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This is why we don’t normally take Chi-chi out in public.

For some reason, she does not know how to interact with waiters.

In NY, we had two restaurants we went to because those were the only two on Long Island that had wait staff that was capable of tolerating Chi-chi.

However, for my cousin Rachel’s birthday, we were forced to let Chi-chi out into the world.

Rachel decided that for her birthday dinner, she wanted to go to Off the Grill, a Mexican restaurant with empanadas to die for. They give you queso on the side as a dipping sauce. I was completely smitten kitten for Off the Grill when I discovered that. Not only do they provide you with queso, but the salsa is so good it’ll make you want to smack your great-grandpappy.

Yeah, I’m definitely becoming a Southerner.

My family runs on CPT, so Rachel and her family were already at the restaurant and sharing a community margarita by the time we got there. Before I completely launch into Chi-chi’s conduct at the restaurant, let me explain the community margarita. At Off the Grill, they figure that a margarita should be so big it could get a horse drunk. When you order one, make sure you have 3-4 friends with you, ready to partake, and then another friend ready to drive you all home.

I was perfectly content to share the community margarita because I get drunk when I look at tequila, but He-man and Chi-chi weren’t nearly so keen on our “sip and pass” system. He-man is picky when it comes to liquor and will only drink Cuervo. Chi-chi likes her margarita with salt on the rim of the glass. They each ordered their own margarita and the rest of us continued to sip and pass.

While they were waiting for their margaritas, Chi-chi picked up a tortilla chip and exclaimed, loud enough for our waitress to hear, “Is this a joke?!”

Granted, the tortilla was the size of a hubcap, but I thought she was being a tad dramatic.

Rachel gets that from her.

Since the salsa was so good, Chi-chi was pacified and actually delighted in the large chips because it allowed her to coat her chips in salsa and guacamole like they were toast. She had a whole system going. It was really interesting to watch.

About five minutes after this outburst, a waiter walks over with her and He-man’s drinks. When I was say “walk”, I mean “shuffled and prayed.” The drinks were filled the rim of the glass and they were heavy. The poor man was trying his hardest not to spill one drop of Chi-chi’s margarita. He made it to the table with all of the glasses’ contents intact, and slowly, oh so slowly, he leaned over to put the glasses on the table. He was holding He-man’s drink in his left hand and Chi-chi’s drink in his right. This order corresponded to the sides of the table my parents were sitting.

Chi-chi decided to “help” the man by raising her hand and saying, “Oh the cuervo…”

Which caused the man to steer his left hand towards her…

“…is his.”

Chi-chi then pointed her raised hand at He-man.

It’s amazing how quickly hope can vanish out of someone’s eyes…

To make matters even worse, Chi-chi took two sips of her margarita, made a face, and then motioned to our waitress. The waitress came over and said, “Yes?”

Chi-chi pointed to the glass with a look of confusion on her face and replied, “Um, salt?”

You must take into account that she said this as though they had put a glass of monkey brains in front of her.

“Um, monkey brains?”

And she kept repeating it.

“Salt? Salt? Um, salt?”

“They didn’t put salt on the rim?” the waitress asked.

“Salt? No. No salt?”

“I can get you a new one.”

“With salt? Will you have to make a fresh drink?”

“No, we have a system.”

“How?”

At this point, the waitress walked away from my mother.

I couldn’t blame her.

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