Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Theme Day: Waiting


Waiting for a Table>
Photo & Text Copyright 2009 Seattle Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.

It is City Daily Photo Bloggers' first of the month theme day today: waiting. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.
What do you do while you are waiting? This was the weirdest wait I've had in awhile. There were at least 8 empty tables. It was a weeknight at 6 PM on a popular neighborhood shopping street. I had come way across town to enjoy dinner out as I have eaten at this restaurant before. After entering and standing unnoticed in the small entryway for two minutes, I occupied myself with reading the menu board and deciding what yummy things I might order. I stood there for another couple of minutes, and other patrons turned around to look at me when their partners kept looking my way. Now I'm feeling awkward and kind of invisible as wait staff pass back and forth to tables. I noticed a Glassybaby hand blown glass votive on the host stand in front of me and thought I'd like to get a photo of them glowing so prettily on all the tables while I'm waiting. I took out my camera to get a discreet shot. Click. A wait staff suddenly looked up from the kitchen and said she'd be with me in a moment. A host also appeared from the back. "Hi, how many?" said the host, and after checking her computer screen for quite awhile to find seating for one said with neither smile nor apology that she needed me to come back in an hour and fifteen minutes, and she could seat me then. I sort of have a version of that old college adage that for a TA who is late to class students should wait 15 minutes, for an assistant professor, 20 minutes, and for a full professor, 30 minutes. Well, I was hungry, and this wait wasn't worth two full professors and a TA :-). Having lived many years in the Gourmet Ghetto area of Berkeley, I realize how slammed with crowds a popular small chef-owned restaurant like this can get. With some, reservations are a must. But it has only been at "cattle call" large chain restaurants hoping for bar tab profits that I can recall a small party being asked to wait so very long, let alone to leave and come back. So, I moseyed across the street to another place I also enjoy, was greeted immediately and seated, and had a nice meal and finished  before the hour and fifteen minutes of requested wait time were up. Funny thing was, some of these tables remained open the whole time I was dining across the street. In San Francisco in the 80s and early 90s we frequented a small seafood restaurant out in the Aves owned by the chef and a couple of the wait staff. They didn't take reservations and were always so packed there was a line waiting outside. We often hoped there actually would be a line as the owners would often serve a glass of wine on the house to those waiting. Ah, Pacific Cafe, where is your kind of spirit these days? :-) There were never any empty tables and everyone got served your wonderful food and had a great time despite (or because of :-) ) the wait.

20 comments:

Lachezar said...

A perfect illustration of your thoughts... Awkward circumstances sometimes led to good photography..
Anyway, a great entry for today's theme!

Joan Elizabeth said...

funny story and I really like the combination of sharpness on the empty table and blur on the others ... very clever.

Bibi said...

This sounds like a place I would cross off my restaurant list for good. Not good business, but it yielded you an eye-catching photo...

White Oleander said...

I'd listen to my ipod while waiting, it helps to kill the time.

Happy Theme Day!

Kim said...

Thanks Lachezar and Joan!

And Bibi, this restaurant is sort of like those boy friends who were really great kissers, but wouldn't call for three weeks. . .lots of charm to continue luring one in. The food is terrific, the wait staff super, just the host needed re-programming :-). . .I like to think it wasn't discrimination but just an off night.
-Kim

Vogon Poet said...

Funny story, I have no patience with these self-important places. Or maybe, as you say, it was simply a bad day...

magiceye said...

aah.. the gourmet wait!

Jilly said...

The non-dinner produced a super photograph. Seems the boss needs to re-think his policy. I love your comment about the boyfriend who kissed well....too right!

brattcat said...

Their loss, at least that evening. In this economy I would think they'd bend over backward to accommodate customers. Glad you managed to get fed elsewhere...and that you got this excellent shot and story out of the experience.

Small City Scenes said...

No matter how good the food etc--I wouldn't go back. My time is important too. BUT a perfect shot for theme day. MB

Paula Werner Severo said...

very beautiful! great shot!

Luis Gomez said...

Great shot! Sad story.

Tanya said...

Interesting story and I love the blurred effect of the restaurant while the empty table is in focus waiting for a diner!

Olivier said...

j'aime bien le zooming sur cette photo.

lizziviggi said...

A wonderful example of waiting... what on earth were they thinking? Kudos on relaying the story so matter-of-factly-- I think I would have had a lot of snide comments to include! Anyway, I love the shot! I remember reading about Glassybaby votives in Sunset magazine and coveting some... they are so pretty!

Petrea said...

I'll bet they stand around wondering why "business is bad." Duh. They're turning it away.

Great picture and great post!

Kate said...

With apologies to Will and Hamlet: "the photos the thing to catch the conscience [attention] of the manager/owner." Such an odd circumstance! I'd be tempted to send a copy of your comments with the photograph to the owner.

Don and Krise said...

I think you handled it perfectly. It sounds like you'll be back another day, plus it sounds like your meal across the street was good. Nobody got hurt too badly. Nice example for theme day.

Carraol said...

The waiting experience in restaurants is about how many time you can spend or how good is the food, anyway in this case the result was an extraordinary composition full of energy and light! Thanks a lot for your kind words.

Louis la Vache said...

As others have suggested above, a bad experience produced a good photograph, capturing well the Theme...

Hee hee - interestingly, the security word for posting my comment is "i rant"!!!!

;-)