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Epidermic Xenophobia

Monday 06/27/2005 10:40 PM

OK, so I never followed up on the Animals Saving Humans thread. I will. Promise.

There are several things that happened in my life that I'd like to talk about. This evening, I'm going to cover the most appalling.

Perhaps that's too strong a word, but it's more than a week later and I still can't get over something I witnessed at a local restaurant. It was the weekend before last and I was at the Bonefish Grill picking up some carry-out for Candy and I. They have carside service and after the young lady took my credit card receipt and gave me our food, I checked the order and mistakenly thought she shorted me on our salads.

I went back inside (the place was packed) and told her she forgot the salads. She said she was sure they were there, but when I offered to go get the bags so she could see, she acquiesced and said she'd get me my salads. It took her a few minutes and I waited near the podium (but out of the way) where the hostess was welcoming arriving customers.

I stood there silently, occasionally looking over my shoulder to check on Sheriff in the car with his ears watching me through the plate glass, while I waited for the rest of my order. After a couple of minutes, an African American couple came into the restaurant and asked to be seated. The hostess told them, "It'll be at least an hour and ten minutes before we can seat you." The man looked at the woman, she shrugged her shoulders and he said, "OK." The hostess handed him one of those hard plastic wireless buzzer things and the couple wandered outside.

As the first couple walked out, another African American couple came in and approached the podium. Same thing as before and the hostess tells them, "It'll be about an hour and ten minutes to an hour and twenty minutes before we can seat you." They said OK, got a buzzer and wandered over to the crowded bar.

A few minutes passed and another couple came in. Except when this fair skinned couple (who looked like they just came from the tennis club) approached the hostess, she explained, "We're busy tonite. It will be about 45 minutes to an hour before we can seat you." They happily agreed, got their buzzer and wandered outside to the benches on the sidewalk where the first couple was.

Now even though I know that there may be some perfectly reasonable explanations for what I saw, I'm also not so ignorant as to not realize that just because we're in the 21st century that doesn't mean racism doesn't still exist. If it looks like a duck...

Anyway, it is widely acknowledged in these parts that Tallahassee is more Southern Georgia than Northern Florida and, no matter how you cut it, never doubt for a moment that your friend and author is in The South. That's with a capital T and a capital S as in The South, and there are still people (on both sides of the coin, incidentally) who pride themselves on their ignorance.

It's been a while since I saw one of those cartoon Johnny Rebs with the exaggerated letters and extra exclamation points reading Ferget, Hell!!! None-the-less, even if I completely misinterpretted this observation, it served as an important reminder that the spectre of xenophobia (in one form or another) is never far away.

As for the salads... they were on the very bottom of the bag, under my shrimp and scallops. So we scored extra salads that night, which is never a bad thing.

We're not giving up on the Bonefish just yet. Their sauces are yummy, you can't beat the bread (or the macadamia nut crusted brownie with the raspberry sauce and real whipped cream), and I honestly do not believe that one hostess's possibly unconscious prejudice is a reflection on the restaurant and/or chain itself.

Now there is one restaurant that kinda made me mad. But I'll tell you about that one later.

File Under: Crimes Against Humanity; Life Happening; Restaurants
Music: Rolling Stones "Let It Bleed"

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