That’s my tray

by Lorin Michel Monday, January 9, 2017 7:16 PM

In the United Kingdom, 60% of people eat dinner in front of the telly. I don’t have the figures for this country though I would venture to say that at least 75% of us eat in front of the television. Kevin and I do nearly every night. The exception tends to be Friday or Saturday, but rarely both, holidays and when we have company. We rarely even turn the television on when we have company.

I don’t know when the practice started but it was sometime when Justin was little and we lived in Oak Park. We had a rectangular coffee table between the two couches. Each night, we’d all sit on the floor with our legs under the table, Japanese style. It went on that way for years. Then Kevin hurt his back so getting down on the floor to eat was difficult at best and painful at worst. In shop class at school, Justin made us a wooden serving tray. It was for use when we entertained, like on Thanksgiving when we always had a houseful of people, but Kevin quickly commandeered it for use as a TV tray. Several years later, I got my own tray for Christmas. It was long after Justin had left for college. It was just the two of us, and our habits hadn’t changed. Each night, we’d fix our plates in the kitchen, with whatever we were eating, and then settle ourselves on opposite sides of the table, on opposing couches. 

It’s a practice we continue here. We have a routine. As I cook dinner, he gets the two trays out of the pantry, puts a placemat on each, and then sets them as mini-tables. A napkin, and whatever eating utensils we need. Forks and knives usually. Sometimes chopsticks for me if we’re having Chinese food. Then he gets out two plates and puts them on the center island. When I’m done cooking whatever I’m cooking, I arrange the food on the plates, put each on a tray and then off we go to the Great Room, still sitting on opposite couches, though now those couches are perpendicular.

Last night was no different than most, other than we were having something terribly healthy – grilled chicken Caesar salad. Kevin worked the grill, also part of his job. I fixed the salad which consisted of romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, a bit of onion and shaved parmesan cheese. Once the chicken was done, I sliced it and arranged it on the portions of lettuce, drizzled some of Ken’s Creamy Caesar dressing on top, added some fresh ground pepper and then Kevin took his plate and I took mine, and we adjourned to the couches. It was then that I realized what had happened. 

I looked at him. 

“What?” he asked.

“That’s my tray,” I said.

We sat there, eating our salads, watching Madam Secretary, me coveting my tray.

“Do you want to switch?” he asked, raising his plate.

“No, of course not,” I said, even though I secretly did. I like my tray; I’m used to it. It fits well on my lap, and it’s mine.

Can you covet your own TV tray? Last night, I was doing just that, and then I realized the ridiculousness of it, and the retentiveness of me. And I laughed out loud.

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live out loud

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