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About illness

In Which I Go To Dinner and Experience a Bizarre Situation

Obviously, I don’t get to go out for dinner much. When I do (this is the Dress Thing all over again), I really really hope it will be lovely. So I chose a restaurant I’ve been to lots before, thinking it’d be a safe bet.

The purpose of this post is not to bitch terrible service (though I’m doing that too), it has a wider message, so please bear with me while I tell the story.

We made a booking for 6.30pm. We ordered around about 7, the food came about 7.45. All great, as usual. We were halfway through eating when the waitperson interrupted us to tell us that the table was reserved for another party at 8pm, so could we hurry up please?

We were a bit nonplussed, but dutifully finished our food. At a little past 8, she arrives again and asks us to leave, stating that we were told on arrival that the table was needed at 8. I (yes, me, I must be getting brave – or maybe I was just pissed off) – piped up and said, actually we were not told that, and we haven’t even finished our drinks. She responded: “Yes, you were told. Sorry.” And continued to stand there.

We all looked around at each other, feeling quite taken aback and unsure about what to do with the drinks we had paid for and were halfway through – not to mention the dessert we had been anticipating ordering! We asked if we were allowed to move to an outdoor table, and she sighed and agreed. As we filed out past her, she said “Feel the love guys!” (It’s a very laid-back vegetarian restaurant. Well, it’s supposed to be laid-back).

Needless to say, we were not “feeling the love.” My face clearly reflected this, and as I went past her, she reached out and stroked my arm vigorously and said: “It’ll be ok love, you have a good night now.”

Considering the day I had had, my inability to filter right now, and the fact that she had just ruined my “good night,” I’m really surprised I managed to not respond with a few words of my own – one, because her tone was so patronising and totally invalidated my normal adult response to being treated terribly, and two, because she touched me.

I do not like strangers touching me. I barely like it when my friends touch me. Touching people without asking, in any way, is not ok. It can be a trigger, it can create an unwanted connection, it can cause pain – my skin is incredibly sensitive due to my illness, on top of everything else. I know some people are touchy people, and it is a spontaneous gesture, but please – think about it before you do it.

You have no idea what effect it may have.

(To top things off, when we popped back inside 20 minutes later to pay – our supposedly in demand table was empty.

I won’t be going back.)

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About writehandedgirl

Sarah is a writer who is passionate about social justice, feminism, politics, and cats. She is a columnist and poet and currently lives in Nelson. You can follow Sarah on Twitter (@writehandedgirl) or read more of her writing at writehanded.org

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