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Personal Blog #4: Take your seat at the table | April 7, 2010

As I have stated in blogs before, I am a fat kid at heart. I would rather cook at home than eat out. Occasionally, I get lazy and don’t want to cook at home. So I gussy myself up and treat myself to an evening out with friends at a good restaurant.

Saturday night, April 3rd. Founding Farmers Restaurant

The night was warm, the air smelled of aromatic food and The Heights was filled with way too many loud, gregarious young professionals. The place was packed, the wait was long and the only alternative was the “Communal Table.”

Never having the Communal Table experience and hungry as a hostage, my friends and I elected to share the communal table.  The communal table is a long, oversized, banquet table in the middle of the restaurant. Multiple parties of complete strangers are seated at this table and asked to break bread at the same table.  “Talk about awkward!”

The communal table might work in most countries were the population doesn’t have a wide personal space requirement, but here in the good ol’ US of A this is not the case. Setting next to strangers causes a recoil response. I was very self-conscience about where I sat, giving more space between I and the stranger to my right. The experience took me back to the High School cafeteria, where your clique established the table they would not share with outsiders.  I felt as though I was in another group’s territory.  I didn’t want to set with this group of people not a part of my crew. Call it childish, but that’s how I felt. Eating is can be a community event. Generally, I know the people in my community. I felt more like a part of a crowd, strangers gathered together for one purpose – eating.

I remember when dining was an event for a specific group or couple. It was impossible not to over-hear the conversations down the table. The other parties at the table were having discussions about their private lives, politics and work.  Call me catty, but I like to talk about some the people in the restaurant. It’s hard to talk about what the tacky lady has on when she is in ear-shot of you. 

Overall the experience was not bad, but for me it will take some getting used to. I view meals with friends as a time to strengthen our community. I really don’t want a crowd experience I appreciate a community experience with great food.

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