Mid afternoon and my friends and I are "lunching." We are too old to be dashing out the door to pick up our kids, yet too young to have no one who eventually needs a ride, a meal or a snack. We've become old enough to question where the time has gone and the perennial question of "purpose," yet we are still young enough to complain about the constant food shopping, talking back, and the driving. We envy or at least I do, the women who have careers outside of raising their kids.
"You do it," my friend nudges me. The other one chimes in and glances at her phone to check the time. Then they both look up and nod with their eyes and blink slowly. I jump up with my usual alacrity and walk to the hostess station.
"I'm so sorry to bother you, I hope you don't mind" is the prelude to every request I make of anyone, whether waitress, salesperson, hairdresser or friend and this time is no exception. Most times, these innocuous little apologies pave the way for whatever I am about to ask. My kids find it embarrassing, as they roll their eyes and laugh each time I make another request. But I am polite, I am ingratiating, I am humble and thankful. No one seems to mind or notice.
"Sorry to bother you ...but can you just make sure that the dressing is on the side, that the salmon is cooked through no salt and that there is no cheese on the salad. And we are in a little bit of a hurry." I smile ingratiatingly, silently mouthing a thank you. Then I head back to my friends at the table for a job either well done or annoying, depending on how you view it. If you need a favor ask me, I really don't mind. Yet keep in the back of your mind the thought that pretty soon I just may be making a request of you beginning with the phrase "I hate to bother you but.... "