Friday, March 02, 2007

A Mixed Experience

It's coincidental, even ironic, that I blogged about sexual harassment yesterday.

I suggested to the Guy last evening that we go out for dinner. We are moving house this weekend, and I was tired of thinking about packing and money and wanted a date.

We opted to sit in the open, enjoying the pleasant weather. There were a couple of guys at the nearest table. They were soon joined by two more. I noticed the guy nearest to our table turn his head around to look at me. (And when I tell you that I was sitting almost directly behind him so that he had to turn his head 120 degrees to see me, you'll realise that while I was engrossed in my conversation with the Guy, I couldn't help but notice.) Five years - maybe even two years - earlier, I would have tried to ignore it. Last night I just stared angrily and spewed venom. With the music playing loud, it only served to bring the matter to the Guy's notice and did not reach the ears of the brute. He did it a couple of times more. I swore to the guy, "Next time he does that, I'm going to go up and ask him what his problem is."

As any woman reading this may guess, there was soon a next time. This time I said, loudly and distinctly, while staring at the man, "What the hell is wrong with you? Bastard!" and then turned to the Guy and said, no less distinctly, "Next time he does that I'm going to pour this bowl of soup over his head."

Immediately, the guy at the other table pretended to be looking around for something, to his right and left and even up at the ceiling. That the other men at his table also imitated him only served to tell me that they were aware of what was happening.

The Guy looked flustered and angry on my behalf. But I would not let a pack of goons spoil our evening. So we sat there and talked - often shouting to make ourselves heard over the music. The goons sat on too, and while the head goon once came and stood quite near our table (apparently to look at the view over the balcony - I wasn't looking so I don't know what he was looking at), he did not bother us again.

But that was not the only reason why dinner wasn't a perfect experience. I wanted asparagus soup, but when we tried to order, the waiter refused to understand us. He even suggested we wanted "cream of tomato" instead. I opened the menu, pointed to the item, and asked, "Can you see it?" He examined it closely and admitted that he could see it. "Can we have that?" I followed up before I could lose my advantage. He was kind enough to agree.

When the soup came (brought by another waiter - the first guy thankfully avoided us the rest of the evening, apparently apalled at our lack of taste), it was one bowl instead of the "one by two" we had asked for. And not only did we get very little in the way of service, we even had to beg for our water after about an hour of sitting at the table.

I suggested complaining to the manager about the service (or lack of it) on the way out. But we finally decided against it, not wanting to spoil the little pleasure we had got out of the evening. We frequently visit the place and had lately noticed a woeful deteroriation in the service, but last night's experience was something exceptional. We merely decided against going there again, thus foreclosing the only respectable option we had for eating out close to home. But washing dishes after dinner seemed an attractive option last night.

We walked out to a lovely moonlit night. We stood on the pavement for a long time, deep in conversation, before finally heading off home. That kind of end to the evening made it difficult for me to look back on it with regret.


the mad momma said...

well alls well that ends well... and i would have certainly complained and not left a tip.. i am surprised the management didnt realise you were being bothered.... anyway... glad you enjoyed the evening by the end...

Unmana said...

Thank you!

There wasn't much 'management' around, only a few sundry waiters. As I said, we'd found service deteroriating over the last few months, so we weren't sure complaining would be of much use. If it was an isolated incident, we definitely would have tried. As it was, it seemed simpler to preserve the little peace we had and leave... And we certainly didn't leave much of a tip, only the little spare change that we didn't bother to pick up!

Unmana said...

Let's not name names... I'm sure you can guess, though!