Cuts Like a Knife

Posted by mwallach on August 2, 2011 in Crazy Follows Me Everywhere, New To You |

Dear That’s Life,

Is it so terrible that I look forward to the Nine Days every year with excitement and glee? Is it wrong when I joke that the Nine Days are my most wonderful days of the year? Sad but true, it has nothing to do with not being able to do laundry – that is just a bonus. Rather, it is all about the dairy meals because as a vegetarian, the world is my oyster for nine days out of the year.

It’s not like I am starving, don’t get me wrong. Rather, it is fun to go to any restaurant, able to eat whatever I want. Clearly, my decision not to eat meat is just that – my choice – rather than a religious directive. Yet it is fun for us all to be on the same page (of the menu, that is) and the option of getting a pareve pu-pu platter completely rocks my world. So I excitedly wait each year for the summer to arrive, not because I want a tan or because I need a break, but because I know that the Nine Days are upon us.

Of course, dairy restaurants in the area take full advantage of the season as well, making sure not to take dinner reservations. “We are not taking reservations this week,” I was told. “Of course, you’re not,” I responded. “Why would you?” Knowing they have cornered the market, it is first come, first served.

We just missed the dinner rush last night when we went out with friends. Not sure how we managed it, there were plenty of seats available when we walked into the restaurant, quickly seating ourselves at our table of choice. Unlike our experience last week at the same establishment, things had noticeably improved. The food last week was good and is usually consistent. That was not the problem. The issue, however, was in the details.

A pretty cheap date, I am not often impressed by bells and whistles. That being said, I do like napkins. And knives. Clean knives. Did I also tell you we had no drinks? Our meals came promptly, but having only been given forks, it was pretty difficult to eat. After getting the attention of a waiter who was not even ours, we asked for drinks, napkins and knives. “There are no clean knives,” he said. After looking at him peculiarly, he said it again, then walked away.

Confused, we were then informed that the large party in the back was unexpected, taking the staff by surprise. They were caught off guard, unable to keep up with the demand of the large group and that of the customers there on their own. We waited for our drinks, including cups of water, got our own napkins and sat patiently in hopes knives would make their way to our table. Realizing that was not happening, I mentioned I’d take a plastic knife at that point, as pushing my salad on to the fork with my finger was both classless and gross. Taking matters into his own hands, my husband went to the cutlery bin in search of some knives and came back with one for us to share. We took turns, having both graduated kindergarten with honors.

Once the owner became aware that not only were we missing items but tables around us were as well, he was sincerely apologetic. Had I been anyone else, I told him, I would have used my smartphone to post on Facebook that his restaurant ran out of knives, which would have been very embarassing. In an instant, 300 people would have known because life, these days, is like that. Slightly taken aback, he knew I was right. Appreciating that I did not post anything, he offered us a free dessert, but we declined.

We saw him again last night as we settled into our table. He smiled and asked us how we were. Immediately, I noticed there were full sets of cutlery at each place setting at our table. Picking up one of the knives, I showed it to him and twirled it between my fingers. Smiling, I said, “I’m doing well now!”

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