Thursday, November 23, 2006

High Maintenance People

I can kvetch and rant all you know, my friends, but one thing is certain, I am not and have never been a high maintenance person. I respect the unspoken rules of public behavior in restaurants and planes: that is, I behave. I don´t have unreasonable demands. I rarely even have demands. I don´t ask for as chef's salad without the egg and without the ham. I order what there is in the menu. I say please and thank you.
Not so some people I´ve unfortunately come across in the past few days.

Exhibit A: Lunch at the always fabulous Bar Pitti. I already know what I want before I set foot in the door: the mixed salad and the eggplant parmigiana (best in NY). That´s what I order. A well dressed, selfconscious woman takes a seat in the table next to me and begins an interrogation process of the waiter that would make Torquemada proud. She is a vegetarian. She asks him what he recommends. He says what. He probably likes the oxtail and the pig's feet best, but now he has to come up with some ersatz recommendation to please her. She asks if what he answered is made with chicken stock, because she is almost certain it is. He goes to the kitchen to find out. Lo and behold, it is. Then she asks him to name his very favorite item in the menu. People who ask this question of waiters should be executed on the spot. It is one thing to ask for a recommendation, and another to insinuate yourself into the personal psychic space of the waiter. He is not your friend. The waiter hums and haws and wavers. She insists he has to tell her his absolute total favorite. I think he does but this is not enough for her. She then proceeds to go through every single item written in the specials blackboard, parsing it as if she was reading the Talmud. The waiter is extremely professional and patient, because she uses a totally fake seductive little act to win him over. I want to strangle her. A patron that demands such an inordinate level of attention in a busy restaurant is an inconsiderate asshole. Then she asks me if I like my eggplant. I tell her it's divine. But she still can't make up her mind. AAAARGHHHH!

Exhibit B: A packed Delta plane to Mexico City. The humiliations those of us stupid enough to still fly Delta are a subject for a different, lengthy post. A well to do Mexican woman is traveling with her two daughters and she is up in arms because they sat all of them in separate seats. She is raising holy hell and I think she has a point until it turns out that the children are 13 and 15 years old. Now, I understand you want to seat next to your loved ones in case this is your last day on earth. But, if the kids are old enough and they are seating right in front of you, close by, you can choose to vent a little and then deal with it. Not so fast, my friends. After she gives the very cool stewardess a long, indignant speech, the stewardess comes back and offers her and one of her daughters two seats in the emergency row. The thirteen year old is not allowed to sit there and the seats don't recline. ¨It's Thanksgiving, lady¨, says the stewardess, ¨this is the best I can do for you¨. This woman does not consider this offer viable. It takes her quite a while to make up her mind, scream across the aisle to her daughter (who probably would rather sit away from Mommy Dearest at this point) and finally decides not to take it, then asking for corroboration and solidarity from her fellow, exhausted passengers about how bad and stupid is this airline and no wonder they are going bankrupt. Then a gentleman, probably tired of this drama, moves to another seat, so she can sit with her daughter, but another woman reacts first and grabs the seat. So she makes one guy move to another seat so she can be with her daughter. She finally sits down and as we all emit a collective sigh of relief, she starts again about how unbelievable it is that this happens to her. It is a miracle, ladies and gentlemen, that I managed to keep my mouth shut and not tell her to shut the fuck up already.

We live in a world that is crammed with people and it seems that the more crammed, the less people know how to behave.
The lack of personal space is an excuse to behave as if the world revolves around you and there is no one else in it.
I cannot stand high maintenance people. Is that clear?

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