Monday, April 24, 2006

The Saga of the Glass

Today Tiny and EZ were mightily beat down by their exam. We all love the professor who teaches their class, but EZ described the exam experienced as being akin to "being molested by your favorite uncle." I have this same professor for another class, so needless to say I am scared.

In their respective, devastated states it was decided that mediocre mexican food con alcohol was required. After waiting to be seated and waiting an interminable time to order, EZ is at long last presented with his Negra Modelo. The waitress sets down the beer and then begins to retract from the table having brought nothing else but the bottle with its jaunty lime hat. Though his back was to the waitress, I have no doubt she could feel the sheer power of EZ's sneer.

I could just see EZ's internal monologue: "Do I look like a man who would drink beer from a bottle?! I realize that this is beer, but it's at least Negra Modelo, and not Bud or Coors or even Pabst Blue Ribbon. For the love of God, this needs a glass!"

When the waitress returned an eon later with my and Tiny's drinks, EZ asked for a glass with as little distain as he could muster. Her internal monologue must have been: "Oh, he's one of those who requires a glass." And she scurried away.

In all fairness to EZ, the service industry in NOLA is seriously lacking. One can order San Pellegrino or other mineral water and the waitperson will invariably bring a table-sized bottle, sans glass. It's like they expect you to drink from the enormous bottle like you're a hillbilly swigging from a jug with three "X's" on it.

About this time we overhear the table next to us discussing "The Chronicles of Narnia" in which one Gucci wearing lady says to the other that "Peter was Jesus, and Aslan (the lion) was God." This causes EZ to pause holding his fork midway to his mouth in absolute disbelief. Ok, true that is appalling. As I'm sure you well know, "The Chronicles of Narnia" is pretty much the most transparently symbolic story in Christianity. The lion, who is betrayed and dies for the bad deeds of another, is killed by the evil witch and then resurrected. Ummmm, sound familiar? It's a good thing these ladies weren't faced with Plato's Allegory of the Cave.

At some point the waitress returned to refill the less than mediocre chips and notified EZ that his glass "was being chilled." At this point, EZ just wanted a glass and didn't give a damn if it was chilled or not. The waitress launches into some explanation about how she has asked the bartender to chill a glass, which involves a process of rinsing the glass with "cold water...because it's just not the same as ice, you know?" What the hell? EZ does not complain because now that he's in this far he can't merely demand the glass. It's either no glass or chilled glass. There is no middle ground.

This saga causes EZ to sulkily slouch down in his chair and chomp on his chips with malevolent indifference. I tell him that he reminds me of a Roman emporer, eating while reclined, and is displeased. EZ decides that being a Roman emporer would be a pretty sweet deal, because dammit, he would get his glass. And also have attractive servants to feed him.

At this point the waitress returns and says "Where is he? The one who wanted the glass?" Now mind you, EZ is sitting in the exact same spot he has always been in, with his back to her. This apparently made him invisible. I gesture towards EZ and then she somehow sees him and says "Ah, here's your glass."

She sets down the "chilled" glass. Which has not been popped in a freezer, but from its dripping wet condition it's clear that the bartender filled it with icewater which was then dumped out and brought to him -- which I believe is the process the waitress claimed they would *not* be using to chill the glass.

"Happy now?" I asked him thoroughly amused. EZ starts muttering angrily in French, no doubt about how Americans lack good table etiquette, and are gauche blah blah blah -- and hey, now that I think about it, it is kind of ironic that we live in the land so heavily influenced by France (i.e. NOLA) and that they have so thoroughly failed to transpose France's love of table settings and proper etiquette.

What's even better is that EZ is not actually French. He's an Oakie with a love of France, which makes the snobbery even more hillarious.

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