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Monday, September 10, 2018

"EXCUSE ME, SIR, BUT..."




(For your dining pleasure, an assortment of reworked posts with all new cartoons.)

This happened a long time ago.  At my age--almost 84--everything happened a long time ago.  My husband & I were making our first trip to Europe.  We had been with friends (Earl & Flavia) at their apartment in Paris & Bud & I went to London.  We decided to invite our friends from France to come over to London & go to a stage show & dinner as a “thank you”. 

We took them to see “Jesus Christ, Superstar”, which had just opened & were walking to the restaurant when Flavia stopped to buy some bangers (very potent smelling British sausages).  At the restaurant--an extremely quiet & genteel place, like an English gentlemen’s club--the coat check girl offered to hold the bangers for us.  Flavia said she was worried she’d forget them.  The girl assured h she wouldn’t forget them.  We were seated in a horseshoe shaped booth with me on the far left & were laughing about the coat check girl’s sensitive nose.  We were all smoking--no one knew it was bad then--& I was buttering a roll.  Flavia snorted, blowing ashes on the rolls & butter & I said, “I can’t take you anywhere” when the roll suddenly flew out of my hand.   There was a man in the next booth to my left who conveniently (?) had his jacket pocket gaping open.  Yes, my roll, unknown to him, landed in his pocket!!

If I had stopped to think about it at the time, I would have had two options. One would have been to say, in an ever so sophisticated way, “Excuse me, sir, but my roll is in your pocket” & the other would have been to say nothing & wait until he got home when he would probably say to his wife, “Look, Edna--I don’t mind carrying your lipstick or your glasses for you, but this is ridiculous!!”

I did neither of those sensible things.  Without thinking, I simply leaned forward & picked his pocket.  He never felt a thing.  I had had absolutely no practice.  It must have been an inborn skill.  We laughed so loudly it was embarrassing.  
Flavia asked the maitre d' for a doggy bag for her leftovers.  He said, "Oh, you have a dog?"  She told him no, that she had a cat.  "Moi, aussi," (So do I) he said, "What kind?" She said that she actually had a bobcat.  "Moi, aussi," he said & they whipped out pictures--proud parents that they were!!

When we were leaving, the maître d’ thanked us for coming.  We told him everyone was so nice that as a favor to him we would never be back.  He said, “No—please come back.  It was wonderful to have live people here for a change!!”
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Sometime around 1970, Bud & I were driving down Pacific Coast Highway.  We passed a very expensive, very exclusive restaurant &, on a whim, decided to have a late lunch there.  The maître d’ greeted us & asked if we had a reservation.  We told him we didn’t & he said he’d see what he could do.  He turned & studied the nearly empty dining area for several moments.  He then turned back to us & asked, with a straight face, “Would you prefer a round table or a square one?”
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My husband is a very intelligent man, but somehow he can’t seem to learn foreign languages.  (A case of a left brain married to a right brain.)  I had to do all his translating for him in France, which I really didn’t mind doing.  I have to admit I did get some strange looks when asking where the men’s room was.  We were in a restaurant before the days of women’s lib.  I got us a table, ordered dinner for the two of us, asked for some bread, got Bud some extra water (with ice) & requested the check.  I’m sure our waiter told his coworkers he was going to give it to the pushy broad with the fat guy!!
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On one of our first trips to Hawaii, probably around 1968, we went to dinner at Michel’s at the Colony Surf Hotel.  Our friends had told us that it was wonderful.  It was quite upscale--& expensive.  It was one of the very few places in Hawaii where men were required to wear a tie.  We got there a few minutes before our reservation time & then waited--& waited.  When we were finally seated, we waited to get a menu.  Then we waited to place our orders.  When the food came, the orders were wrong.  There were chiefs all around, but no Indians.  We couldn’t get anyone’s attention.  The maître d’ was making a brief stop at every table.  When he got to ours, he smiled & asked, “How is everything?”  I replied honestly, “Terrible!!”  He smiled again, said, “Thank you” & went on to the next table.  Bud & I sat there with our mouths hanging open.  I just googled it—it’s still in operation.  I can only assume they’ve replaced the maître d’, the chef & the waitstaff.


This is how we felt:


For an interesting dining experience, watch this:

And this: