After a recent Friday night drive around our beloved Steel City (see picture above) we decided we were hungry when Kevin thought of the perfect place to take us. He wouldn't tell us where until we pulled into the parking lot - Benihana! Would you believe I had never been to such a place? I've always been curious about those knife wielding, food tossing, fire breathing, (okay, so there wasn't fire involved, but you catch my drift) destinations. I was very excited about this new experience until after being seated the hostess mentioned that we might be joined by other folks during our meal. Whaaaa? You mean . . . strangers . . . that, like . . . I'll have to talk to? Did I hear that right? Sure enough within minutes a couple sat down to our right, and shortly thereafter another couple was seated to our left. There we were. All 8 of us. Strangers. Three adults on each side with two smallish boys with chop sticks stuffed up their noses wedged in between. Yep. Work. It was going to feel like work.
Kevin, the ice-breaker champion of the universe, started out with the usual questions: what part of town do you live in, have you been here before, blah, blah, blah. You know me, I wanted to stab my eyeballs out. Within minutes,
Chatter box Charlie Kevin and the couple on his side of the table are in conversation about how we all lived in DC. Then it was: what street were you on, we should have bought 8 condos back then instead of one, working on the Hill, yadda, yadda, yadda. Fun stuff! Then the guy next to me is all, have you tried this wine before, and please, have a sip, and your kids are so awesome I could just sit here watching them watching the chef, and may I suggest you check out the Canon 70-300 lens for your camera, and I just got back from Ireland, and where did you stay there, and oh my God, I think we trespassed the same guy's field to check out the abandoned castle. Get out! No way!
Before we knew it, Drew the chef was tossing around knives and pepper grinders, the boys were transfixed and speechless, all of us were having really great conversation and food, and we topped it off by singing Happy Birthday to a rather song-resistant Julie. Doesn't singing Happy Birthday to a stranger make you just as happy as singing it to someone you know? Or am I just a sap? And isn't unexpected joy the best kind of all? Maybe it is okay to talk to strangers once in awhile.