Ann Cannon: Dinner reservations, New Year’s resolutions

First Published      Last Updated Jan 02 2017 01:32 pm

I can't decide which is worse: being ignored or overly served at a restaurant.

Having the hostess shove you off into an isolated booth where your server can't see you unless you send off flares like parched survivors in a lifeboat on the high seas is no fun at all, of course. It brings back all kinds of unhappy memories of being the shy girl at the seventh-grade dance again.

You remember that dance, don't you?

The one you were so excited to attend, because it was your first school dance? How excited were you? So excited you even talked your mother into sewing you a new dress. A lime green one! With ruffles! And then you went to JCPenney downtown and bought a pair of fishnet stockings to go with your new dress (they were lime green, too) and also you bought a garter belt — your first! — to hold those lime green fishnets up.

You were dewy-eyed and so full of hope that night when you walked into the junior high school gym and heard somebody's big brother's band playing "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." You searched for that special boy in your math class — the one whose voice always cracked whenever the teacher called on him — and when you found him standing with a group of his friends, your heart lifted. It was only a matter of time before he asked you to dance with him.

Only he never did.

In fact, no one did.

You just stood there in the junior high gym, a lime-green island, entire unto yourself.

But that's not the point. The point is when you're paying good money to eat at a restaurant, you don't want to feel like a loser in lime green fishnet stockings again.

On the other hand, being paid too much attention while you're dining is also a problem.

Every holiday season my friend Sara and I treat ourselves to a We-Survived-Another-Year! dinner at a nice restaurant. Among other things (such as eating) we make a few resolutions for the year to come.

Anyway, this year we ate at a swanky place downtown where we were definitely NOT ignored. In fact, we could hardly eat our excellent food because people — our server, the server-in-training, the busboy, the chef, the sous-chef, the hostess, the manager, the owner, the owner's best friend, the owner's mother-in-law, the bank officer who loaned the owner the money to build his restaurant — kept asking how our meal was.

They'd shimmer past our table, hands clasped, and ask, "Is everything OK?" So then Sara and I would smile and nod because our mouths were full (smiling when your mouth is full of garlic mashed potatoes is v. hard, btw) and wait another two minutes for someone else to materialize.

It's not that I didn't appreciate the attention. It's just that I would have actually appreciated a chance to eat my meal before I was asked to fill out a report card and give it a grade. I felt like I was on "American Bandstand" being asked to rate a new song: "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it!"

But whatever.

I don't think I need to worry about being over- or underserved at a restaurant for a long, long time, because you know what my New Year's Resolution is? To stop eating. For the rest of my life.

This is the kind of resolution you make when you've done nothing but eat, eat, eat since Thanksgiving. So wish me luck.

And in return I'll wish you and yours a Happy New Year.

Ann Cannon can be reached at acannon@sltrib.com.