Your Open Table is Waiting
One of the goals of retirement, at least for women, is to maintain a spotless kitchen. Current research has shown that the best way to accomplish this is to avoid cooking whenever possible. Here in South Florida, as I’m sure in other sunny places where Snowbirds perch, we take these findings very seriously. So, instead of making dinner, we make a reservation. I like to think of it as recreational eating.
As well as assuring a grease-free stove, recreational eating serves another purpose. It’s the means by which we socialize after the sun goes down. After a full day on the golf course or around the canasta table, what could be better than sitting down with friends to a meal that you did not prepare?
Now, I don’t mean to complain, but in the past making a reservation was not as simple as it sounds. While it didn’t result in a sink full of dirty dishes, it did require a phone call. While that may not sound like a big deal, there are those of us, and I am chief among them, who hate making phone calls. And yes, in spite of this lack of conformity to a sexual stereotype, I do identify as female.
But hate it or not, for the sake of a sanitary kitchen, that call needed to be placed. To make matters worse, the voice at the other end was frequently that of a snotty, young hostess who would put you on hold for “just a moment” while she searched through her diary to see “if there was anything available.” Just as you’ve had enough of the horrible music and were about to hang up, she’d pop back on the line, and in a tone of voice that sounded like she was about to save your life by donating a kidney, she said yes, she could accommodate you. And you breathe a sigh of relief.
Then along comes Open Table. An answer to a prayer for the phone and hostess averse. Much like the ability to stay in touch with friends via email and texting, Open Table allows you to communicate with the restaurant of your choosing without the use of your voice! And that snotty hostess can keep her kidney!
I love Open Table. It’s so easy. I use it all the time. I “tell” it the date, the time, and the number of people. I can even type in a special request or let the restaurant know if one of my guests is having a birthday. Open Table sends me confirmations and reminders. It allows me to cancel the reservation if that becomes necessary. It definitely rates five stars for convenience and efficiency.
But even with all its wonderful attributes, I believe there is room for improvement. And as a loyal customer, I would like to offer a few suggestions. Open Table would better serve its users if it recognized that those of us that are of a “certain age” may have requirements before committing to the reservation that go beyond the date and the time.
For example, where is the location of my table vis-à-vis the rest room? A closer proximity to the men’s room for someone who likes martinis and also walks more slowly than he used to could definitely avoid a potentially embarrassing situation.
Is it PC to ask to be informed if the wait staff speaks English as a second language? Foreign accents are beautiful except when a waiter from Kazakhstan is reciting the specials to a diner who has forgotten to insert their hearing aids. In this case, simply raising one’s voice is not helpful.
And speaking of sound, is there a way that Open Table could record and report the decibel level in the dining room? Medicare recipients tend to enjoy conversation with their dinner partners in an environment not reminiscent of a subway station complete with disco music. Hey, we still like to dance, but not necessarily while we’re eating.
And would it be too much to ask to let me know if the table I was being offered was under an a/c vent? Because if it is, I would like to come prepared, though I agree that turtleneck sweaters do look a bit out of place.
One last thing, Open Table. Could you comment on the lighting? Will someone who is about to have cataract surgery be able to read the menu? Or will it be necessary to bring illumination? If that’s the case, it would be really helpful to know beforehand, so the entire evening won’t be ruined if a guest has forgotten to charge his iPhone.
So, Open Table, thanks in advance for your consideration of the above recommendations that will make your app even more older-user friendly. And I shall continue to rely on you to help keep my kitchen gleaming!
P.S. Thank you for responding to my last blog by sending me additional “Words You Never Want to Hear Again in 2023.” Included in this list were “No problem,” “Awesome,” At the end of the day,” “We don’t know what we don’t know,” “Have a blessed day,” and “The bottom line is…”.
Hi folks. Happy New Year! This is the last time I shall say “Happy New Year” in 2023. It’s the middle of January. It’s enough already! There should be a National “Say By” date when it is no longer appropriate to utter those three words. Much like a “Use by” or a “Sell by” date on a product. I think I will write to Congress. Perhaps after they’ve finished impeaching everyone and decoding Hunter Biden’s laptop, they will consider addressing the above.
Have I started the New Year on a cranky note? Not really. I thought if I could get some petty annoyances off my chest straight away, I will be able to face the rest of the year with a smile on my face. Maybe.
I don’t know about you, but there are certain expressions one hears on an almost-daily basis that I find particularly irksome. Things people say that robotically pop out of their mouths. As if they really cared! In fact, I just might be at the end of my tether. I mean, I try to be polite but it’s getting more difficult to stop myself from blurting “Don’t tell me what kind of day to have!!!!” So, I might as well begin with the catalyst(s) for that reaction: “Have a great day,” and its derivatives “Have a good day,” and “Have a good evening.”
