Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Mrs. C and I went to dinner tonight, “Bonefish”, a nice chain restaurant with good food at a fair price. I like to go out to dinner and we do so several times a week as Mrs. C does not like to cook and she works three nights a week.
Bonefish has a nice relaxed atmosphere.
The restaurant was not yet very crowded. We were seated right behind a large table with three adults and 8 children age 2 to about 8. I know restaurants often try and sit people at less desirable tables first, and this table was clearly less desirable as the children were…children. Not especially ill-mannered, but children.
In my older cranky age, I generally will ask for a different table if any are available, and there were clearly other choices. In this case I said nothing. The three adults and the eight children were African American.
If they were white I would not have hesitated to ask for a different table, but reverse discrimination kicked in. Would people think I was prejudiced because I asked to sit away from a table of African Americans?
We took our seats.
“I should ask to move to a quieter space, I come here to relax…if I wanted kids and agita, I could go out to eat with my Grandchildren!”
“The other section might not have a waitress and they can’t seat us there.”
Then I got bumped from behind by a child running around the table; and again, by one going to the bathroom.
“I’m asking for a different table.”
As I was going up to the hostess to ask for a different table, a couple walked in before me, and they were taken to the table I was going to ask for. As they were being seated I followed and gave Mrs. C the stink eye.
Then the manager came up to me.
“May I help you?”
Oh crap, the manager was African American.
“Oh, I was just hoping to be seated at a different table.”
“Is there a problem?”
“No, just there are other tables and we were seated next to a large group of children…they are not being bad, but they are children and there are other tables.”
“The table over there?” As he glanced at the African American party of eleven.
“Hmmm, I see…we will find a different table for you.”
“I don’t really mean to complain, but…”
“It’s all right sir, I completely understand.”
We moved several tables away and truth be told at this point the table of children was acting a bit bratty and extra loud. They were a still little disturbing, but at least I was not being bumped.
As we were finishing an appetizer and the restaurant was filling up I confessed,
“I feel a little guilty, the manager gave me one of those looks; the ‘Yes sir, we can find your bigoted ass another table; wouldn’t want you to have to sit near Black Folk’ Look. I just didn’t want to sit next to kids, if I’m prejudiced, it is against little children.”
As I was voicing my remorse and having a Larry David moment (“Curb Your Enthusiasm” fans will understand) another couple was seated behind the table of children. And we overheard them,
“Ah, do you think we could we sit at another table?”
“I’m very sorry, this is the last table for now.”
“That’s ok, we’ll wait.”
I turned around to see this couple that also did not want to sit next to a troop of children.
It was a middle age couple.
They were African American.