Sunday, September 03, 2017

Korean Cauliflower (the restaurant, part 2)

We were seated on the patio. The only place that could fit the 6 of us comfortably was the tall table just outside the door to the patio. We ensured that I was pulled into the table such that the door could open easily and that people could get passed me without difficult we did that.

Let me say again: we did that.

Then it all began. Our orders were taken and water was brought for all of us. This was a work luncheon so water was as hard core as anyone went. We chatted until the food came. One of the waitstaff was really, really, annoyed that I was where I was because she couldn't walk behind me to hand the plate of food to the person it was designated for, so she apologized. With an indication that I was in the way, she apologized for not being able to get around to the diner.

Now, we're all together. We all know and respect each other. We've worked on a project for a year and a half. They all work in the disability industry. The waitstaff didn't need to know the details and didn't of course, but she knew one important one. We were all together. We were part of a group. I was in that group. They get it. But instead of seeing the 'us-ness' of we who sat around the table, she chose to indicate that one of us, me, was out of place and taking too much space.

Then for the rest of lunch I discovered that I was a kind of 'asshole' test. Those who came and passed through the door without incident or without notice were truly fine, decent people. Those who exaggerated their movements to make it such that I was in their way, asshole. These people bumped into my chair, nearly fell over the chair, loudly complained about the chair. These people continued the message that I was not welcome. I was in the way. I was a nuisance.

Messages.

Messages.

Messages.

Exclusion is the only other option when inclusion is discarded. These are the people whose attitudes built institutions. Their behaviour chants: Congregate! Segregate! Persecute! Destroy.

But let me tell you what I think about that meal. "They don't serve Korean Cauliflower from institutional kitchens."

And I'm going to fucking keep it that way.

4 comments:

Shannon said...

I am wondering if you've ever come across a restaurant, or bar really, where all the tables are high and the chairs are high stools to go with the tables. I use a wheelchair and don't often feel unwelcome in a restaurant but a couple of summers ago I did - I went to a bar where every table on the first floor (the only accessible floor) was like that. The American disability law says there is supposed to be some regular height tables in this situation. The waitress was very apologetic and felt bad. I had a drink to see if the manager would come to talk to me as the waitress said he would. He did not and I asked twice. I did not have dinner as nowhere to eat comfortably so they lost money. Maybe afraid of being sued? I did not want to sue. I wanted to make him aware of the situation so that it might be remedied - I am sure a few lower tables (which apparently existed on the 2nd floor) could be brought in, no furniture was nailed to the floor.

clairesmum said...

not how I expected part 2 to read....glad you have added another 'skill' to your abilities...I wonder if LinkedIn has a key word for
'asshat detector' as a selection!

L said...

Dave, I went out to dinner tonight, and thought about what you would have said about some of it.

My SO treated me to a dinner tonight - his birthday present to me.

We went to a cheap-ish Chinese restaurant that I'd chosen because it looked interesting and the tripadvisor website said it was wheelchair accessible.

It was mostly pleasant (although there was a bit of awkwardness negotiating with the staff for enough room for my powerchair, they had to take another table away to create space, which they were a bit grumpy about), but one of the waitresses got grumpy at me when I asked about ingredients I'm allergic or intolerant to and whether they'd be in dishes X, Y, Z.

"Chinese cooking never contains dairy or cinnamon" she scolded me, in a tone that suggested I was an idiot for worrying about it. "Any of the vegetable dishes are dairy free". Except then I read the very small print on the menu, and the broccoli with almonds was cooked in butter, so her advice was not accurate.

The weirdest thing was when I asked if the spring rolls were gluten free, and they were, and I said "Okay, I'd like two serves of spring rolls, I never get to eat spring rolls, because they almost always have gluten in them."

"You only need one serve!" she scolded me in an angry voice, as if I was a naughty child asking for more than my fair share. "Each serve has four spring rolls!"

Now, I had already read on the menu that each serve contained four spring rolls. I was, in fact, pointing to spring rolls on the menu as I ordered them, and it said right there that there were four spring rolls.

I got the distinct impression she was scolding me like that because I was
a) a fat woman and
b) a wheelchair user.

I ended up ordering one serve of spring rolls from bossy-boots-waitress, and then immediately ordering a second serve of spring rolls from the next waitress to walk past...

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

We need to have cameras - very small movie cameras - following you around all the time.

You need to go video with all these things - words are great, but sometimes (rarely) video is better. Your own Youtube channel to start.

Then we need to get you into ads so you're more famous than in the way.

Honestly. Do these people ever THINK?

If you were THEIR mom or dad or child, they'd have to think.