Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Pet Peeves of the Day:

"Would you like to keep your fork?" -- "Casual dining" restraunts are pretty terrible. I tend to feel that no one should ever eat at them; I can't call them ridiculous rip-offs, but they charge a pretty high price for very mediocre fare. "Would you like a multimillion dollar advertising campaign with your $12.99 burger, fries, and soda?"

Those ad campaigns must be plenty expensive, because it seems they cannot afford to purchase and clean enough flatware. Health-nut that I am, if roped into dining at a Red Robin or Chili's, I usually make the mistake of ordering a salad before what passes for an entree. And, by salad, I mean a pile of pre-chopped lettuce with some shredded carrots, like what you'd buy in a bag from Safeway. To make it fancy, Red Robin even adds some shredded corn chips to the top of the thing. WOW! Of course, with this salad, I'm required to use my fork, and of course there's only one at the table.

Here's the rub: when the server comes to collect the salad plate, she inevitably asks, "would you like to keep your fork?" What? No, I would like for you to take my now dirty fork and supply me with a shiny clean one! Is that really, really too much to ask these days? I promise, I'm not even going to keep it after the meal. You can have it back. And, if I make the mistake of ordering dessert, I'm going to go out on a limb here and ask for another fork. A clean one. That's right, folks, it could be up to three, three, three forks in the course of a single meal! Can you handle it?

One final thing that makes the tip go out the window: "Would you like more water?" I drank the first one, didn't I? It's water. It comes from the faucet by the soda fountain. In the amount of time it took you to ask me that question, you could have simply refilled it. I recognize that mother earth may be dying a little bit more with that wasted pint of water, but I would still really appreciate it.

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Also: Frost. Not just frosty the snowman, but that layer of shiny stuff that appears on the road in the cold of night. I realize I'm being a bit excessive in complaining about a little ice slick, what with Colorado and all, but seriously, this is getting old. In the lovely Cascadia, freezing temperatures during the day are pretty rare, usually limited to one or two odd weeks in the winter, which, I suppose, this is.

But frost makes what would otherwise be a beautiful, sunny day in the upper-30's a really good way for operators of two-wheeled vehicles to get themselves killed. The shadows of corners and bicycle lines and trails and road shoulders stay in bed with the snowman long after the main roads have cleared up. When you're going down a hill at 30 miles an hour, and you can hear the slight rushing noise of your tires cutting through the frost, it's a little disconcerting.

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