The other day when I read Max’s post about cell-phone use being banned in some restaurants on his Eat Arkansas blog, I thought, “Well, that’s nice.” But I’ve never been hugely inconvenienced by folks on cell-phones in restaurants much, although it seems to aggravate my husband mightily. And I find that my tolerance for such things is directly related to the amount of money I’m spending on the meal.
Well, you know how it is, once you’ve been made aware of something…buy a blue car, all of a sudden everyone seems to be driving a blue car. Get pregnant, the world seems to be populated entirely by females in the mid-to-late stages of gestation. You know the drill.
But still, it was timely to the point of being hilarious when, the very DAY that I’d told Alex about the Lilly’s/Trio’s cell-phone ban, and we’d discussed it, we experienced what inspired the ban first-hand at, of all places, the Dixie Cafe.
We love the Dixie Cafe, does our little family of three. For one thing, we usually go during quiet times, when service is good and the atmosphere is peaceful. Service is quick enough so that a 4-year-old does not get antsy, and besides, she’s provided with crayon-related activities. She also voluntarily chooses vegetables to eat at the DC. It’s not expensive. We love it.
On this Saturday afternoon, about 3:30 PM, we were seated at a booth in the back, in the quietest part of a quiet restaurant. We were the only ones in our section. Ironically, Alex actually made a 20-second cell-phone call, leaving a voice-mail for someone to whom we were attempting to leave a partial load of horse hay. But since we were the only ones there, and he has an exceptionally soft phone-voice, no harm.
And then, a party of two was seated across the aisle from us, presumably, based on what we overheard, a 30-ish woman and her grandmother. Just moments after placing their order, we were subjected to the following, at a volume that you wouldn’t believe even if this post had sound, so just trust me that it was inappropriately loud (We never actually heard the cell-phone ring, so it must have been set to vibrate, which we ALSO found highly ironic):
“OH, HEY. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” (pause)
“WE’RE AT THE DIXIE CAFE.” (pause) “THE DIXIE CAFE! WHY DON’T YOU COME ON OVER?” (pause)
“WELL, TURN AROUND AND COME BACK!” (pause)
“ARE YOU SURE? GRANNY’S PAYING.” (pause) “GRANNY’S PAYING! TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT, AND I’LL ORDER IT FOR YOU!” (pause) “I’M HAVING A HAMBURGER STEAK!” (pause) “WELL, I’M NOT REALLY ON A DIET…” (pause)
“ARE YOU SURE? WELL, OK, THEN, I’LL SEE YOU AT HOME!”
I’m sure there was more repetition to it than that, but I’ve spared you, out of love. I was surprised at the tension that left my body as this woman finally hung up her cell-phone. All of a sudden, the cell-phone ban seemed not only sensible, but critical to the survival of my sanity.
We were just finishing up our meal, having heard our dulcet-toned dinner companion hold forth on everything from how long each of her various tattoos took to ink, how much they hurt, and precisely how she wanted her root-beer float prepared, when…
“HEY! GUESS WHAT I’M DOING?” (brief pause) “ATKINS! YEAH, THE WHOLE MEAT-EGGS-CHEESE THING. BUT NOT REALLY, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE I’M ADDING IN A LITTLE BREAD AND STUFF.” (like root-beer floats)
This is where we made our departure, giving a look of heavy sympathy to the diners who’d been seated directly behind Extremely Loud Phone Lady just before we left. We could clearly hear every word of ELPL’s cell-phone conversation from our booth all the way to the hostess station and out the door, a distance of at least 60 feet. WOW.
Go, Lilly’s and Trio’s! REVOLUTION NOW! Also? Root-beer floats totally have carbs. Besides, if you’re at The Dixie Cafe, you’re supposed to be having blackberry cobbler with ice-cream. Everyone knows that.