One of the most uncomfortable occurrences I encounter is when a waiter is reciting the specials to me in a restaurant. I never know where to look. The server is always looking from person to person at the table, as is reasonable. I have to make eye contact when their eyes get around to me, but it feels creepy if I just stare the whole time in anticipation. Conversely, to look away for even a moment could mean they glance at me and think I’m not paying attention to them; that’s just rude. On top of my fears about how I am coming off I also spend the whole time waiting to see if my waiter will screw up and forget what he is supposed to say. It’s a tiny moment and the embarrassment might be minor but it adds to the tension in a way that throws me way off.
The other issue is blinking. It is as though in my efforts to quickly determine where to look, I sometimes forget to blink at all. If I overcompensate by blinking extra and remoistening my eyes too fast I risk looking psychotic or unreasonably emotional. I cannot appear to be crying over Ravioli Florentine; it’s delicious, but I cry for nothing less than seared scallops. My other option is to commit to the no blinking thing and just keep my eyes open for the long haul… always the wrong choice. If too much blinking is alarming, no blinking invokes sheer terror into the hearts of waitstaff.
Yet worst of all the concerns plaguing my mind is what facial expression to make. Blank is no good, it is on par with looking away and people will think you aren’t listening. I always want to strike the perfect balance between “I loathe you for interrupting my dinner conversation” and “did you say free yacht?!?!” I am convinced however that this happy medium is unattainable for me.
I very rarely end up hearing what any of the specials are and I order what I had decided on before more options were presented. This could all be avoided with a specials printout, I’ll make an exception about paper waste to spare myself and my waiter the agony of this brief but excruciating interaction.