Thursday, January 05, 2006

I am listening to Duran Duran, and loving it. What you gonna do about it?

I am constantly amazed at the level of sloth my life has recently descended to. I sleep until about 2pm and then lie around in bed for a while contemplating the cracks in the ceiling and listening to National Public Radio (oh NPR, how I love thee!!), then I'll have a cup of tea and read blogs, and occasionally have a shower and get dressed and go to the shop for some milk or crisps, or go to Holly's and water her plants, or go to the post office, or something REALLY FREAKING EXCITING and then watch a movie or have a nap, and then cook some food, and watch some telly and do some sewing and maybe some washing, and watch another movie, or maybe some fine BBC comedy care of the good people at netflix, and sometimes talk online with some people, and then read and go to sleep about 3am. Its fascinating.
I think I'm a sloth camel, you see. I'm cramming in all this laziness for the next two weeks, because once the semester starts I won't have time for any sloth at all, so I can gradually chip away at my store of sloth until May. Then when the semester finishes, I can refill the then-emptied sloth store.

I was commenting on another blog earlier about noisy eaters, about things that drive people insane. I like to think I'm a fairly tolerant person (hahaha) but there are a few things that drive me absolutely potty, and one of them is noisy eating. I cannot stand it. I am the table manners nazi, and I believe you can tell an awful lot about a person simply by sharing a meal with them at a reasonably nice restaurant. It has to be a bit decent, because anybody will shine in comparison to the people I've seen at some chain restaurants.
Because I am an expert on all aspects of human nature (actually I'm an expert on everything, but thats for another time) I believe that certain traits are indicative of underlying features of a person's psychological makeup. Kind of like factor analysis. (hello Sveta!!)
Say you turn up to the restaurant, and you have to wait for ten minutes for the table. Probably not anyone's fault. Don't take it out on the waitperson, because its not their fault that the people on the table before you are pissing about and taking too long. Maybe they're taking too long because they got stuck in traffic on the way, or their babysitter was late, or the people before them were late, or the chef made a mistake with their order. If someone was to go nuts at the maitre'd because they had to wait a few minutes for their table obviously has unresolved anger issues they are incapable of dealing with and therefore project them onto the poor freaking maitre'd who probably doesn't get paid nearly enough to deal with this shit.
One can also tell a lot about a person by how they treat their waitperson. If they are rude and dismissive they obviously have some insecurities about their own position in the grand scheme of things, and feel the need to put down people who they believe to be their social inferiors. There are of course waitpeople in this world (especially in this country) who are keen to introduce themselves to you, ask you about your day and who evidently want to be your friend. This is not right. Obviously if the customer wanted to spend the evening chatting with their waitperson then they would have asked them out for dinner, but seeing as how they didn't, leave them the fuck alone to talk to the person they are dining with. There are of course occasions where the table is composed of middle-aged business men who like to flirt with pretty waitresses, ask them their names and want to buy them a drink. This is all well and good, as long as the customers are long gone by the time the waitress concerned has finished work, don't try and slip roofies into the waitresses drink, and they leave a big fuck off tip. Ahhh, those were the days!!
I'm kind of rambling here, deal with it.

Then it comes to meal time. I like to think I was raised with good manners. In fact, I know that manners were drummed into my little brain from a very early age.
There are a few hard and fast rules that I thought everyone knew, but evidently not.
These rules include: one does not begin eating until all people at the table have been served. One does not have one's elbows on the table when there is also food on the table. Drinks only, thats ok. One does not EVER hold one's cutlery in a fist, unless one is a caveman. One waits until all food has been swallowed until one speaks, and one does not EVER EVER EVER NEVER EVER eat with one's mouth open. I don't care about cultural sensitivities or how hot the food is or any bullshit excuse like that. Your mouth can be blistering inside and still your lips will remain sealed.
Some believe that civility and manners perpetuate falsity. I say so what. Manners are what make it possible for us to all get along and live with each other, because sometimes interaction with people we cannot stand is necessary. Manners make it possible to interact with people , especially people we don't know, because it gives us a common language, and demonstrates a certain commitment to dealing with one's fellow human.
Also, and perhaps because I am a dreadful snob and the grandchild of the British Raj, table manners are to me the most important type of manners.
Coming together to eat is an experience on many levels I think. Its earthy, because food is such an essential part of our existence and generally comes from the earth. Its sensual, because as I have blogged before, food and wine are an experience for the senses beyond simple taste. Its social, because you use the time to interact on many levels with your fellow diners: you talk, you listen, you see how they enjoy their food, you see how they react to you and you enjoying yours, and its a lot more intimate than we initially realise. There are so many things we are doing while eating a meal, and I think we realise maybe half of them.

Right, so where was I going with this. I've just had my first glass of wine since NYE and its gone straight to my head. What a cheap date.

Here's where I was going. Or not. Fuck, way to be REALLY self referential. Can you say Dave Eggers?

I am a manners snob, but I don't want anybody reading this to think that it is directed at them because we may be dining together in the future, or have dined together in the past. This is the problem with knowing and meeting bloggers.
I have another whole blog festering away in my head right now, perhaps I'll write it and post it later. Again, another problem with knowing and meeting bloggers, one is torn between writing what one wants to say and knowing that someone will read it, and wanting to use the blog as a means to say what is not appropriate to say to their face.
Ok, perhaps I'll turn up Duran Duran and dance around my room for a while. That should sort things out a bit.