29 August 2008

29Aug-"I'd like to return this 'closed' sign. doesn't seem to work."
I think I am of, at least, average intelligence. I did okay in school. I know a variety of things. I'm not particularly good at doing math in my head but I enjoy crossword puzzles.
If i were visiting a restaurant during peak lunch hours and encountered a chain stretched across the parking lot I'd like to think I'd make the leap in logic that they're closed. But let's say I thought maybe the restaurant somehow managed to forget to take the chain down, so I continue to the front door, through which I could see a lit sign that said "Closed." I'd turn around and try somewhere else. But maybe, silly them, the restaurant forgot to turn the sign, too, so I might go in and see the "closed" sign on an easel in the lobby. Me? I'd figure they're closed. But maybe that's somehow a mistake, too, so I might walk into a restaurant and find no customers (even at 12.30), cases of beer and wine on the floor, television blaring in the kitchen, and a young man in a tshirt walking by carrying, not a tray of food, but a box filled with folded up cardboard. I would say, "Oh, pardon. I thought you were open." I would like to think, with my average intelligence, that I'd have figured out by this point that the restaurant is closed. Why do so many people, two today, stride merrily past this gauntlet of closed signs and signs of being closed and ask with confusion, "Are you open?"
I refuse to think it's an intelligence thing. It can't be. These people are allowed to drive cars. I had a guy in scrubs come in to find roughly the scenario stated before but, rather than me walking by, I was reading a magazine at the bar and my brother was napping on a booth. Still, he asked if we were open. I can only assume the man wore scrubs because he was in the medical field, one usually reserved for people of above average intelligence, or discipline, at least. Unless he stole them to wear as a disguise to get past the orderlies.

I think, to a certain degree, some people don't think we should be closed so they don't understand how we could be closed. Of the two people who came in today, the first I politely (always politely) told that we are only open for dinner. "So you're not open for lunch." Lunch-unch-unch, her voice seemed to echo, rolling back from the canyons of empty booths. No, I'm sorry. Only for dinner. Her companion asked "Is this always the case?"
The second person who managed to ignore the chain, the two closed signs, the empty restaurant and delivery day clutter and ask if we were open told me, after I said that we're only open for dinner, that her daughter had just graduated boot camp, wanted Thai food and hadn't eaten in something like ten days. Then she stood, with a smile on her face and an expectant pause. I swear to God, I really think she expected me to say, "Oh, well come on in then. Pardon the mess." I considered engaging in a blank smiling contest to see who would speak next but writing this entry is taking up the only free half-hour I've had since 8 this morning so I sped things up by saying brightly, "Oh, well congratulations to your daughter." Which I did truly mean. I hear boot camp is a bitch.

Maybe we should have a Burma Shave style sign process that begins at the chain. "We're closed." "Seriously." "Not open" "Cerrado" "Ferme" "What are you doing?" "Seriously?" "Gas leak" "Gone Fishin'"

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