The Korean Restaurant Around the Corner

There’s a kid sitting at the table right next to me, and he’s asking all the questions while his three dinner companions — friends of his mom, or something like that — stare at their iPhones.

The waiter walks up — she has one of the highest ponytails I’ve seen in ages, and is definitely wearing a push-up bra under the restaurant’s red t-shirt uniform.

“Can we watch TV?”

She ignores him.

“Can we watch TV?”

She looks. Pauses.


The kid goes back to staring at the air in front of him and plucking at his eyebrows.

His mom and her friends keep staring at their iPhones.

He gets bored with his own eyebrows, and starts swiveling around in his chair.

“Can I just eat?”

His mom finally turns to him. She looks super young — wearing a t-shirt that looks like it’s out of a Forever21 billboard, and maybe even young enough to be his older sister.

“Zip your lips.”

She leans in and pretends to zip his lips.

He opens his mouth wider and pretends to bite her.

The waiter finally comes back with a table stove and starts laying pieces of meat onto the grill.

“It’s turning black! What happens when it turns red?”

He chatters with more questions that I can’t decipher.

“It’s hot.”

He strikes his hands out, straight in front of him. With so much force that they rebound a little bit. Almost like he’s impersonating a character out of Dragon Ball Z, or whatever.

He does this four times.

His mom’s friends finally look up from their phones — eye contact, shake their heads, and look back down. I can now see that the friend next to me is retaking bird’s eye view photos of the food in front of them.

I should definitely go to dinner and write about people more often. Though hopefully, no one is doing the same thing and writing about me.

I call for the check. The waiter comes up, and smiles.

“I like your writing.”

She gestures across the room.

“About the people around.”

I guess someone was watching, after all.

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