An inconvenient booth

Bethany Frazier food blog on dining outBY BETHANY FRAZIER

We’ve all been there, enjoying dinner or out grabbing drinks and it happens. You suddenly find yourself surrounded by “interesting” tablemates.

From the sniffling sick folks who sit arm-lengths away (instead of being at home in bed) to fighting couples (half their meal is a fight and the next half is silence), we’ve all been there.

I get it. People are different. To each their own, but in the middle of an open and sexy dining room is not the time or place to unleash your loud gossip, inappropriate sex jokes or lash out at your server.

Last week, while having dinner at a newly opened restaurant it happened — all around me. Maybe it was because I was dining in the heart of the Richmond suburbs or the diverse mix of folks that flock to a new restaurant.

My friend and I were seated next to a husband, wife, toddler and their friend. To keep it brief and accurate, there was a lot of vocal fry, “and I was likes” and Richmond socialite name-dropping. These were the type of folks who proudly spoke above normal volume levels, wanting nearby diners to listen to their oh-so-fascinating lives.

While the wife was in the ladies room, the husband complained to the wife’s friend about the bar scene in this particular area, loudly confiding, “There were no hot women.”

Awkward ears.

I’ve got no problem with your married-but-lady-looking ways, but please don’t boast about it when I’m nearly elbow-to-elbow with you. During the same dinner, the folks sitting on the other side of us treated their server like garbage (I hate this with a passion) and deconstructed their beautiful burgers by removing the bun to make them low carb. Is Atkins still a thing?

To alievitate these situations, engage in a deep conversation with your own dining companion(s) or grab a cocktail to soothe even the noisiest table of ladies who lunch.

Or, turn lemons into lemonade and embrace the experience.

Here’s a prime example, while having dinner with my dad in a low-key eatery, we sat close to a semi-intoxicated redhead perched at the bar. The conversation with her friend was loud and intense, at times yelling. Her life story and relationship woes poured out of her mouth as she shoveled in warm mac and cheese.

It could have been easy to become irritated or throw a few eyerolls, but, after some time, we became captivated by her poignant words, phrases and life philosophies. So much so that we started keeping a log of the real serious stuff that was practically Pinterest-quote worthy. My favorite from her?

“It’s impossible to know who you are, unless you know who you were.”

Damn right.

As a child, my hero, Mr. Rodgers softly sang “won’t you be my neighbor?” This was the approach we were all supposed to take, right? Maybe I feel differently about dining out but after all, we’re all just people, trying to enjoy good food under one roof.

Born a true Texas girl, Bethany U-Hauled to the beautiful, history-drenched city of Richmond, Virginia, for long distance love that eventually ended. In addition to obsessing and writing about Richmond’s food scene (restaurants, festivals, and trends), she’s a connoisseur of painting, aromatherapy, indie music and English accents. Find her stuff at Grub Like A Girl and One Check Or Two.

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