I’d have been mortified, embarrassed to the point of digging a hole and burying myself right inside that crowded coffee shop, when Mamacusa and Abuelito began stuffing fistfuls of our unused napkins into Mamacusa’s oversized purse. We’d sat down and enjoyed a lovely round of hot cocoa and coffee to get out of the fog one day over the Christmas holidays, and just as we were about to leave, I witnessed The Napkin Snatch.
“What are you DOING?”
“They’re just going to throw them away anyway! We might as well take them! They’re PERFECTLY GOOD napkins!” Mamacusa said this, eyes on the napkins the entire time. Clearly she was concentrating, probably making sure to place the napkins in their designated, specially built-in napkin compartment within her mammoth purse.
Surely if we’d have just left them there in a neat little stack, the next customer might have used them. I thought this at the time. But Mamacusa was so swift (clearly she’d done this before) that the deal was already done. I chuckled as we left the coffee shop. What would have killed me in my adolescence merely amuses me now. I must be getting old. Before I know it, I’ll be wearing a sun visor, high-waisted, elastic-banded jeans pulled to just under my armpits, black socks and white sandals. With Velcro. So I don’t have to bother with those tricky little sandal buckles. And when the teenagers laugh at me, I’ll just hiss at them and throw one of my carefully saved Starbucks napkins at them. Surely, this is just days away.
By the time the holidays were over and my family went back home, they’d harvested napkins from just about every place we’d stopped off, eaten at, or even contemplated ordering something from. Little, thin, folded, papery souvenirs of our jaunts around the city of San Francisco. Hey. They’re PERFECTLY GOOD napkins!
So, you'll understand when I say that I wasn’t the least bit surprised when, in my daily phone conversation with Mamacusa yesterday, Mamacusa told me what she and Abuelito were about to go do now. I could hear the hum of Mamacusa’s car in the background. They were headed to Costco. Not because they particularly needed to buy bulk quantities of toilet paper or olive oil. (Or napkins.) Instead, they were making the trip just so that they could fill up on all the free samples of food Costco always gives away. This at Abuelito’s suggestion…you know, so Mamacusa wouldn’t have to bother with cooking dinner that night.
I love my family.