Wednesday, September 21, 2005

From: Snook (The Elder) at Home

I was in a restaurant today having a spot of lunch, and I observed something particularly strange. It happened that at the table adjacent mine there sat a fellow of middle age, well-dressed[1], also solitarily scarfing down some binge, who was all of a sudden taken with a coughing fit of very admirable proportion. The episode culminated in the deposit of a lump of chewed food perfectly centrewards of an otherwise only half-finished plate of, I think it was, tuna sandwich and rather a lot of French fries.

This, of course, wasn't what was remarkable. I’ve played this role more than a few times myself in public eateries and I’ll thank you not to sneer. No, rather the remarkable bit was when this man, this coughing man, told the waiter—as though it was, in fact, the waiter’s fault and not his own that the food had ever got it into its head to get stuck in his—that he would eat neither the half-masticated regurgitation nor any of the rest of the dish. He insisted that it was disgusting and dismissed it altogether with a wave of his superior and, I hasten to add, gaudily bejewelled hand.

Well, I ask you! It came out of him, for God’s sake! If the spread of disease was his concern his problem shouldn’t have been so much with the food as his own mouth!

I saw all these thoughts cross the mind of the poor waiter, and I expressed my commiseration to him with a sympathetic wink and a shrug. ( ... Which, apparently, he took to mean something else.)

[1] I speak here of the “well” of expense, not of taste. I do live in Toronto.