I think we need to talk about a problem that bids fair to end life in America as we know it, especially on weekends, especially at times when we choose to dine out.
Friends and neighbors, and friends of neighbors, I speak today of a real nationwide problem. There seems to be a shortage of plates in the diners and dining halls and finer restaurants in America.
How else to explain that I am still eating my food and some 17-year-old busboy dives in from the left, much like Ed Reed going for a deflection interception, and grabs my plate as he says, "Can I take that away for you?"
"Son, I ain't finished yet," is my standard reply. See, I am a slow eater. Oh, I can gobble when the situation calls for it. Was a time when I got 1/2 an hour for lunch, and you deduct from that 3 minutes to nuke a Stouffer's lo-cal tuna surprise, and by the time I sat down to chow down, it was either gobble or go hungry. And you know how I voted on that one!
So, a lot of times when we're eating out on real plates, I will linger over my few remaining scraps, maybe sop up some sauce with bread, or spear one more broccoli spear. It's hard to do that when I have to be vigilant, lest young Fisher or Hunter or Sailor make his move and snatch the platter from in front of me. Peggy is always great about this, and pleasantly tells the young man that I am not ready to relinquish the crockery, but it unnerves me to think that someone over near where it used to be the smoking section has to wait for his club sandwich because I am still using the plate they would put it on, if only I'd give it up.
And that's not nearly as much fun.