Tag Archives: Society

The Cougher – Or – How to Annoy & Infect Other Diners

It’s turned into an annual thing for me and my friends Annie and Martina to go to a 5-star restaurant for Restaurant Week. We look forward to this. Seldom would we choose to eat at a 5-star restaurant when we go out for our girlie meals unless it’s a special occasion. This year it was no different.

We chose the place we’d wanted to go last year but couldn’t get reservations. None of us had ever eaten there and we were quite excited as we prepared for the night out. This is an elegant and well-established place in San Diego. As such, it calls for proper attire. It also calls for a certain level of decorum. Now, I haven’t ranted on here for awhile but clearly some things need to be spelled out to the general public.

For instance, whether you go on their website or not, most people know dinner at a 5-star calls for proper attire. Proper attire┬ámeans proper attire. One assumes the basic principles of dressing are understood. You wouldn’t, say, dress for dinner in something you’d wear to a ballgame, right? I wore a velvet skirt with a few sequins here and there, and I carried The Prada, which seldom makes an appearance because I’m afraid something will spill on it. This was quite an event, after all.

In addition, once in the establishment, rules of decorum at the table should also be followed. Presumably people surrounding you at a 5-star restaurant weren’t raised with cattle inside of a barn. They know how to behave, yes?

No.

We were quietly enjoying our meal (and the sensational views) when the table to the west of us was seated. I took immediate notice because they hadn’t dressed for dinner. They dressed for, say, a Padres game or a backyard barbecue. This annoyed me because this restaurant was the special occasion place my mom used to come on dates (for dinner and dancing!) in the ’70s. I’m old-fashioned. It grated on me to see them in their blue jeans and tennis shoes in a place with such a fine pedigree.

As the meal wore on, I tried to not pay much attention to them. Annie, however, was given no choice. Remember when I assumed they weren’t raised in a barn? Well, never assume… The woman at the table was seated with two men. Her back was to Annie’s right elbow. Yet for some reason she would whip around and hack and sputter on my dear friend every few minutes. Apparently she had a cough…

The Cougher found nothing amiss with her behavior. In fact, towards the end of our meal The Cougher’s hacks were becoming more frequent. Annie and Martina had discussed it across the table and I am certain The Cougher or her companions heard their dissatisfaction with her conduct. At one point, as I was already gaping, The Cougher whipped around, hacked into the side of Annie’s face and then grinned over at me, admiring her handiwork. Then she ogled our now tainted desserts.

The three of us began hissing like cats in a bag. The Cougher seemed to find this even more fascinating because she kicked up her coughs a notch. The Hillbilly directly in front of me could sense our irritation but did nothing to dissuade this creature from continuing to turn her head on our party to hack.

Had we not been settling the bill right then, I think one of us would have said something to our delightful server. I’m horrified to think that The Cougher couldn’t figure it out on her own – or she figured it out and decided to be a bitch. Either way, in polite society, one covers their mouth when coughing – regardless of the location. We could have been at a ballgame and I’d still be ranting. Cover your damn mouth!

My mom (hardcore German) would have been appalled. She’d likely have leaned over and said, “Oh, so you have a cough? I see you’ve a napkin on your lap. Why not make use of that, tilt your head down and cough into it?” That would have been the ladylike thing to do. It is what most people afflicted with a chest cold would do. Instead this tart found nothing wrong with craning about and coughing like a demented barn owl hacking up rat bones.

We didn’t let it spoil our mood. We rose above her tacky behavior and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening. So far none of us have gotten sick.

Point being, dear readers, when you’re out, please attempt to be polite to those around you. It’s what separates us from the monkeys at the zoo who throw their own feces…

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