As I’ve told you before, we lived in Smithfield, North Carolina for the duration of my law school tenure. Being a resident of Johnston County...well, it’s just something that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to adequately convey in words. At least I can look back on much of my time there and laugh.
Scott and I love Mexican food. We don’t get it as much as we used to, but we used to have it at least once a week before we had kids. Mmm...chicken fajitas. Before I met Scott, I hated Mexican food, but he slowly brought me around to the point where I thought it was some of the best cooking on the planet.
Anyway, I knew that I would miss our little Mexican restaurant in Wilmington when we moved to Smithfield (and it actually closed a few months after we left...draw your own conclusions). I prayed that there was a decent Mexican restaurant within at least a thirty minute drive of our new house.
When we got settled in, we asked our friends who already lived there about where a gal could get a decent fajita. They weren’t great fans of Mexican food themselves, but they said Mucho Mexico on Main Street was supposed to be pretty good. I took a peek at the restaurant on the way to get supplies for setting up house and to say that I was dubious is a colossal understatement. If you looked up the definition for “hole in the wall” in the dictionary, I can promise you that Mucho Mexico would be the example photo right by the side.
A week or so passed and the Mexican withdrawal overtook our rational thought processes. Scott and I felt like we needed special shots or something, but we took the chance and went in nonetheless. The restaurant was...intimate. It was slightly wider than a hallway and there were about eight or ten booths stacked right next to each other with zero promise of privacy. We sat, we ordered, we ate, we didn’t get sick or die from some dreaded parasite and we fell in love. The food was pretty darned good! It was all settled: Mucho Mexico one night a week was our first Smithfield tradition.
As our three year sentence glacially passed along, Scott and I got more and more punch drunk about our situation (see my blog entry titled Belle + Wal-Mart = Therapy). Yes, as a matter of fact, I should probably thank the citizens of Johnston County for unknowingly lifting our spirits and giving us some seriously crazy cases of the giggles, but one night surpassed all and—to this day—remains the hardest my husband has ever laughed in his life. It happened at the Mucho Mexico.
Scott and I walked in for our weekly fajita fix and took a seat at one of the booths. We placed our orders with our usual waiter with nothing more than a glance and started in on the chips, salsa and Diet Cokes. It was a fairly slow night in the restaurant, so I remember finding it odd when the group of four women came in and sat down in the booth directly behind Scott—I mean, you could pretty much hear everything from anywhere in the restaurant, but it was still nice to perpetuate the illusion of privacy.
The only thing remarkable about the women was that they looked a little more put together than most folks out on a weeknight in Smithfield. Actually, they looked like they were just coming from a Junior League meeting: Headbands, monograms on various articles of clothing and accessories, tasteful jewelry, stylish-but-sensible flats, perfect makeup...you get the drift. They kind of gave off a librarian/teacher vibe and they appeared to be in their 40’s. I just kind of noted their presence and went back to my conversation with Scott.
Our sizzling fajitas came, we dug in and a voice behind Scott complained in a feminine Johnston County drawl, “What I hate is all that screaming and yelling during sex. It’s just fake, fake, fake.”
Scott and I froze and stared at each other in saucer-eyed astonishment. Did we just hear what we thought we heard? Well, we certainly thought we heard the same thing. More importantly, did she mean for us to hear what we thought we heard?
One thing was for certain, Miss Junior League’s friends not only heard what she had to say, but wholeheartedly agreed. One of them chimed in with their two cents’ worth: “I can’t even have one during actual sex anymore. I always feel like I’m have to give Barry directions.”
Her statement was met with a chorus of drawling “mm-hmms” and “amens” more likely garnered as the result of a particularly fiery sermon.
It was at this point where Scott’s composure started to crack—to be clear, when I say “crack,” I’m talking about a seismic crack on par with the San Andreas Fault. I had the giggles, but Mr. Council had the full-on heaving laughs which he was desperately attempting to suppress and failing rather miserably. (It probably didn’t help things when I described the appearance of the ladies since he was facing away from them.)
Really, if the conversation had stopped right there, it would have been plenty traumatizing, but they weren’t anywhere near done:
“Hmm. You think that’s bad? Me and Bobby have to make appointments to do it. Right now, we’re just down to Wednesday nights because the kids are at youth group.”
“Fred and I just lock our bedroom door on Saturday mornings.”
“But, I don’t want to be limited to the bedroom! It’s my house and I ought to be able to do it any darn where I please!”
Please understand that I am giving you the most G-rated version of this conversation that I possibly can, yet still convey the frankness of the very public oratory. Suffice it to say that the bitch session digressed into...well...into marital aids and all sorts of other things that I never, ever wanted to associate with four little librarians and the Smithfield Mucho Mexico, but for which I was now scarred for life.
How was Scott faring during all of this? Well, boys and belles, I have to admit to you that his situation was critical. If it was possible to have a heart attack from laughing, he was perilously close to the abyss. He’d turned purple in his noble attempts to suppress the laughter which the ridiculous women frankly deserved.
Actually, the Sex Auxiliary Committee had to know the effect they were having on the only two other people in the restaurant. Not only were we crammed right next to each other, the booths were attached back to back. Scott was shaking so hard, that there was no way it couldn’t be felt in the adjoining booth. I now realize with horror the inference that could be drawn from the women sitting a booth that vibrated from my husband’s hysterical laughter, but let’s carry on, shall we?
Scott’s food sat abandoned as he tried to wipe the tears that continued to pour from his eyes. He could barely breathe as the women continued on with their Sex & the Country dialogue. When he was able to garner enough air to form a few words, he said something to the effect of, “I-I don’t know how...I’m going to get out of...here. Don’t think...I can...might pass out.”
How did we get out? Well, a third set of customers came in about the time we were planning an escape route. The customers were a young family with a toddler and a baby and—even though they apparently didn’t have the sense that God gave a fence post—Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte thankfully either toned it down or changed the subject to the point where Scott and I could bolt for the door after I ran up and paid our tab. Thankfully, Scott’s legs didn’t give out, although his rib cage was tremendously sore for days.
Thank you, Smithfield! Keep it classy.