Feeling like a Couple

Aaron and I got some unexpected Quality Time yesterday evening when Connor got invited to spend the night at a friend’s house. It turned into a bonus Date Night, with dinner out, thrifting, and coffee… but with more quality time thrown in once we got home, since we didn’t feel obligated to stay out longer to get our money’s worth.

We decided to check out a newish Vietnamese-Korean restaurant that opened during the pandemic, but had been exclusively take-out until recently. As we walked up to the front door, we saw that they were requiring masks for both staff and patrons — unusual for restaurants in our area, but not unreasonable. I had stashed my mask in my purse, but Aaron had to use one of the emergency backup paper masks we keep in the car.

We opted to try our go-to Vietnamese favorites, to see how this place stacked up to others. Unlike the other Vietnamese restaurants we’ve been to, though, this one was steadfast that Summer Rolls were for summer only — which is just as well, because the food was, in our opinion, overpriced.

We already have our favorite local spots to hit up for Vietnamese and Korean food, and this restaurant isn’t going to be dethroning them anytime soon. This isn’t a restaurant review, so I’ll leave it at that.

After dinner, we went thrifting. As we do. We found a card table for ten bucks, plus Aaron bought a few potentially amusing VHS tapes and a Dreamcast keyboard. We also talked at length to a fellow Goodwill patron named Anthony, who shared Aaron’s interest in handlebar mustaches — and music, as it turns out. I’m never much at striking up conversations with strangers, but it’s happened to Aaron in the past, and has even resulted in friendships. After a lengthy conversation that weaved through mustache maintenance, rock concerts, and a few other minor topics, Anthony struck us both as One Of Us. As Aaron told him, I’m sure we’ll run into him again in the future.

Normally, after thrifting, we grab some Starbucks and chill. Starbucks only recently reopened their cafe seating, though, which has (up until now) forced us to find other coffee venues where we can sit and chill. This time, though, we opted for the Bux instead of a local coffee establishment. The location where we went had completely rearranged their cafe from the last time we’d been there (pre-COVID), but at least they still had two Comfy Chairs for us.

As we waited in our Comfy Chairs for our Decaf Apple Crisp Macchiato, Sugar-Free Vanilla Americano, and two waters, we noticed a mother and daughter sitting across the cafe, signing to one another. The mom was deaf, and the daughter — maybe a year or two older than Connor — was hearing, and acted not so much as an interpreter as a liaison. If my Mom had been there, as I told Aaron, she totally would have tried striking up a conversation in ASL (American Sign Language). As for me, I can finger-spell (s-l-o-w-l-y) if necessary, but a.) I’m not much for striking up conversations with strangers (see above); and b.) I have about zero conversational phrases under my belt in ASL.

(I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to bone up on some phrases I might actually use with strangers, like, “Can I help?” or, “Nice shirt!” Knowing how to sign colors and animal names isn’t going to get me far in a conversation.)

Anyway, Aaron and I enjoyed our chill coffee time in our comfy seats, and then we went home to a silent house.

As I write this, it’s 9:40am on a Sunday morning… and it’s still a silent house. For a few more minutes.

One thing Aaron said yesterday really resonated with me: it was nice to spend time together and feel like a couple again, instead of a couple of parents.

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