We unrolled our cheeseburgers on the dining room table and started to divide up the french fries.
I handed some to Clara and she scowled at me. “I wanted a baked potato.”
“But they didn’t have any baked potatoes.”
“I know, but I wanted one, and now all I have is chili. And they put onions in it. And I don’t like onions.”
I sighed. She had been complaining about this since before we left the drive-thru window at Wendy’s. “Just eat it, okay. Be thankful that you have warm food to eat tonight. That’s more than most of the world can hope. Just holding a bowl of soup in your hands makes you rich, Clara.”
She poked at her chili with a plastic spoon and frowned.
“Hey,” I continued, “Do you know the name for someone that has a lot of money and still complains because they wish they had more?”
Across the table, Gideon dropped his burger onto his plate and his hand shot up into the air. “Oh! Oh! Me know!” he said, “Lydia! Lydia have lots of money, she have FIVE dollars!”
I raised my eyebrows and turned towards where he was pointing. Lydia was already bowing to everyone at the table. “Yes…” she said majestically, “I have five dollars. And yet still…” she threw her hands out to her sides and bowed again, “I do so often complain.”
I looked back at Gideon who was beaming as if he had just solved some great riddle. He pumped a fist in the air and held it there for a comically long time. I counted ten seconds before giving up and looking back at Clara.
She wasn’t paying any attention to what else was going on at the table. She surgically removed a large slice of onion from her bowl, sniffed at it and then deposited it on a nearby napkin with a look of disgust.
I lifted my hands in the air and shook them in a silent prayer of frustration, then brought the palms of my hands down and pressed them into my eyes. Why must I live among such creatures as these?