Monday, June 13, 2011

Never Eat Clams Casino While Driving

Today's post is a little later than I'd hoped due to the fact that I did everything in my power, including faking sudden on-set coma, to keep Charlie from heading back to D.C this morning.

Man, that kid is strong.

But I am a middle-aged woman, after all. While my physical strength may be ever-so-slightly on the wane, my guile is intact. Or so I thought.

For some reason, Charlie didn't buy my it when I mentioned that I was having lunch with Taylor Swift later and she'd shyly mentioned that she'd been hoping to meet him. What he didn't believe was that she'd been shy....he totally believed I was having lunch with her.

But he still wouldn't wait.

So, off he went. I told him not to drive too fast, lock the car doors so no one can leap in at a light, don't talk on the phone, text a friend or eat clams casino while driving.

Yes, you read correctly. I told him not to eat clams casino while driving. And I am speaking from experience.

Eating in cars was my generation's texting. When I was Charlie's age, a driver might enjoy a full meal with a placemat and a napkin while navigating the Brooklyn streets.

You'd eat anything while driving around the neighborhood. Pizza, ice cream, White Castle hamburgers from the bag on the seat next to you. A knish, maybe. Or, if you were ambitious: clams casino.

Many years ago when "Smart Ass" was my official job description and common sense still had a few years left to relax on the stoop with its' friends responsibility and good judgement, I ate an entire order of clams casino, from the shells with the little fork and a lemon wedge, once when behind the wheel of a moving car.

Talk about distraction--they were from my favorite restaurant in Bensonhurst, after all. Who could possibly wait until you got home? 

That might take all of ten minutes, for crying out loud.

Later, my mother found the remnants of the meal in the car and asked the obvious maternal question, "Who was the moron who ate clams casino in your car, Susan? Tell me it wasn't you!" 

I had no problem, whatsoever, telling her that I, myself,  had been the moron. Remember these were the days when no one wore a seat belt.

She was horrified. Not because I hadn't saved a few for her -- although that did come up -- but because I couldn't possibly have been watching the road or properly gripping the wheel while coaxing savory morsels from a clam shell with a tiny fork. Her words rolled off my back like the grease from the clams had dripped down my chin.

But, of course, Ma, you were right.
No kidding.

Back then, however, you didn't see people eating clams casino on the highway while driving 70 miles an hour, either. But when I'm on the turnpike and glance over to see someone tippy-tapping away on their phone in the adjoining lane, I not only fear for my life but remember my mother's concern over eating and driving.

So, heed my warning: don't speed, lock your doors, don't talk on the phone or text and, for the love of God, wait until you get home to dive into the clams casino. You'll enjoy them more anyway.

I'm off to lunch with Taylor Swift, now. I told you, Charlie, you should have stuck around....
Hi, Charlie.....


  1. When I was in Kenya, we rode in matatus, which are basically crowded minibuses with no seat belts and high speed driving, on top of bad roads. Were they fun? Oh yeah. Did I pray more? Yes.

  2. But could you eat in a matatu, Katie?