Friday, June 24, 2016

A Dinner Problem: 5 Years Later

It's been over five years since the blog post you'll read after this bit I'm about to write and the unique thing about this story and that story is that they both happened at a USAC .25 event.

So last night the USAC .25 crew ate at a Mexican place and an event I haven't seen before occurred. Now one thing about the crew is that from five years ago to today there's only person that remains so the change has been an adjustment this year but I'm much more tailored for change now than I used to be. Anyway, when the food started to come out, the waitress as she walked through the door caught the large tray on the hinge of the door and the massive tray about fell. She caught it with beautiful precision but then as she tried to make one more move the center of gravity was shifted so far over it came off her holder and the end result was a clattering of glass as plates shattered and food got flung in all directions. It was an utter mess but then another person walked in with another plate of food. This led to the situation where some people's dinner was smeared all over the floor and others got their food as if nothing bad had occurred. It was spoken but didn't need to be that it was okay for those that had food to go ahead and eat. Now, why was this so? The social rules about dinner and food vs. no food has confused me so now here is the original blog post on this topic as it was ran in it's original format...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another Story From That Dinner: Manners?

It's been mentioned the previous two days, and once again the "dinner" from Sunday night will once again get some air time.

Sunday, after the USAC .25 race in California, we went for food. A family also joined us so there was a total of 13 people spread out amongst three tables. I talked about my "positional warfare" in yesterday's blog, but another instance of note happened when the food was served.

The three people across from me got their food first and almost a minute passed. The conversation continued on as if the food had not been served and the three acted as if there was nothing on the table in front of them. After another thirty seconds passed I couldn't take it anymore so I asked, "Um, is there something wrong with your food?"

The answer given was that they were waiting for others to get their food before proceeding. This made zero sense to me and I recall a long time ago hearing that the mannerly thing to do is to wait for everyone to get their food before eating. But I have to ask why? I don't understand this at all. Is it noble to let one's food go cold while waiting?

I have never been good at understanding manners like this. Does this make me rude? Perhaps, but simply put, I don't understand the logic behind it. Logically speaking, does this mean that when the first person is finished that all others must stop? If I like my food hot do I request that my meal be brought out last? Where does the madness end?

Once my pizza was brought out I, out of habit, dug in right away. Granted, I had not had anything to eat since the morning donuts at Yum Yum, but I didn't think twice until I started to eat. Then I wondered if I should have waited.

I see multiple aspects to this insanity. If a person throughout their life didn't wait to eat, odds are it would be about a 50/50 ration of eating first and waiting to eat. Since this is the case, and since people at the table have no say as to the order of when people get their food, shouldn't the right thing to do be to eat the food while it is still fresh from the kitchen?

Before I started writing this I did a Google search about the mannerly thing to do in regards to this topic and it read like an illogical mess. Truly, the official manner playbook says that it is wrong to eat if A, B, or C happens, but if D, E, and F happen it is okay. If it is a business meeting then D and E falls under A, B, or C and if it is a weekend A falls under F. Say what?

I'm sure people not on the spectrum struggle with manner protocol and this document read as if one would need a doctorate to understand it. Isn't my way easier? If food is served eat it. Shouldn't the burden of manners be on the eating establishment? If I should have wait don't tease me by serving my food. The manner website said that it is mannerly for the person who is waiting their food to encourage others to eat, and it is even more mannerly for those who have their food to politely protest, and then to continue, the person who is waiting should doubly encourage others to eat and then, and only then, should others start to eat. No wonder I am clueless!

Again, isn't my way easier? If the mannerly thing is to have this long drawn out encouragement followed by protest followed by further encouragement to start eating could we not forgo the whole scripted drama and just get to the food? Both ways get to the same destination, but we bypass the construction and unscenic part of the road.

It is no wonder I am clueless about this. Much like The Handshake that I wrote about last year, there are some things I simply don't understand. I don't think I am an overly rude person, but if my food is served and I am hungry I will start to eat. If you get your food please don't wait for me because I won't wait for you. Is that rude?

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