I was a waiter once, back in the day. I feel a certain kinship with waiters, and always give them the benefit of the doubt.
But when I’m by myself in a restaurant, please . . . just leave me alone to read my book and eat my dinner in peace.
Sure, it might just be the milk of human kindness– or it might be a desire for a tip. But every time I eat alone these days, the wait staff annoyingly gloms on to me, asking what I’m reading and making irritating chitchat when I ‘m just trying to read and eat my dinner. It makes the dinner intensely irksome. I don’t want to hear what waiter X has to say — I just want to read my book.
Here’s a tip for the wait staff. Sometimes, at least, the solitary diner with a book isn’t lonely and craving your company. They just want to read. Leave us alone, already!
Recently, signs like this one have been cropping up around German Village. In these troubled times, they express a worthy and noble sentiment that I wholeheartedly endorse. Yet I feel that the message is somehow . . . incomplete.
I’m perfectly happy to live next door to anybody, no matter where they are from, what they look like, where they work, their religion, national origin, or sexual orientation, or for that matter what they do with their lives. If they’re willing to live next to the likes of me, I’m willing to live next to them. My focus, instead, is much more narrow and admittedly self-interested. I only want to know whether they will perform very basic property maintenance — mow the grass, weed from time to time, not put a crappy couch on the front porch, slap some paint where it’s needed — keep their dogs from barking and biting, and not be obnoxious, intrusive, or noisy at 3 a.m. when I’m trying to sleep..In my view, these are the acid tests of neighborliness — the straightforward, but crucial, measuring points on the good neighbor scale of behavior.
So I think I would amend the sign as follows: No matter where you are from, so long as you keep your place up and keep the noise down we’re glad you’re our neighbors.