Thursday, December 01, 2005


A less ebullient experience…

By now, David and I were clear in our mission – In this world of anonymity… people walk around plugged into iPods and cell phone, our Random Apps of Kindness were a way to break the invisible shield around people... a way to connect with strangers with a kind gesture.

We went to Eastern Standard for dinner. I had been there on a (less than auspicious) blind date. The guy was a bit of a goon, so I took great delight when the waitress first spilled wine and then sauce on his lap. My crispy roast chicken was juicy with tender spaetzle. Mushrooms were tossed with foie gras. And despite the awful date, I still enjoyed the restaurant!

David and I sat along the banquet. An interesting assortment of people sitting around us. A young couple tucking into their second round of Cosmopolitans. A middle age couple enjoying a light supper after work. We wondered if we had to bestow a random app every time we dined out? We decided that we should. An older couple, probably in their late 60’s sat down a few tables from us. The woman ordered liver and onions, and the man ordered Steak Frites. It was not clear if they were adventurous or conservative eaters. We took the waitress’s advice and sent them bacala fritters – a traditional Portuguese Salt Cod, made into fritters with potatoes and onions. The couple nodded graciously and then went back to their meal. The intrusion on their space seemed to outweigh the treat. It was not clear that this gesture was selfless.

Sounds as if the whimsy was gone in this scenario. You would think people in this day would receive such a gift and at least display a chuckle as to the awkwardness of the situation. I'd like to think that perhaps in this situation it was the food that was incorrect. Why would you ask a waitress what to send, and furthermore, why would you care what you sent? If you knew what they were eating, why not just choose something you find complementary? Or, for more fun, why not choose something completely opposite of what they ordered (as it would sound was the case here). If I were to eat out and have a beef-based dinner, I certainly wouldn't want something fish-based. I'd much prefer some type of carb. I think it would say more about you (the drive-by fooder) that you send something that catches your fancy rather than something else. If it's free, you would hope people would be more apt to take a risk and try something that perhaps they thought they wouldn't like. If in practice, they don't really like it - no love lost. Nice job as usual kids.
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