We've all been through this experience. Just think about it. It's a Saturday night and you and your special someone have planned a romantic dinner someplace nice. The two of you get dressed in your best attire with high hopes of wooing each other across the candlelit table.
Once the two of you reach your destination, everything seems so perfect, just like a cliche out of a romance novel. The surroundings seem so elegant, everyone looks fabulous, the meals on the table look like dishes to die for. One word crosses your mind, and that's perfection. Surely nothing would be able to taint this night (knock on wood).
Unfortunately, in some situations there isn't any wood to knock on. As lovely as some of these dinners are, there are still the obnoxious characters that have to be the fly in the oinment of the evening.
Table For Two, Anyone? These characters are the actual hosts of the fine dining experience. No matter how long you've waited in the restaurant, somehow you and your party become the incredible "invisible" people. It's like that episode in Seinfeld where Jerry and friends wait for more than an hour at the Chinese restaurant. In this situation, the evening goes something like this:
At first the man or woman waiting at the front lets the party know the wait time.Typically it runs anywhere from fifteen to forty-five minutes. By the looks of the people scattered around all over the place, that's practical...It does look pretty jam packed. Fifteen minutes go by and people start disappearing; your stomach turns and everyone starts getting anxious. The fourty-five minute mark rolls by and almost everyone is seated but your party. When you finally decide to go up to the host/hostess, they assure you that you'll be seated in another...say...ten minutes. The ten minute mark rolls by, followed by fifteen more minutes, and you notice the crickets get a table before you... When the host is approached again, surprise, surprise, they skipped your name. I could have had a cheaper meal at McDonalds already, damn it!
Child's Play: Oh yes... These little critters... They look so adorable from afar, but once these blonde, blue eyed, little cherubs, start throwing spit balls across the room and banging their juice cups on the table, they don't look so cute anymore. Meanwhile, the parents just sit back and allow their kids to do the Macarena on the table.
Loud Cell Phone People: It's a wonderful feeling when you're getting into that romantic zone with your boyfriend. The two of you are looking into each others eyes,wondering what the other person is thinking. He's holding her hand, and she responds by smiling shyly, when the moment is ruined with: "Yeah, we were going to go to South Beach but Junior threw up in the hotel. That stuff got everywhere! It got on the walls, the sink, the floor, and even in my hair!" Hmm... would it be a good time to say I love you now, Snuggles? Please... For all those cell phone people out there, at least have the common decency to use your "indoor" voice. Frankly, I don't want to hear about who threw up on who, or how your visit went to the gynocologist. Thanks...
The Alcoholics: Sure, I understand that it's the weekend. No one has work for the next couple of days, so most people want to go out with their friends, drink, and have a good time. Can I make a suggestion? If you're a lightweight and have been known for making an ass of yourself after having one too many... GO TO A CLUB! People won't notice! When there's a drunk old dude practicing his golf swings right by your table on Valentine's Day, that is the ultimate mood breaker.
Is Everything Good? Don't get me wrong, great service is a good thing. But there is such a thing as too much service. Being a customer, I go out to eat because: A) I'm hungry, and B) It's a good social setting to kick back and talk. When I'm talking to the people I'm eating with, I don't want to hear "Is everything good?!" every five minutes, particularly when I'm stuffing my face with rib rolls.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are the characters you're bound to come across in the fine dining experience. As much as we hate 'em, we can't get rid of them. So my advice? Just relax, eat, drink, and enjoy the freak show.