“… Boston has a neighborhood with hole-in-the-wall restaurants like this.”

Yes. Yes, it does. The small Italian restaurants in the North End. Like that place that served us when we were underage. We pretended to be engaged, his idea, with my costume jewelry on my left ring finger. Because engaged couples do not get carded. He promised that my real ring would be bigger.

“And from the look on your face, I can tell you’ve never been to Boston.”

He’s not being condescending, he is just making assumptions; your face gives away everything. Of course Boston triggers a reaction.

“I’ve been. It’s a great city.”

Nice work, Mol. Polite. Keeping distance. Good answer.

“Oh? For a little visit? Which part did you see? Probably too short of a time, wasn’t it? There’s so much to see in Boston!”

Ok, now he is being condescending. That doesn’t mean you need to prove him wrong. Not everything needs to be difficult. Ask him to define too short.

“A guy I once dated grew up on the north shore so I have seen a fair amount.”

A guy I once dated. As if that’s all he is. Just some guy I dated this one time. No biggie. And I am totally ok talking about it because he is just some guy.  I wish The Kid could have heard his newfound title, he would be incredibly hurt.

“Oh? Born and bred? He a Sox fan? You ever to go a game?”

Fan? Him? He who told me I could raise our children Catholic as long as he could raise them Red Sox fans? That guy? Nah, not so much.

“Yeah, we went to Fenway.”

A fan jumped down to the field that game, was patting Johnny Damon’s shoulder when security got to him. That night I woke up with period cramps so painful that he went to find a drugstore at 3am to purchase Advil. I used to describe that as the moment I knew I could marry him. Because he didn’t even ask if I wanted him to or if I was sure I needed it, he just got out of bed and started getting dressed.

“How long did you two kids date?”

Say not long. Lying is ok. He’s just trying to make conversation, Mol. In a condescending tone. You are open about your life. Only a big deal if you make it one. Tips are better when they know you as a person, you can’t just NOT answer.

“Over five years.”

But he’s still just some guy I once dated. I like that delegation.

“Wow. What happened?”

Love wasn’t enough.

“Long distance.”

“Well, you’re young! You could move, it’s a great time to start fresh when you’re young, see the country! Boston is a great city, expensive, but GREAT.”

I never thought of that! Thank you for fixing our entire relationship in two minutes of conversation. How the hell to get out of this one? Call him stupid? Or, to take the inoffensive route, say that it’s complicated? The way things are going he would ask for details.

“For Boston, I would move. But he is currently living elsewhere. And what would be the point of having the boy if I couldn’t have Boston? Enjoy your dinner.”

“Well, you think about what I said!”

Yeah, will do, nothing I love more than thinking about exactly that.