If a relative stranger tells me to “Have a great day,” how am I supposed to respond to that? Do I simply say “You, too.” But that’s ridiculous. I know perfectly well that the guy who parked my car is not going to have a great day. It’s Florida; he’s sweating. He’s running around in the heat parking and fetching cars for impatient people and cursing under his breath when they give him a stingy tip.
Instructing one to have a “great day” places an onus on the recipient. Now one must ponder about what extraordinary thing to do to make this day grander than the days before when there was no mandate. It’s less of a burden to have a “good day,” I suppose.
Similarly, I’m leaving a restaurant at 10:00 PM and the hostess at the door smiles sweetly and says “Have a good evening.” Do I look twenty years old and about to go dancing? I’ve had my “good evening” in your restaurant and it’s already past my bedtime. Do I bother to tell her it’s no longer evening, and a simple “Good Night” would be more appropriate? I really want to, but behind my smile I am gritting my teeth.
I find restaurants the source of another teeth-gritting experience. I’m sure this has happened to you. (If not, tell me where you dine because I want to go there.) A wait person comes to your table to take your order. You tell her (or him, but it’s mostly a “her”) what you want, and she responds with an enthusiastic “Great!!!” You can almost see the exclamation points coming out of her mouth. Was the menu a quiz and I made the correction selection? Is she complementing me on achieving a good score? And can you tell me why ordering a Caesar Salad and a plate of pasta is a wonderous thing? I find the response of “Great” in this context highly grating.
Then, there’s “Hi, how are you?” frequently uttered when you walk into a shop. Why not cut off the utterance at “Hi.” Do you really care how I am? And do I really care to tell you? “Well, if you must know, my husband and I had a terrible argument last night, and I was so upset I didn’t sleep a wink. Then I spilled tomato juice all over the dog and had to bathe him three times before his coat wasn’t red anymore. Then I slipped on the kitchen floor because it was wet from bathing the dog three time, and later I found out that my best friend has an incurable illness, and….” But the truth is not what’s expected. So, you smile, and lie, and simply say “fine.”
And how do you feel about political cliches? If you’re like me, you tend to ignore them as just a lot of wind. “Watch what they do, not what they say” is the advice I try to follow. However, there is one expression that I simply cannot disregard. Whether a politician is stomping about gun control, abortion, taxes, or impeaching his rival, he (because it’s almost always a “he”) will rationalize his position by emphatically concluding: “because that’s what the American people want!” Hey, how do you know what the American people want? Did you waste my taxpayer dollars on a sweeping survey of every American? Funny, because I don’t remember being asked. Arg!
In closing I’d like to award honorable mention to “Follow your dream,” and its cousin, “Do what you love,” both of which, to my mind, have about as much substance as a fortune cookie.
So, let’s raise a glass to a formula-free 2023. And until we meet again, promise me you’ll at least try to have a great day!
2022. Your time is through!
And like all your predecessors, you’ve had your ups and downs. You didn’t start out with your best foot forward because in February Russia invaded Ukraine. On the upside, we’ve so far managed to avoid a nuclear Armageddon. On the home front, the anticipated red wave in Congress never happened. I’ll let readers decide if that was an up or a down.
Highlights of a year in show biz include Will Smith delivering the slap heard ‘round the world, and Kanye West deciding that his first name was three letters too long. In sports and other pastimes, The New York Yankees once again avoided the World Series, and Wordle took the country by storm. And as we enter 2023, does the fate of Twitter and cryptocurrency hang in the balance?
Thirty-four new drugs were approved by the FDA this year, providing thirty-four opportunities for anointing the medications with unpronounceable names that defy the linguistic rules of practically every language on the face of the earth. Even my spellcheck was baffled! You can imagine how challenging it was for me to select only ten. But here, for your New Year’s Eve pleasure, I present my annual year-end Stupid Drug Names quiz. Take it now, or later, after you’ve had a few!
And honorable mention goes to Rezlidhia, Tzield, Relyvrio, and Quviviq, all of which are causing my spellcheck to have a nervous breakdown.
If you have any interest at all, here are the true purposes of the drugs: Lytgobi: a treatment for a type of carcinoma; Vonjo: treats myelofibrosis; Vabysmo: macular degeneration; Opdualag: treats melanoma; Cibingo: for atopic dermatitis; Krazati: lung cancer; Mounjaro: control blood sugar in diabetes; Pyrukynd: anemia; Xenpozyme: acid sphingomyelinase deficiency; Sotyktu: plaque psoriasis.
From my family to yours, I wish you a happy and healthy New Year. Once again, I thank you for your continued indulgence. I couldn’t possibly be having this much fun without you.
About the Author
Susan is the author of two award-winning collections of humorous personal essays: “How Old Am I in Dog Years?” and “How to Complain When There’s Nothing to Complain About.” Check out her Author Page HERE.