Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo, accompanied by Mrs. R and the two Elder Gels went out to dinner last evening. (Apart from last summah’s hols and our dropping off of Youngest at skool last August, this was the only time I’ve dined out since house arrest began.)

The occasion was the celebration of Eldest’s recent birthday so we went to her very favorite place, the local Japanese steakhouse.

Ol’ Robbo does not much care for the Japanese steakhouse “experience”.

First, he doesn’t much like being seated round a hibachi with a pack of strangers. Fortunately, due to “distancing” and the fact that it was a quiet evening, we were able to secure a station to ourselves. So at least I had that going for me.

But also, I don’t much care for the performance that goes along with the meal at these places. Ol’ Robbo likes to eat in peace and takes no pleasure at being harangued by the chef, much less being dragged into little “audience participation” shticks. I had hoped to be spared this, too, but no. The chef was set up at the next station over but carried on anyway, simply shouting his routine across the way at us. And, plague be damned, he closed in on us to do the traditional flipping of bits of shrimp into our mouths. (Well, near them, anyway. He only scored the once when Middle Gel caught one.)

Now Ol’ Robbo respects the hard work that showmen put into their acts and is perfectly willing to look on benevolently and even applaud where appropriate. All I ask is to be left out of it, to be able to preserve what you might call my wallflower status.

This is where it all breaks down, of course, because such showmen always spot me and always go out of their way to gig me. (Whether this is some kind of guild law or just humorous malignity, I’ve never yet decided.)

Take the time I was dragged to Disneyworld. Whenever we sat down for a meal, who at our table had Piglet or Goofy or whoever come up and drape their arms around his neck? Yours truly, that’s who. Creeps.

Then there was the time we visited Mrs. R’s sister and her family in Bahston and we all went on one of those duckboat tours. All Ol’ Robbo wanted to do was lean back, stare out the side, and enjoy the gentle, sunny day. Imagine my surprise when, in the middle of my reveries, I suddenly realized that the driver was razzing me in the middle of his cross-talk and that people around me were laughing about it. Grrrrr…..

Not that the fellah last evening was particularly bad. In fact, his insistence on repeatedly addressing us as “Faddah” “Muddah” and “Sistahs” made me smile at the thought of how it would enrage the gender warrior harpies had they heard it. (“Xe just assumed a traditional nuclear family?? REEEEEEE!!!“) But he also insisted on flipping shrimp at me despite all my efforts to politely decline. And that I don’t like.