Tuesday, November 11, 2008


There is nothing more unpleasant than sitting in a restaurant and the table next to you is so loud you can't hear your companion, the waitress or the food. (That's pretty bad.)

I, Yvette, had such an experience the other night. My friend and I had a reservation at a neighborhood restaurant on the upper eastside, we chose it for the Moules Frites. We sat down and almost immediately a table of four across the room started staring at us. Had I left a roller in my hair or something?

In back of us, was a table of young people. Within two minutes we realized how loud they were. It was as if they were holding a contest to see who could scream the loudest. We were out of there 3 minutes later. The manager asked us why we were leaving, we said, "It's too loud." He just smiled. The hostess asked the same and apologized. As we opened the door she said, "I hope you come back." 

Do you say something? Yvonne said she would've complained to the manager, especially if she really liked the restaurant and didn't want to go dinner hunting. She then pointed out that she has a dear friend who speaks so loudly in restaurants, she rarely sees her. Yvonne said she never could bring herself to say to her friend, "Could you lower your voice, please?" That kind of request, Yvonne believes, never comes out sounding right from friend to friend. Does she complain to the manager? "No, you can't leave the table and complain to the manager that your friend is too loud." Once, Yvonne tried lowering her voice hoping that the woman would follow suit. Instead, she turned her voice volume on high. "I just gave up, ordered the quickest thing on the menu and cut the lunch short. I see her when it's warm and we can eat at a huge outdoor cafe."

As we passed the table who had been staring at my imaginary sponge roller, one of the women said, "We were looking at you because we wondered how long you were going to last at that table."

We ended up in a restaurant where it was evident that the other patrons, received the same lesson we'd received when we were young - when we raised our voices inside a public place such as a restaurant, our parents would put a finger their lips and say, "Shh, lower your voice."

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