Friday, November 11, 2005

Are you still working on that?

"Table for one, please." With that request the hostess escorts me through the busy Italian restaurant to the back of the room and an intimate, out-of-the-way seat where I can watch all the other tables filled with happy diners on a Cape May weekend night. When I'm down here in Villas on my own overseeing the renovation of our cottage, I make sure that once a week I splurge on a "nice" restaurant meal. It relieves the monotonous menu of Wawa hot dishes and McDonalds burgers that makes up my diet through the week. When you don't have a kitchen, your options are limited.

Is it just me, or do the other diners seem to be looking askance? They may be wondering why I'm alone. Has my wife died, or have I been stood up for a date? After all, it's Friday night and all the other tables are filled with happy couples and groups of friends. Do I detect a sense of pity—from the waiters and the other customers?

Never mind. I order lasagne, a salad and a bottle of wine (they don't sell by the glass.)

In spite of—or because of—my solitude, I'm happy. It's been a long day of rewarding work. Answering emails, researching on the Web and conference calls with folks in California, and later some heavy labor. Another day of progress on the cottage renovation, and tomorrow is Saturday—I can sand and paint and clean and organize to my heart's content.

I find myself missing my family back in Illinois. I wonder what they're doing right now; I think about how much my wife would enjoy a dinner out at this swank East Coast restaurant . I resolve to bring her here next summer.

When I've eaten my fill, the waiter sashays up and says, "are you still working on that?" It makes me want to laugh and say, "I'm not the one who's working. You are. I'm here enjoying myself, pursuing a leisure activity." Waiters from coast to coast use that obnoxious phrase, "are you still working on that?" E and I always find it noteworthy, and we want to correct them. But correcting them would be even worse manners than saying it in the first place.


At 6:27 PM, Blogger DetroitGirl said...

Wouldn't it just be better to say, "Are you still enjoying that, or would you like me to take it away?" Hell, I could run a restaurant!

At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with both of you! And I agree with detroitgirl's solution ("are you still enjoying that")

...that would soften it greatly and make it feel way less like you're a python trying to get that gazelle all the way down.

dining out should be elegant and it'd be nice if the (well-meaning, I'm sure) waitstaff could adopt more elegant language.

It's easy to see how they'd fall into that catch phrase usage, tho and I don't think they mean any harm...


At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Blackjack Game said...

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