No matter how you look at it, younger siblings have it rough. They either get less attention from the parents because of exhaustion and are left to fend for themselves, or they get more attention because the parents are determined not to screw up this time. In both situations, the younger sibling is in a tough position. They want to please their parents, but they also want to be left alone to make mistakes, but they also want to have some guidance and not be treated as if nothing is unique because it already happened with the older sibling.
So I can understand how Cata would feel (were Cata a person capable of feelings and not a tapas restaurant on the Lower East Side). I’ve been to its older sister Alta before, and I’ll admit because of that, I had high expectations.
So when the seating was a bit awkward (tables practically on top of each other), I noted it, but didn’t hold it against Cata. Alta’s seating is sort of cramped too, but I do like the layout of the first child better. When some of the dishes were much more expensive than I thought reasonable, I didn’t blame Cata. It’s tapas, which I swear is Spanish for “tiny and pricey.” But when there was a special cured ham that had been aged for 6 years and the waitress claimed it was “worth whatever you pay for it,” I had to stop for a moment.
“Cata,” I said (in my mind, because I had only had one of the special gin and tonics the new restaurant is known for). “What do you think you’re doing? What are you trying to prove? I mean, I understand that your older sister Alta has an expensive special on her menu, but to not even display the price–to not even have the waitress say the price unless specifically asked–to emphasize that the dish is really small but totally worth it…I know exactly what’s going on here. You think that if you offer a menu item seemingly so exclusive, so painstakingly prepared, so indulgent that only people trying to impress their dates or extreme foodies would consider it, you can live up to the expectations of your parents and show them you can be just as successful.”
I understand. I really do. But maybe next time, Cata doesn’t need to try so hard. I think plenty of people will like her for herself–no comparisons to the sibling necessary. She can stand on her own. Of course that’s scarier, but it’s also more impressive.
Take it from a second child.