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Ward's World: My ‘maya-noisy’ eating horrors

By Spalding Today Columnist

I wrote recently about my experience in a restaurant with the ‘techno family from hell’ – or rather their dining display that involved more input from their mobile devices that they played with during their supposed eating experience, as myself and friend witnessed it all.

While I thought our session was perhaps – I had hoped – an isolated incident, it seems my hopes have been dashed as others have also had much the same goings-on as they go out to enjoy a meal in expected quiet (?) surroundings, only to be disturbed by constant chatter on mobiles plus photo taking of their meal in front of them in various stages of being digested as they ‘update’ the process on their social media malarkey.

John Ward (12107610)
John Ward (12107610)

One encounter I will share that came from one disgruntled diner and his wife, who sat near a ‘family’ who were preoccupied with playing with their mobile phones, as the family of four – two adults and two supposed children – sat and talked into their devices or swiped screens as their food, that had been served hot, was now tepid, with the father figure getting up to drag the waitress over to tell her their meals were ‘stone cold’ and he was ‘upset’ by it.

However salvation was at hand as the manager was called. He’d observed them from their arrival plus ordering times, meals being served on the table and their complaint as he then pointed out a quarter-of-an-hour or so was spent playing about with their devices instead of eating their meals. So that was perhaps why they were cold.

The father figure then ranted in reply it was a ‘free country and he could do what he liked’. He had ordered hot food but it was served tepid and no way was he or his family on their phones as reckoned by the quietly listening manager.

The manager then suggested perhaps a look at the CCTV recording of the restaurant dining area might be worth a look if he would care to go to the office to view. Father figure then asked if the meals could be put in a microwave oven to ‘warm them up’ as there might well be a misunderstanding as he blamed one of the children as being the cause of it all – so possibly proving that children can or do have their uses at awkward moments.

Another victim suggested there should be a check-in cupboard or lead-lined room for mobile devices (with their owners?) on entering such premises where, possibly, the main aim is to enjoy a meal in peace without hearing mindless, unimportant clap-trap on devices being used by other diners – but if the popular excuse of ‘I need my mobile as I am expecting a life or death call at any moment’ then why are they out supposedly socialising?

Another sick-to-the-teeth-of-it-all person commented that if any eatery owner is wondering why there is a decline in customers, possibly this glaring observation might be a clue as, years ago, you went out to enjoy a meal with possibly worthwhile and meaningful conversation – as opposed to nowadays sitting at the same table texting one another to possibly use up their ‘free’ inclusive text bundles to get their money’s worth.

Since my original bit on the subject I have been out into the fray to another eatery and, to be honest, it was looking good – and sound free – until dad and three offspring arrived as “Armageddon : 2 - The Awakening” began yet again as another ‘family from hell, two doors down’ sat down.

Dad told them what they, collectively, were going to eat or play with after speed reading the menu. Everybody was drinking cola, although Zirkon, or whatever his name is, HAD to have the market leading brand or ‘nuffin’ as he could not drink anything else – like you do when you are of a certain height and stature.

The waitress came to take their order – the food or ration requirements of a month’s climb up Mount Everest might have been smaller – plus minor interjections from the Minimum Three like ‘I want me chips done real dark burnt like mum does ‘em to the thought-provoking: ‘There ain’t no bones in the fruit pie n ice cream for afters is there, missis?’ I realised I had led a sheltered life up until that point.

For endurance the waitress got a gold medal in my books as she filled up five pages of her order pad with assorted flicking backwards and forwards as the Minimum Three kept changing their minds. No sooner had one ordered something, another changed his mind, then the other one followed suit – considering their age range and mentality, it’s a fair bet they were possibly involved in the Brexit ‘negotiations’ but with the probability of a better outcome, hopefully.

The waitress supplied four sets of cutlery for the table but one could not help thinking that these must have seemed like jewellery, or similar artefacts, to the Minimum Three as they basically played with them but none of them seemed to know which side the knives and forks went.

Considering their supposed age range, deplorable upbringing in this day and age, you can’t blame schools for that as it’s just a basic, family learnt requirement.

Their food arrived but, regardless of what the meal was, they all required, or asked for, tomato ketchup to go with it although one small food connoisseur required ‘some of that maya-noise stuff, missis’ although he had to make do with a sachet of mayonnaise instead.

Then it turned into a circus as food was thrown from one to another, the ketchup was squirted in all directions as they basically sat and painted or sprayed their food like a circus/zoo chimps tea party.

But dad was ‘in control’ as he told them to ‘behave’ in between speaking to somebody on his mobile or updating on social media with a photo of Zirkon, by now covered in ketchup – oh, doesn’t he look funny?

Once playtime, or the ‘meals’, were over, dad went to the toilet as one of the Minimum Three asked him if they could stop off at a well-known fast food outlet on the way home!

The mess left behind was wasteful in food and money. They’d perhaps be better off with a few tins of water-based paint, plus a few brushes, then let loose – then a takeaway on the way home, with possibly the only thing missing Sir David Attenborough’s voice-over.

We are told not to waste food – in some parts of the world, starvation is rife – but am I missing something? Don’t say ‘that maya-noise stuff’!


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