We all go out to eat sometimes. Some of us more often than others. Mr. Beers and Mr. Bobo probably go out to eat (on the average) ten times a week. Is that a lot? It seems like a lot to me. We eat at cheap places and sometimes at not-so-cheap places. We go to all kinds of places - Chinese, Mexican, Italian, steak houses, burger joints - you name it. So we've accumulated a lot of dining, um, experiences.
But just this past week, we experienced a "first." Some dear friends from Austin were in town and they requested we go to a particular place for dinner - a favorite of theirs when they're in town. A little pricey, but great outdoor seating, a good wine selection, tasty food, and a relaxed atmosphere. So it all sounded good. We were able to get a gander at the patio and the dining room as we walked up and walked in, and there were some empty tables. Good.
At about 8:30 on a Wednesday night, a lovely seating hostess greeted us with a smile and said hello. Then she asked if we had reservations. I said no, and asked if we might have a table for four. "No," she said, "we're all full this evening - totally booked." "What about these empty tables that I see?" I asked. And her response still rings in my ears like the plaintive peal of church bells on a lonely hillside: "We're not taking any more tables this evening. Our kitchen is behind on their tickets. So no more this evening." Oh yeah. Then she handed me one of those randomly shaped groovy business cards that had the restaurant's vital information on it, raised an eyebrow, and said, "You know we take reservations. Did you know that?"
We awkwardly backed out the front door with our tails appropriately tucked, and walked to another restaurant, where we were greeted warmly and told to sit at any open table. Plan B turned out just fine. Good food, great company - we probably would have been happy pretty much anywhere.
But I can't help but keep thinking about the fancy shmancy place that was not taking anymore tables at 8:30. We were probably supposed to think "How cool is this place! We must come back here sometime when we've been smart enough and sophisticated enough to make reservations!" But that's not what I thought. What I thought was something more like, "Wow. That's dumb."