Saturday, January 19, 2008

Obliviots

Obliviot is one of my favorite words. It describes a huge sector of the community so aptly - oblivious idiots. I've met more than my fair share of obliviots this last week. Last Saturday we saw a woman driving her car while doing a crossword puzzle. I kid you not. She had the paper folded neatly on her steering wheel and the pencil in her left hand. To make matters worse, this was no quiet, country road, this was I95 in busy traffic.

Later that day, also on I95, we passed a woman who was watching a DVD on her dashboard as she drove.

i wish I had had the presence of mind to whip out the cellphone and take movies of them to post to YouTube. idiots like that need to be publicly exposed and humiliated.

Last night we went to Noodles Cafe in Naples, FL. We were pleased to note that they had a gluten free menu. Ben and Shira go to eat noodles in a restaurant for the first time in their lives. Our table was so dark that we could not read the menu. We asked the waiter for more light and he brought a tea light. What he thought that tiny, flickering flame was going to do was beyond me.

i should have known that this was not a harbinger of a good dining experience. Ben, Shira and I all ordered GF pasta. It arrived super al dente. It crunched when chewed, so we sent it back. The waiter asked me a few times if I was sure that it was undercooked. When did waiters start questioning their customers?

I was a little confused when they took B&S's food but left mine on the table. The kids just wanted plain noodles. I had noodles with broccoli, mushrooms and sundried tomato. Turns out that they just tossed B&S's food back into the boiling water for a while and then cooked me more noodles. They brought out a small bowl of pasta for me and told me to move my veggies from the other dish onto this pasta.

When I explained to my waiter that I would not be doing this, that I expected a warm veggie sauce placed on top of my noodles and I expected it to be done in the kitchen, he was most bemused. He told me that this was how they always did it. I retorted that I didn't care that this was how they always did it, the correct way was to take the dish back to the kitchen and to bring the correct one back to the client. He did it because I insisted but you could see he thought I was a pain in the ass.

I then asked to speak to the manager who also expressed amazement at my wishes. I can't believe that service levels have dropped to these levels.

This was in such stark contrast to the meal we had at Clyde's in Chevy Chase, MD last week. Our waiter, Saheed, couldn't have been more helpful or more understanding of dietary restrictions. Nothing was too much trouble for him.

I am starting to think that obliviot quotients are related to latitude. The warmer the climate, the more oblviiots you meet.

2 comments:

Bettina Colonna Essert said...

So, does this mean you're rethinking the move to a tropical island?

SusanV said...

Shez, I love your blog! My family had its own experience with obliviots last weekend. We went to a Mexican restaurant and ordered off the vegetarian section of the menu, careful to explain about leaving off the cheese and sour cream. When the dishes arrived, my daughter's and husband's were fine, but as I started to put my veggie fajitas together, I saw that there was beef--and chicken!--all through it. I flagged down the waitress and explained the problem. She apologized and took it away.

It took a while, so I ate the beans and rice that came on a separate plate. My vegetables finally arrived, but before eating, I forked through it; sure enough, beef and chicken, only a little less. Obviously, they had removed most of the offending food and brought me the same exact dish. So much for understanding what vegetarian means!

I was already full from the side dishes, so I asked the waitress if I could just pay for what I had eaten, but she didn't charge me at all.

Anyway--long comment, but I wanted to commiserate. Eating out is such a minefield when you have specific food needs.