As the months have gone by restaurants which have been able to weather the Coronavirus cocoon have emerged into a newly established safe place where mask-wearing patrons can, like they used to, enjoy a meal out with loved ones and friends.  But despite the restaurant name being the same and the menu similar, there are some changes to the overall dining experience that may just be here to stay… 
The most obvious changes are the ones everyone can see, like servers who wear facemasks, tables which are appropriately distanced from one another, paper menus and bottles of sanitizer everywhere.  Signs which used to list beers on tap or happy hour specialty cocktails have been replaced with signs which require the use of facemasks when getting up from your table and hours which have been readjusted to reflect actual hours open.
For patrons, these changes seem minor as being able to not shop, not cook, have to wash dishes or dine with people who are different than the same people you have been forced to quarantine with for the past six months, make the dining out experience SPECTACULAR.  Being seated at a table, in public, where you get to remove your facemask in order to enjoy delicious food someone else had to prepare makes a limited menu with higher prices seem fantastic.  But for the server, their sentiment may not be the same…
Since restaurant patrons are free to be out in public and apply sticky lip gloss to their now visible lips, they are happy to linger.  Servers are hard workers who rely on tips, but now since they are wearing upper lip sweat inducing facemasks and pantomiming friendly responses to the few tables they get, they want patrons to leave quickly.  And thus begins the battle of servers asking to clear your plate way before you may have actually finished eating…
I don’t blame the servers, really.  I would feel the same way, but lately, when I am fortunate enough to get to enjoy a meal out, I find that I treasure my fork, not ever wanting to rest it on my plate for an eating break out of fear that somewhere, when I least expect it, a server is going to come by and try and grab my plate asking me, or perhaps telling me, ‘You are all set with that.’  I respond almost as forcibly, ‘I am still working on it’.  But when it happens again, and to my dining companion who says, ‘Sure. You can take it.’  I feel like a gluttonous pig if I keep eating.  Plus, no one likes to be the only one at the table who has a plate of food.  It’s why we wait for everyone to be served before beginning to eat.  It’s just bad manners.
So, servers, I implore you, please wait for everyone at the table to finish eating before you clear dirty dishes because we waited a long time before we could come back to your fine establishment and now … we want to enjoy it!
Finished? Finished?
Kathy Naumann, possessor of NATURALLY curly hair and the understanding that you can’t control everything!


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