karma and restaurants with initials

If you appreciate or at least humor the concept of karma (as described in the now gone great show “my name is earl” – do good things, good things happen to you, do bad things, bad things happen to you) do you ever wonder when the other shoe is going to drop?  If karma helps to keep a balance, does that apply to individual sections of your life or your life as a whole?  I entertained this question after yet another rough restaurant outing that saw karma shift from good to bad in the matter of an hour. 

Maybe we just don’t have good luck with restaurants with initials in their name.  A while ago I made my first and last visit to Tony D’s House of Idiocy and Grill, so I was a bit hesitant when the suggestion to try Henry B’s was raised a week ago on one of those rare nights that my wife and I get to go out.

The whole trip was taking odd turns all day.  We were expecting her parents the following morning and had arranged a sitter.  A call from her parents said they were coming in that night so I cancelled the sitter with many, many apologies.  We gave away our reservation at Good Luck (a fine eating establishment by the way where we never have issues) assuming we weren’t going out and then decided at the last-minute to venture.  Heading out without a reservation isn’t always a bad thing.  There are several places that are happy to have you eat at the bar since they can still make good money and the bartenders know they’ll get a nice fat tip when you leave.  Would you rather have a couple sit at the bar, get a few drinks (even if one is just drinking Pelegrino), order food and run up an $80 tab or sit there for the same amount of time and order three drinks tipping you $2 each round?  I thought so.

Our bartender was very nice, took our order, brought the appetizers and we were enjoying our meal until something let out.  The fun part about Rochester’s downtown dining establishments is that they attract the theatre crowd.  By theatre crowd, I’m not talking about people who live in the city and come out for improv groups or small shows, these are people who make more money, live in the suburbs and bring in their nice cars, clothes and feel everyone in their path should be thankful that they are bringing their money into the city.  (Note: When I said fun, up there a few words ago, that was sarcasm.  I’ve been told sometimes it is tough to pick that up in my writing, but you may assume that most of the time, I am being at least a little sarcastic.  Okay, back to the story.)  Not all the theatre people are bad though.  There are a few who still have an interest in getting along with others.  For example, a few people came up to the bar to order drinks, noticed that we were eating and gave us some space or at least enough that I didn’t feel like their drink was going to splash in my salad.  I supposed I should thank those people. 

Two points really stood out that defined the night courtesy of the new arrivals.  We were working our way through the main course when a group of five moved in on the left.  We were near the corner of the bar, an awkward place, yes, but not impossible for people to navigate.  At this point in the night, the bartenders had switched sides of the bar and we were rewarded with the dingbat bartender who had trouble opening wine bottles never mind actually pouring a glass.  (Read into that, the cards were getting stacked against us as the minutes wore on.)  My wife was sharing a story with me when I heard the following statement from the “gentleman” behind me.  “Let’s see how good this restaurant is.  We have an 8:15 reservation.  You should be seated before you have to order a second drink.  Any restaurant worth it’s salt will comp you your second round if your table isn’t ready.”  This buffoon proceeded to try to wave down the bartender while muttering under his breath “come on sweetie, you look really dumb, don’t you know what you’re doing”.  Once she got there he ordered five drinks nice and loud right in my ear and then basically leaned against my arm as he talked with his friends (I can only assume that I am so solid as a person that he thought he was leaning against the bar not a fellow human, or do I just have too much faith in humanity). 

Meanwhile, my wife was having a similar experience on her side.  She was sitting forward in her bar stool chair which apparently is a universal sign that anyone who is standing at the bar is allowed to lean on the chair, put their arm on the chair, try to lift a leg over and sit on it, etc.  At one point, being the crafty woman she is, she sat back and watched as the arms abruptly moved, but does not recall hearing an “excuse me”. 

Where does karma come into play here?  I’m glad you asked since I was asking the same question.  We were moving our plates and glasses to make sure there was room, understanding that the bar is not exactly meant for dining.  We were doing our best to ignore the rudeness of other people.  Why didn’t they end up leaving or moving to another area?  I think the negative energy was overpowering the positive energy in that area and the positive decided to head on up the street.  We decided to do the same.  We asked for the bill, it arrived, we paid and then stood up and two things happened.  1.  My wife had made a slight move to stand up when the two women next to her both asked, “oh are you leaving?” and then proceeded to push their enormous asses into the seats barely allowing us to get our coats off the chairs.  Now, I understand if you are carrying a certain amount of weight around you may need to rest your poor legs lest they buckle on you at an inopportune time, but you can’t tell me they wouldn’t last another 10 seconds to allow the person vacating the coveted resting pad to take their personal belongings.  2.  I stood up and turned to face the “gentleman” who was previously pontificating on proper restaurant manners and was leaning against me.  He wasn’t a small guy by horizontal standards (yes, I’m making fat jokes, get over it) but had to look up at me as I stood and his confident face changed a bit as he backed away slightly to let me leave.  I think the move had more to do with me stepping on his foot than him being intimidated by my physique but we can all build ourselves up from time to time right?  The bill was paid we headed out and tried to summarize the evening. 

What had happened?  We had good intentions, didn’t try to steal a reservation, and wanted to patronize a place we had yet to go and was not part of a national chain.  The food was good, the service (part 1) was excellent, but at some point that changed.  I tried to recall our conversations, my thoughts, we were having pleasant conversations, not complaining about other people, not dwelling in any rough parts of the day.  What mystery was this that caused an evening to go downhill so fast.  I still wonder about it, was it us or can we use the Robin Williams’s Sean Maguire line from Good Will Hunting “it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault…”

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2 Responses to “karma and restaurants with initials”

  1. Diego Pereda Says:

    At least you do not have to deal with smoking….

  2. “thanks for the bread” « Building a better drumset Says:

    […] shared before some harrowing experiences at local establishments with initials in the name.  Perhaps I need to expand that to just names in the name.  A friend of ours suggested we try a […]

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