I was going to entitle this post “Forty-Tw… Just Kidding” but then I thought you might think I was just kidding about being 42 weeks pregnant, which I most certainly am not (or at least, I won’t be tomorrow, when I am officially 42 weeks, but at this point, who’s fucking counting). No, no, I am still pregnant, and you can just imagine me over here, flailing my arms and gnashing my teeth in frustration, because I am running out of novel ways to complain about not being able to touch my toes, or bend over in any way.
No, I thought I’d try writing about something else entirely, which is the sort of technique I employ on the cats sometimes, when they are outside, and I want them inside… I open the door wide and studiously ignore them, hoping to trick them into thinking I couldn’t care less where they are, inside or outside or hanging by their collars from a fence somewhere, and sometimes it works- they come running in like I’ve hidden a mountain of catnip in the closet, or I’ve laid a filet of king salmon on the floor.
So, fetus, this is my metaphorical filet of salmon post, where I attempt to trick you into thinking I don’t care whether you stay in or come out. Although by telling you, I have tipped my hand considerably, but you’re still inside… maybe you haven’t had the internet installed in there yet?
The question, of course, is what else to write about, since I am operating at about 10% brain capacity right now, the remaining 90% being mostly involved in the aforementioned gnashing of teeth, and plus I have done DICK-ALL since my due date, you know, since I did it all BEFORE, like sensible people do. We’ve done some lovely day trips around Long Beach in an effort to vary the scenery, but I didn’t take any pictures, so that makes for a pretty boring travelogue.
So I’ll tell you this story, and then you can tell me your stories, and I’ll be distracted and entertained for at least the time it takes to read comments, and that’ll help. So, the other night, J and I put on clean and relatively well-fitting clothes (well, for me anyways, since this bump precludes much of anything being actually FLATTERING), and went to a local fancy hotel restaurant for dinner. This hotel is one of those modern boutique-y hotels (although apparently has been purchased by Hilton, but is trying to maintain that independent, hip vibe), and its restaurant is pretty fucking good for a hotel restaurant, and they certainly advertise it as such- upscale waterfront dining, fusion Mexican food with fresh, local ingredients, you get the idea.
We make a reservation, wait ten minutes at the slammed bar, and then get shown to our table. We’ve opened a tab at the bar, since that’s what the bartender asks us to do, and when we leave the bar and tell the host we’ve left a card there, he tells us that they’ll “find us” to return it. Ok, whatever- this is slightly unusual in my book, but I am going with the flow of this date night, and if they’re going to find us, then fine. We’re on the patio, not in Timbuktu.
At our table, we tell the waitress we’ve left a card at the bar, and she tells us she’ll get it for us. Perfect- let’s order a drink, an appetizer, and enjoy the sunset over the Queen Mary docked right over there, while listening to what appears to be Mexican soft rock. Now. I get it- the following is going to make me sound like the snobbiest snob that ever snobbed, but I can’t help myself. When the drinks cost $10 a piece and the entrees range from $22 to $35, and there are linen napkins at the table, there is a certain level of service I anticipate to accompany these prices. I mean, I shop at grocery stores and farmer’s markets- I know the cost of the fresh caught tilapia in your fish tacos, and even with a decent mark-up, the food ITSELF doesn’t cost $25, so there’s obviously additional cost passed onto me that pays for tuxedo-ed wait staff and linen napkins. I am happy to pay that, because that is what floats my boat when I think of FANCY, and so I don’t think I am so out of line in expecting a certain level of service, given that I KNOW the price I am paying per plate has dick all to do with the cost of the food itself.
And part of what I consider what I’ll call “linen napkin” service is that my water-glass (which is the entirety of my beverage order) doesn’t stay empty for twenty minutes at a time, and that when my entree plate shows up, my appetizer plate has been either already cleared, or the waitress finds a way to clear it herself- not that I have to pull it off my place mat and hold it for her. Or when she takes my silverware, that she bring me a replacement set pretty soon, not ten minutes later while my entree sits there, succulent and tempting in front of me, where I can do jack shit about it.
Look, I know. None of these things IN AND OF THEMSELVES are horrendous gaffes of major importance, and the restaurant was busy, and maybe she was a new waitress, or whatever. But as a cumulative effect, the whole thing was off-putting, and I haven’t even told you the last part. And I also know I sound like a horrible snob, and that’s actually fine with me. Because here’s the thing that really got me- both J and I wanted to take our leftovers home, which to me, at a restaurant cultivating this kind of reputation, means that the waitress busses my plate and brings it back to me, wrapped in whatever take out container the restaurant uses. But no- she brought us empty containers, and we both crankily emptied our own plates. I also know this must be restaurant policy, not our particular waitress’ decision, but again- white linen napkins and $25 entrees mean I don’t have to package my own meal. I can do that at home, for a fraction of the price.
By this point, date night has taken a turn for the irritated, so J and I are in a hurry to get out of there and watch Dexter re-runs on our newly acquired Showtime on Demand, which is what generally passes for date night for us, and we like it that way. Meanwhile- our card? Still somewhere other than our table. When we finally flag the waitress for the bill, she brings it to us, places it on the table, and then as she’s walking away, as if in afterthought, says “I also brought you your card, in case you wanted to use it to pay.”
No, no, darling, we’d like to use these wads of cash we both have sticking out of our bras to pay for dinner, you just go ahead and keep our credit card as a parting gift. A tip, if you will. Here, let me show you the best way to forge my signature, and do you want to know the credit limit on this one? We don’t carry a balance on it, so why don’t you go ahead and knock yourself out. We’ll just use some OTHER method of payment.
It kinda blows that the only real tangible way to show your displeasure at a restaurant is with a shitty tip, because Lord knows, that waitress is trying to make a living too, but we left a crappy tip and hustled out of there. At least they validated our parking, you know what I’m saying?
So, people in the box, what do you expect when you’re at a linen napkin restaurant?