Monday, April 16, 2007

W.W.B.D. (What Would Bloggers Do)

I had dinner at a quasi fancy-pants restaurant (i.e. fairly expensive but no dress code) Sunday evening, where I was served a pretty scrumptious meal of pesto-filled ravioli.

After I shared a couple pieces with other folks at the table, I ate about half of what remained, thinking I'd save the remaining pieces for lunch Monday. After all, shouldn't a dinner that good — and that expensive — be partitioned out for as many meals as is humanly possible?

It seemed practical enough. So when a member of the wait-staff stopped by and asked to take my plate, my glance immediately turned to the other dish already in his hand:

It was a dirty plate from a nearby table. I assumed, then, that he meant to take my plate without wrapping up the remains.

"Oh," I said, a little surprised. "I'd like to wrap it up if I could."

"I thought so," he said, further extending his hand for my leftovers.

I paused, scanning the dirty dish cradled in his arm and imagining a million different bugs, germs and protozoans crawling the surface. I'd seen him pick it up at the table immediately to my left: so then I looked at the guy at that table.

He seemed healthy enough — or so I thought at first glance. But, gesh, he was wiping his nose an awful lot. And his skin did look rather ashen.

But I had people at my own table to impress, so rather than say "Actually, could you bring the box to me? I can pack it." — which is what I wanted to do — I lifted my plate to his already-extended hand and watched in horror as he placed my beloved ravioli on top, and yet still slightly askance, of the diseased, sickly man's dirty dish.

I tried telling myself I was being irrational. That this procedure wasn't the least bit unsanitary. And as I thought of all these things, images of Howard Hughes (or rather, Leondaro DiCaprio playing Howard Hughes) flashed through my mind, as if to remind me to stay calm, to not let on that I was uneasy. Or, in short, to not look like the paranoid freak I can sometimes be.

So I decided to play it calm, all the while resolving to intentionally leave my daintily-packaged leftovers on the table as we stood to leave. I was nearly out of the door when I hear "Miss!" over my shoulder, and turn around to see the guy running towards me with my microbe-infested pesto.

I smiled politely; thanked him; and then threw the food in the trash first thing when I returned home.

OK. So maybe I'm a germophobe. And, yeah, I can't help but think of my father, and all those times he reminded me of the children starving in Africa whenever I'd refuse to eat food on my plate.

"I'd send it to them if I could," I'd say earnestly, my eyes barely visible over the table-top, pleading to be dismissed.

But I'm not so sure pesto ravioli could last such a long trans-continental journey. And yet: I also couldn't stomach the idea of eating it.

So I threw it away.

Now what, dear bloggers, would you have done?


Anonymous said...

In your case, you did what was best for you. No sense is makng yourself eating something you don't want to.

If it were me, I wouldn't have noticed, probably. But if it were me, odds on, it wouldn't have survived dinner.

Woodrow said...

The way I see it the cook probably had a runny nose or the guy who so neatly wrapped your silverware up in that clean napkin had to scratch his ass or the last person who held your menu sneezed all over it so why worry about it? Just order another martini because everybody knows that gin kills germs.

hyacinths and biscuits said...

Oh I feel your pain. I threw a box of cookies away today because they had become germ-infested. I thought of all the starving children and how they'd love to have it. But who knows what other germy horrors occured while he was packing it up in the kitchen? I hate when they take it away.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Good point, Woodrow.

I'm never eating out again.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Just kidding. Though it does creep me out when I think about all the unsanitary goings-on at a restaurant. I try to not think about it and usually do an OK job... but seeing it right in front of me is just a little too much.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

H & B - I don't usually mind when they pack it for me. But to see my leftovers stacked on top of a complete stranger's dirty plate makes me wonder what other situations are occurring behind the scenes at this particular restaurant.

disgruntled world citizen said...

whatever you do don't read Kitchen Confidential. you'll never eat out again, for real, if you read that.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

BPP - I keep telling myself my first mistake was not eating it all right then and there.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

DWC - Just knowing a book by that title exists is enough to make me think about all of the awful possibilities.

XOXO said...

Oh no! You all are not helping this situation.
3rdW-Don't listen to them. They are just making it all up. (I know they aren't making it up...I'm trying to help.)

Winter said...

I would have done the same thing. Except throw up at the end.

Stacy said...

I would have told the waiter that I didn't appreciate him taking my plate as he had a disgusting germ filled plate in his hand already and I wanted to take it home and please bring me a clean container. Then I would have asked to see the manager and written a letter to the owners. But what you did was probably a bit more obsessive.

Anonymous said...

yep - should have ate it all in one sitting. you can't get a body as fine as this spreading one meal across days.