It had been a Friday night to forget, full of work and frustration. So by the time my boyfriend finally got off from his bartending job, and I went to pick him up at around a quarter past three, I was ready to go home and go to sleep.
When he suggested we go to The Diamond in Plaza Midwood for a late-night meal, I was prepared to nix the idea. But I know how it feels after a long weekend night shift, watching everyone out having a good time while you’re serving them, and how after all that, the last thing you usually want to do is just immediately go home and go to bed.
So I agreed, and we grabbed a booth in the nearly full restaurant.
From the overall sound and energy of the place, it was clear that, aside from the staff, we were most likely the only sober people in the place. When you’re sober and in a lousy mood, a bunch of noisy drunks can get on your nerves pretty quickly. But I decided to make the choice of appreciating and embracing the raucous surroundings instead of letting them get under my skin.
It was at that moment that the woman sitting in the booth across from us burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Tears and stomach-cramping type of laughter, which persisted well after her dining companion got up to go to the bathroom.
“You’ve had fun tonight,” my boyfriend leaned over and said to her.
This made her break out in yet louder laughter, and she came over to join us. Apparently they knew each other.
He introduced us, and she gave us the brief rundown of that night’s consumption, and then her friend came back from the bathroom.
He, in what seemed a half-seriousness, half-joking tone, chided her for abandoning him. He even brought race into it, which set her back into a fit of laughter.
“Fine, go be with your people! You don’t want any black people at your table!”
She finally rejoined his table, this time on his side of the booth, and he kept up the “How dare you leave me!” ruse, although briefly breaking off from it to ask our names and tell us it was nice to meet us.
A familiar song began playing from their booth, although it was difficult to make out was it was, as it came from his phone’s tiny speakers and was competing with the din of the restaurant’s patrons and the jukebox.
But then the chorus kicked in, and he held the phone high above his head, fist pumping it up and down to the rhythm, singing. "Borderline, feels like I’m going to lose my mind / You just keep on pushing my love over the borderline."
More fits of laughter from her date, and then, with no encouragement or signal whatsoever, like something straight out of a movie where you groan and think, Oh come on, this isn’t what life is like — the entire restaurant joined in with him, providing both additional vocals and on-time handclaps, as the chorus repeated.
BORDERLINE, FEELS LIKE I’M GOING TO LOSE MY MIND
YOU JUST KEEP ON PUSHING MY LOVE OVER THE BORDERLINE!!!
Now his date was really losing it, curled up next to him, doubled over, howling, and the impromptu Diamond Singers, erupted in applause.
“Yes!” he yelled to his date, whose face he could no longer see, as it was buried in his side, “that just happened! That really did just happen!”
“Remix!” someone yelled out to him.
“Aw, yeah!” he responded, in a Lil Jon impersonation.
“Yay-yuh!” a third person called back.
“Congratulations,” one of the waiters yelled, hands held above his head, “You all just traveled back in time 10 years!”
“Aww skeet skeet skeet,” was the response.
“I’m not cleaning that up!” he yelled back, laughing.
“And then,” my boyfriend said to me, smiling, “everything is back to normal.”
I looked around and, sure enough, like nothing had happened, like breaking out into Madonna as a group, then for some reason Lil Jon, then getting loudly called out on how old a reference that is by a member of the staff, was all as commonplace as the salt and paper sitting on the table.
And I realized that I had completely stopped thinking about the things that had been bothering me, and how I was glad I had decided to stay out. I mean, really, how am I going to stay mad, about things that likely amount to a bunch of forgettable nonsense anyway, when the world can be such a wonderfully absurd place? Skeet skeet skeet.