Because I had a yen for mediocre barbecue, a friend and I were dining at the epitome of NYC eatery, Dallas BBQ (metro NYC dwellers familiar with the chain are giggling at that statement right now, if that’s any hint). A woman, who looked to be my physical age, but may have been older given allowance for the “crack factor” was sitting at nearby table with her dining companion. As he went to go feed the meter, she had a sudden outburst of several panicked “Oh no!”s, while frantically searching her purse, her coat pockets and the table for something clearly important. After a few moments she points at a busboy with an accusatory “He took it! I know he took it!”.
Was it a ring, her wallet, credit/debit cards or even cash? No, it was her teeth.
Yes, you read that correctly. Her teeth.
As her decibel and tear levels increase, it is learned that it was her birthday and she had removed her teeth while she dined, placing them on the table beside her plate, wrapped up in paper napkins. Personally, I never quite understood the point of removing one’s dentures, bridgework et cetera in order to eat. I mean, isn’t the point of most dentistry is to provide the wearer the ability to masticate one’s food, but I digress. According to her, while waiting for “doggie bags” (and as my dinner companion asked “Who says that anymore?”), the busboy cleared the remaining refuse on the table, thereby trashing the at first valued at $500, but by event’s end increased to $700 in orthodontics.
Clearly when being taught Table Clean-Up 101, the busboys missed the section that states they must carefully inspect every single piece of balled-up tissue or napkin discarded at a dinner table for possible teeth, because the owners of said teeth are not responsible for their belongings. Essentially, she accused the man of doing his job – that bastard! She was in turns having a pouting, table pounding, smack condiments to the floor in frustration, foot stomping, with intermittent outcries of “My teeth!” hissy fit.
Her dinner companion addressed her as “Ma”, as in a poignant, earnest, but definitely loud request to “Chill the fuck out Ma!” as her wailing increased. Attempting to gauge his age in comparison to hers, in order to determine whether “Ma” was a title or a term of endearment was never established. The woman was just short of keening for her lost teeth, much to the amusement of a table of four twenty-mid-twenty-somethings, all of whom pulled out their respective cell phones to record the proceedings as managers and other wait staff were pulled into the melodrama.
All this time I was facing the events, doing my best to not start outright laughing in the woman’s presence, even if I could barely keep a straight face of my own. Some forty-five minutes later, the birthday girl and her dinner companion leave the restaurant, still distraught over the loss, but with their meal comped for their troubles. It was the general consensus of my dining companion that the point of the entire production was getting the meal comped. While I not necessarily agree to that in regard to the lost teeth, it was clearly the intent of a woman who sat a table over from the going-ons, claiming the event upset her so, she suffered loss of appetite and she and her dinner companion should be compensated for such. The beleaguered manager, understandably flustered from the craziness, was not hearing it.
My friend looked me dead in the eye and proclaimed she did not care how desperate I wanted ribs, we were never stepping foot in that place again. Can’t say that I blamed her. After all, if hjbvl c this was a simple rainy Wednesday evening, early dinner crowd can you imagine the shenanigans on a Friday? During Happy Hour?
On the second thought, don’t.