No Butts About It
53.96 [4.5 on Saturday]
looks like you've
been bike-riding this morning," says the young hostess. And she casts a
discreetly dubious eye at the two overweight/middle-aged/Spandex-clad
people standing in the lobby of her ultra-snooty restaurant.
of," says David
affably. "Until we got lost, anyway."
hostess smiles --
one of those pinched, polite, all-teeth/zero-sincerity smiles that says
I'm smiling at you
because I'm being paid to smile at you (and if it were up to *me,*
you'd both be on your way to Fashion Jail, right now)
-- and she plucks two oversized menus from behind her podium. "This
way," she says. We dutifully follow along behind her, down the steps
and across the cavernous main dining area -- tracking mud on the
polished hardwood floors, as we go -- until we eventually come to a
postage-stamp-sized table, tucked away in the deepest darkest recesses
of the restaurant, next to the service elevator. (Any farther away from
the entrance, in fact, and we would probably require our own Zip Code.)
As we parade through the restaurant, I feel the heat of a hundred pairs
of eyes watching our every move.
all looking at your butt, says
the little voice of Low Self Esteem in my head.
hate wearing my bike
clothes in public. On the bike trail, I feel perfectly comfortable in
clown colors, uniboob sports bras, muddy shoes, unforgiving Spandex.
But anywhere else -- the grocery store, the library, my mother-in-law's
kitchen, a snooty Los Gatos restaurant -- it's quite another story. I'm
especially sensitive about my butt. Ever since we rode those two
thousand miles last year, there seems to be a whole lot more
of it than there was before ... and sheathed in skin-tight bike shorts,
that "whole lot more of it" is prominently on display.
under-dressed," I whisper, as soon as the hostess is safely out of
completely unconcerned. "Look around you," he says, leaning back in his
chair and opening his menu. He still has a smear of last week's mud on
the front of his Buttercup Yellow jacket, and his new bike jersey is
riding up past his belly button again. "Do you see anybody here who can
ride two thousand miles?" he asks.
take a quick sneaky glance around
the restaurant. Mostly the place seems to be filled with
elegantly-dressed/extravagantly-coiffed seniors with ample bank
accounts ... and ampler waistlines.
got a point. But
just the same, I'm keeping my jacket on.
later, a sullen
busboy appears at our table. Without looking at either one of us, he
places ice water on the table -- whisking away our overturned wine
glasses without comment -- and then expertly dribbles olive oil and
balsamic vinegar onto our bread plates, before plunking a basket of
foccacia bread onto the middle of the table. "Your server will be with
you in a moment," he mumbles, when he's finished dribbling and whisking
and plunking. And he vanishes with the same bloodless efficiency as the
thing he can't see that butt of yours,
says the little voice. You'd
probably have olive oil and balsamic vinegar in your lap, right about
we look through
the menu, David and I discuss what went wrong -- and what went right --
with today's ride. "I can't believe we only rode four miles," I moan.
After last year's 2,002 in 2002, I am so conditioned to focusing on the
accumulation of mileage
mileage mileage, every time we
ride, that it's hard not to view today's puny four-miler as a failure.
David doesn't see it
that way at all.
of these January
rides as a 'preview of coming attractions,' " he says cheerfully. We've
been on three new rides so far this year: the Calaveras Road on New
Years Day (six miles' worth of relentless uphill), the California
Aquaduct (otherwise known as "The Mud Ride") last weekend and
today's abortive attempt to ride the Los Gatos foothills. None of the
rides have been particularly noteworthy. Two of them have been
downright disastrous. All of them, according to David, were merely
warm-up for all of the Incredibly Interesting Rides we're going to be
taking in 2003. In fact, that's our theme for 2003: The Year of the
Incredibly Interesting Rides.
this year," he
says, "we'll come back and try them all again."
finally arrives to take our order, she is markedly friendlier than
either the hostess or the busboy were. Like the snooty young hostess,
she asks if we've been riding: unlike the snooty young hostess, she
actually seems interested in David's response. Our plan, he tells her,
was to ride the Los Gatos foothills, ending up eventually somewhere
near the Lexington Reservoir. This is a route David used to ride in the
early 90's, and he remembers it fondly. But that was ten years ago, and
the directions in our new South Bay trailbook were confusing, and we
could never seem to connect to the roads we needed. After an hour and a
half of wandering around lost -- most of it spent on unpleasant
residential uphills, while burly young landscapers laughed and blew
cigarette smoke at us -- we finally said "Screw it" and decided to go
get some lunch.
here we are!" David
says to the waitress.
here you are!" she
replies pleasantly. She takes our orders -- walnut and bleu cheese
salads, Cambozola cheeseburgers layered with applewood-smoked bacon,
iced tea for David, Pepsi for me -- and she disappears in the direction
of the kitchen. I'm feeling marginally better, now that we're off our
feet and our food is on the way. Plus I'm seated with my back to the
dining room, so I don't have to actually see
the horrified expressions on the faces of my fellow restaurant patrons
as they're forced to gaze at my enormous Spandexed butt.
really got to
get over this," David says, not unkindly. "You look just fine."
is long, leisurely
... and delicious. We're nearly finished with our meal -- David is
finishing off the last few bites of my Cambozola burger -- when the
snooty young restaurant hostess suddenly reappears with a new customer
in tow: a lone middle-aged woman dressed in a crushed velvet jogging
suit, spike heels and more jewelry than P. Diddy. She's carrying a cell
phone in one hand and a Day-Timer the size of a San Francisco phone
in the other hand.
hope this will be
OK," says the snooty young hostess, indicating the postage-stamp-sized
table right next to ours. "It's the only thing we've got available
woman is clearly not
happy. I'm not sure which offends her more: the substandard table she
is being offered, or the people sitting at the substandard table
next to her
substandard table. Either way, she's pissed off. She plunks herself
into her chair, all huffy and self-righteous -- we're seated so close
to each other, I can smell the toothpaste on her breath -- and she
immediately starts punching numbers into her cell phone with murderous
fury. As she's dialing, she looks at me -- at my messy hair and my
muddy bike clothes and the dirt under my fingernails and the leftover
french fries on my plate ...
and she sniffs.
swear to god, she SNIFFS,
like she's Mrs. Thurston Fudking Howell III, and David and I are the
muddy riffraff she's forced to share a lifeboat with. I may have been
imagining the hostess and the busboy and the hundred pairs of
disapproving eyes in the main dining room behind me, but I'm
definitely not imagining this. If I weren't feeling so well-fed and
mellow, right at this moment, I would probably throw one of my
eleven-dollar french fries at her overly-Botoxed face. As it is, I
manage to ignore her poisonous looks and her snippy cell phone
conversation for the final fifteen minutes of the meal ... until the
plates are cleared, until dessert has been offered and refused, until
the bill has been paid and the tip negotiated. Then I rise from my
chair, making an elaborate show of zipping up my jacket and smoothing
my hair, and I stand for a moment with my back to the woman. I'm
standing so close to her, I swear I can feel her breath on my butt.
a minute, Honey,"
I say to David. "I think I've dropped one of my bike gloves."
then I bend over.
throw a rock