(Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons)
This afternoon our team decided to lunch at a Food Court famous for its Chinese delicacies. While we anticipated that there would be a long wait and were ready for it, what we were not prepared for was a shockingly inconsiderate and insensitive attitude shamelessly displayed by diners who had preceded us and had the run of the table.
I wish to dwell – as an illustrative example – upon one table that had three occupants. Since they were on the verge of finishing their lunch, my friend and I took our places at a respectable and strategic distance either side of the table. We expected to be seated within the next five to seven minutes. The food must have been really scrumptious because all three plates were licked clean with only the bones left as evidence of consumption!
But much to our chagrin and bewilderment, neither the two gentleman nor the lady showed even the remotest signs of finishing their post-lunch siesta. Choosing to completely ignore two hungry – and by this time angry too – souls restlessly shifting their soles, the three contended and satiated souls went on laughing, frowning, guffawing, whispering and occasionally finding the time to pick their teeth. The topic under discussion must have been so pressing so as to affect international diplomatic relations or so trivial as to veer towards the asinine. Totally fed up with such intransigence and incivility, both my friend and I decided to demonstrate the dark side of our patient selves. We looked straight into the eyes of the offending troika whenever they locked into ours and shot derisive and furious stares at them. Alas our penetrating gazes were more water off a duck’s back than shooting silver daggers!
By now the queue had also considerably lengthened and the number of famished souls looking for a place was akin to a swarm of bees humming to get to their hive. The decibel level at the food court now reached alarming and ear drum rupturing proportions. But none of these facts had even the slightest impact or influence on the three debaters. They either had a permanent and lifelong right over the table or their ample posteriors were glued to the seats from which they could be separated only by taking recourse to professional help. But their condescendingly happy faces revealed that the latter could not have been the case.
Finally, courtesy four Good Samaritans at an adjoining table we were able to finally seat ourselves. But unfortunately the plight which we were forced to endure befell the next set of hapless eaters. A poor man balancing a steaming hot cup of tea in one hand a sheaf of papers tucked under the other looked as if he was ready to be even imprisoned for committing murder. Fortunately, he was saved from such a dangerous scenario when the three stubborn idiots finally pushed back their chairs, heaved their heavy and pompous posteriors and ambled away. I had half a mind to give them a standing ovation followed by three tight slaps on all their cheeks! From its ugly beginning to its ungainly end the drama lasted close to an hour– yes you read that right – 60 bloody minutes!
(Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons)
What has been set out thus far, rather than being an isolated incident, is an occurrence than plays itself out with increasing regularity and irritating frequency across a multitude of food courts. Hence with a view to obliterating this uncivil behavior I propose the following 10 rules to be enforced at Food Courts so that discipline that has not been inculcated gets forcibly enforced. Under these rules the stringency of the rule is linear to the postprandial time spent by the offenders at the table:
- People sitting for > 7 minutes would be necessarily required to pay for double the amount of the food that they have consumed. This would exclude taxes, surcharges and cess which would be an additional levy;
- People sitting for > 10 minutes would be required to pay for the bills of those who are seated at tables to their left, right, front and back;
- People sitting for > 15 minutes would be foisted with the responsibility of washing cutlery for the exact number of time which they spent in deliberations post consuming their food. Hence the cutlery washing would occupy a minimum of 15 minutes;
- People sitting for > 30 minutes would have their photographs taken and affixed/pasted/nailed/glued to the walls of the Food Court with their impropriety detailed out in BELL MT FONT SIZE 13 below their pictures. This photograph would be displayed for 30 days succeeding the day on which the offense was committed;
- People sitting for > 45 minutes would be permanently barred from entering the said Food Court and would be given a Badge of Dishonour. This Badge of Dishonour would be displayed at the entrance to the Food Court for a period of 6 months succeeding the day on which the offense was committed;
- All these rules would be displayed on every table, at every shop in the Food Court and at the entrance of the Food Court itself in English as well as every regional language and dialect that is the preserve of the region where the Food Court is located;
While the aforementioned ‘rules’ are a mere figment of my imagination and purely intended to be a humorous exposition, I seriously and desperately hope that a modicum of sense and sensibility possesses the one kind of people who seem to be under the impression that the practice of civility is purely optional.