (very) old newspaper clipping, only to find that place had been closed down 6 months previously and been replaced with a dry cleaners. And then we went to KFC.

2. What to order?

Once we've made it to a venue that is agreeable to all, we sit down and begin the hardest part of the evening: ordering. Be it a fast food joint, Italian, Sri Lankan, Indian or Chinese, no one can agree on what to order. Bro wants something ridiculous. I convince him against it. Mom wants something small and healthy. No such item exists on the menu. Dad is usually the best; he sticks to something safe, with the odd experimentation (he once ordered a Birizza at Pizza Hut. That didn't go well). If rice or noodle portions are involved, the waiter gets involved with us to figure just how many portions the four of us really need, taking into account how we all eat differently. After that mathematical calculation is done ("bring one big plate and two small plates with a little extra on each...") we wait. Anxiously.

3. The eating.

The food always arrives a tad bit late, and more often than not, it doesn't look like the picture. No, not the picture in the menu (it never looks like that) but the picture in our heads. Comments are made. Noses are wrinkled. Prices from other restaurants are stated and compared. Sighs are uttered. Eyes are rolled. And then the waiter leaves the table, awkwardly. I always ask the parents, why do they make all these comments while we're still at the restaurant?? They simply don't realise it. And if the food is bad, heaven help the person that suggested we eat here in the first place instead of going to the other place that someone else wanted to go to all along...

4. The dessert.

This is really dependant on the meal. Sometimes, if the meal is bad, we don't get the luxury of picking dessert, just in case the dessert is of the same (low) standard. Which is sad, because Dad loves him some ice cream, but he'll only have one if either Bro or I are having too. I think this minimizes the power of the disapproving look from Mom. However, by this time, I'm already begging for the bill so we can bail.

And so, another eventful meal comes to an end. The thing is, I'm not really sure whether it is the family that has become more picky and annoying over the years, or whether it's just me not being able to put up with their usual idiosyncrasies. Perhaps I just got used to going out with my friends, during my college years and when I started working, who were a lot less likely to grumble and complain about eating in a restaurant, given that the alternatives were either to eat in the canteen or cook for ourselves. Whatever it may be, all I know is that as much as I love spending time at home and with the family, this is one of the small things that really make me want to flip the final switch of rebellion and demand my own place.

And don't even get me started on travelling with my family....!


The Puppeteer said...

Oh yeah! I can totally relate to wanting to leave the nest however much you love your family! It's worse when you have 5 in the family, trust me!

As for dinning out, I think my family has perfected the ordering bit over the years. But yes, we go through the same thing when trying to figure out where to go.

roman said...

As entertaining as this is for us to read (I do admit I did enjoy it), it must be quite hard for your parents to face it in black on white... sure hope they don't read your blog!
If that's the case, please do get started on the travelling part :-)

Gehan said...

@roman - my family know I love them. I think.

Either way, they don't read the blog!

I think.

PseudoRandom said...

9 out of 10 eh? Hmm... ;-)

Going out to dinner with my parents is amusing and embarrassing in a similar way I guess. My mother always thinks the A/C is too high, she asks the waiter whether the food is good (?!), and she disapproves of whatever my father and I order. My father on the other hand zones out half way through a conversation, and then interrupts to ask me something totally unrelated.

I think we forget that as we grow older, so do our parents. We excuse our grandparents' idiosyncrasies because, well, they're old. But our attachment to our parents won't allow us to acknowledge that they're getting old too.

Also, 'birizza' sounds gross.

Seesaw said...

I agree with Pseudo Random- I've started looking at it from their point of view, and things become a bit easier to handle. We're at the prime of our life with so much to look forward, and all they probably see is their babies going away soon.

That said, eating out with my family is quite good. Although my father prefers places which serve rice in some form. Chinese is the safest option.

Cadence said...

hehe :)

Dinner with my family, I actually enjoy and look forward to. Sometimes I wish we did it more often.

The order process is not too bad either. Mum and Dad are more or less on the same page and my sis and I used to pick out a dish each and things just got ordered!

We used to do this atleast once a month, but the frequency has dipped considerably. I'm thinking as my sis and I grew up, finished school and started work etc they kinda left us alone to our own devices. They know we go out with our own group of friends and generally never object. But when I do suggest that we go out for dinner together(we're a dinner family over lunch!) they always jump at it and make it a point to ask our fiance/husband along as well.

I love my folks. I don't think I show it enough though.

Gehan said...

@cadence - i hope that my post doesn't come across as saying i don't like spending time with my parents, because i do, of course. family time is always fun, and i thoroughly enjoy it after a long work week. i guess the eating out bit is just a pet peeve :)

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