Recently, my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. It was a late afternoon weekday and we decided to go to a moderately expensive SW-themed restaurant of which there seem to be so many these days. Expense-wise, this is something we very rarely do, though we do meet for lunch every other Friday or so (at a far less expensive diner on the other side of town), because of our differing work schedules. The following story is really more of an observation than a plea for advice, though I’m curious what others might make of it.
This is the kind of restaurant that makes a huge scene (complete with singing and/or props) if they learn of a birthday or other special event occurring during their visit, which is what I fully expected (and figured other patrons do also) before we went there. When we sat down and bantered with our very bouncy waitress, we were pretty much alone on our side of the facility. It wasn’t long, though, before some well-dressed middle-aged ladies were seated across the aisle from us. You can probably see where this is going.
We made the most of our visit and ordered the kinds of things we haven’t eaten for quite a number of years, and afterwards… yes, the festivities began. Complete with clapping and chanting, even the chef came out to help with the spectacle, though in a most amusing blase and lackluster way (as I’m sure they have done this umpteen times over the years), leaning dejectedly on a booth partition and looking around elsewhere, despite the strenuous efforts of our exuberant server. We were both so bloated, there was no way both of us would have gotten on the props they drug out for the occasion, so we laughed and looked about, a little embarrassed at the attention.
What was interesting was the reaction of the ladies across the aisle. While beforehand they weren’t in any kind of animated or even quiet conversation, during the performance they looked over occasionally, clearly angry at the uproar we had caused, since, of course, we had to have informed personnel of the special occasion. Obviously neither of us expected everyone at all the booths nearby to start clapping and singing, but I certainly didn’t expect disgusted glares, and almost apologized afterwards for disrupting their supper.
Because we do this so seldom, I wondered if what happened there is part and parcel of the more affluent side of town that this SW restaurant occupies, or if it was just the people involved. Were it us across the aisle, I would have probably grinned over during the 2 or 3 minutes it took the production to complete and taken the opportunity to wish that couple well. I imagine that a scene of this nature is intended to break down the imaginary walls that separate us from total strangers, and make us over, temporarily, into loud and personable Texans, maybe, who would be overjoyed to congratulate these people who are having a special day. And I guess that is really the primary question for this kind of story: Wouldn’t most people take advantage of an opportunity like that?
I want to state that this in no way marred our otherwise very enjoyable evening; we giggled as much about that as we did the eye-rolling chef. We burped, sighed and groaned the remainder of our day. 1025-15