With the country in such a state of crankiness and tension that it seems ready to spontaneously combust, we must beware of adding any further incendiary material. In fact, we all should be trying, as some are encouraging, to emulate the amiable, if unfortunately late, Fred Rogers. We certainly wouldn’t want to use harsh, condemning language of the type used by so many politicians, and even some segments of the news/opinion media.
Our National Crabby Quotient is at too high a level to condone such irresponsible tirades and harangues. (By the way, does the word “harangue” make you hungry? It always reminds me of “meringue,” and then I think of lemon meringue pie, and the thought of the tart lemon starts my mouth watering.) We don’t want to abrogate our duty to make the world a Fredlier place, but I’m afraid there’s a topic that’s too important to leave unsaid. So I’m going to say it. We must unite, and let the world know that we will no longer put up with, tolerate, or otherwise stand for, the behavior so often exhibited by restaurant hostesses.
I’m referring, of course, to the hostess seating you, or me, or anyone, right next to the only other dining party within a quarter mile. Yes, the room is almost empty. Space abounds. Empty tables as far as my admittedly nearsighted eyes can see. You could detonate a paint bomb and not hit anyone, although that goes against emulating Fred Rogers. But if you did it anyway, just in your mind, or maybe on the Enterprise holodeck, you wouldn’t hit anyone, because almost all of the tables are empty. And yet THE HOSTESS STILL SEATS YOU NEXT TO THE TABLE WITH FOUR LOUD ADULTS, THREE WHINING KIDS, TWO CRYING BABIES, AND A BARKING DOG.
The result of this ill-conceived seating is that you can hear every word of their conversation, and they can hear yours. I don’t know about you, but that’s not why I go out to eat.
This illogical scenario has happened to me so often that I think there must be a restaurant academy specifically working to churn out crotchety hostesses. After all, we’re not only talking dining comfort, but safety as well. What if there’s an emergency, and the room needs to be evacuated? Instead of an orderly exit by widely-separated patrons, suddenly everyone’s tripping over each other, trying to dash out from the same area, probably while trying to snatch a taste of that lemon meringue pie that looked so good at the next table.
And what if a pipe bursts in the sprinkler system? Murphy’s Law says it will happen where the most customers are seated, which means everyone gets dumped on. If the graduate from Crotchety Hostess U had seated us on the opposite side of the room, I’d still be dry, while watching four loud adults, three whining kids, two crying babies, and a barking dog getting deservedly drenched.
It’s time Americans unite and stop all the bickering, and treat each other with kindness and respect. Obviously, that should start with restaurant hostesses. The next time you are about to be seated on top of the only other patrons, look at the hostess with sad eyes, and give her a disappointed shake of the head. Then deliver the coup de grace. In a very hurt tone, say to her, “Now, really, is this where you think Fred would want you to seat me?” After all, it’s often easier to be someone’s neighbor from across the room.
If we all do this, before you know it, restaurants will be transformed into mini Mister Rogers’ Neighborhoods. People will be more cordial, and we’ll treat each other in a very Fredly way. We’ll probably also be wearing cardigans and changing our shoes.
Fred would like that.