12th January 2005

Scenario: The hostess at the neighborhood breakfast cafe is a very animated sort. While we speculate as to whether she is coked up at 10 a.m., she begins to chat with a couple from out of town. They are waiting for a table. This is a brief snippet of the 15-minute conversation they had until she seated them.

Hostess: So how’d you come across our little place?
Gentleman: Citysearch.

H: Really? That’s great! Great!

G: Yeah, it’s helpful.

H: Yeah! It certainly is! Although, you know, it’s rough with everyone commenting. You know? Anyone can comment.

G: I suppose.

H: Like, I had a couple of people go on there and say something like, “The hostess ruined our meal.” Can you believe?

G: Oh! That’s awful.

H: Yeah, like, “She seated two people who arrived after us.” I mean, come on! They were a party of six, so I had to wait until two tables opened up next to each other!

G: Of course!

H: That’s standard practice! They made it sound like I was out to get them. (nervous laugh)

G: How awful.

(Hostess holds up finger to indicate that she’ll be right back. She seats a few customers, then returns to chat more.)

H: Anyway, then they wrote, “She ruined my birthday.” I mean, tsk! Do I seem like the kind of person who’d set out to ruin someone’s birthday? I’m friendly! Or, I try to be friendly at least, don’t you think?

Gentleman and his wife nod vigorously.

H: Like maybe I didn’t sing happy birthday or something. But trust me, you don’t want to hear me sing. (nervous laugh) I’ll break the windows. (nervous laugh) Anyway, I try to do a good job, but there’s no pleasing some people. It’s too bad they can go out and just tell the world whatever they want.

G: I guess they should have some sort of screening process.

H: Really.