QUESTION: Was it boring to work at the Tapas Bar?
ANSWER: Yes, it must have been, particularly if you were responsible for the bookings.
This last weekend we were invited for lunch by another couple to go to a somewhat fancy and busy restaurant, one where you best book before, or wait for a while until you get to have a table.
My friend had booked a table for the four of us.
You may guess by now that as soon as we were greeted by the Host, my eyes were glued to the reservation book.
It was a plain, unmarked, agenda, A4 size, a day per page, bought at any stationery shop, that was opened on the page of the day we were in.
The information on it was simple, plain and efficient, in other words, to the point.
There were two sets of information on the day’s page.
One, for those like us, who had booked in time and had a table assigned, and the other for those who had tried to book but didn’t have a table or had just arrived and were willing to wait.
For the first set, the information was made up of the customer’s surname, the number of people in total and his/her contact, and, lastly, a number which I presumed was there to indicate the table’s number.
For the second set there was only the customer’s surname and the total number of people that wished to be seated.
All the names of each one of the sets were written in separate lines, leaving none in-between. However the two sets were separated by two or three lines left blank.
The Host checked my friends name and to which table we were assigned to, and neatly proceeded to draw a line across my friend’s "line". Noticed that two thirds of the names on the page had already been “lined” across, and looking around the room, the number of filled up tables conferred with that fact.
The Host then accompanied the four of us to a table where he withdrew the “reservado” that had been put on it for us, and helped me and my lady friend to sit down. Nice to be treated that way, even if it’s the gentleman’s job to do so…
We had our lunch, delicious and totally unhealthy, and half way through it I decided to go and powder my nose.
As per the first international rule of womankind, never written but always complied, a lady never goes alone to the washing room, so headed that way with friend, letting the hubbies alone so they could to pay us the so ever deserved compliments behind our backs.
By “coincidence” on the way back we passed by the Host, and I took the opportunity to congratulate him on the elegance of the place and told him that I had noticed that they had only had reservations for lunch, so asked him if they didn’t take any for dinner.
He answered that it was more critical for lunches on the weekends, and that for both dinner and lunches during the week, the bookings were mostly made in order to have a specific table, than for the need to have "a table".
In any case, they used two separate books, one for lunch, the other, which he pulled for beneath the counter and showed me, for dinner.
My friend really felt pleased that her husband's choice of restaurant had pleased me so much that I was considering having sometime dinner there.
But, you ask, what has all this to do with being boring, or not, to work at Tapas Bar?
Remember that Textusa’s Tapas Quiz Night (TTQN) revolves EXCLUSIVELY around the “Tapas Bar Sheets” (TBS) that some have had the audacity to call it “Tapas Bar Reservation Sheets”.
So the answer to the question is quite simple:
Yes, it must have been terribly BORING to work at Tapas Bar, because at least whoever was responsible for the “reservations” had to have some free time in excess, so that had had the time to draw a FLOWER on what is supposed to be the Reservation Book of the restaurant:
These types of scribbles/drawings (they may flowers, geometric figures or random lines) are done when one of the following occurs:
- one is talking on the phone (not applicable to Tapas Bar reservations as you’ll see), and although listening to the conversation draws these things on the nearest piece of paper, as if to keep the body busy while the mind is concentrated on something else,
- one is in a meeting, BORED, or not that concentrated on the subject at hand, and distracts oneself with these kind of scribbles,
- one is BORED, say, at the reception, and draws these things to help to pass the time.
So, it must have to have been really, REALLY, boring for the person that worked at Tapas Bar as responsible for bookings, so much so that at some point there was nothing better to do with the time than to draw a FLOWER on one of the “Tapas Bar Sheets”
But is it really so?
I tried, in the first part of the post, to describe what a Reservation Book really is all about.
Noticed how much the Host actually handled the book? Just in the exact measure of need.
A book like that is to get information and to discharge it. A rather “blunt” and “to-the-point” kind of book.
Simple and straightforward.
It’s not a book to take messages, nor for one to go dwindling about it. Get the information, write it down. Use the information, discharge it. Simple, plain and OBJECTIVE.
None of the reasons described above to scribble seem apply to the handling of any Restaurant Booking Book. As we’ve seen their use is quite precise.
Remember, you had to queue, from 11 a.m., (instead of going straight to the beach with the family or friends) just to get a table at Tapas for dinner. It certainly doesn’t make sense to be able to book by phone, otherwise that would be an unacceptable advantage over those that were delaying the trip to the beach just to guarantee a table for dinner. Completely unfair, and would be protested.
So, whoever was responsible for writing down all the booking information, as correctly and accurately as it should be, was, or should have been, COMPLETELY focused on whatever s/he was writing. Not scribbling flowers.
But, say you, it could be that when all the people that had queue up had done their respective booking, couldn't the person (whoever it may be, because we’re never told who it might have been) responsible for the booking just go and sit on one of the nearby tables and patiently wait for possible reservation latecomers, and then, there and there, draw such a lovely flower?
First, talk about being over-staffed.
Second, if that were so, why the need for a queue?
Third, from the TBSs themselves we can see that the demand wasn’t that great so if there was so much free time (because we’re dedicating a person exclusively to this task and customers were not responding as expected albeit the “queue”) why draw only one flower?
Wouldn’t be natural for the sheet to be filled up with them?
And please don’t go and say that the person didn’t draw more just to keep the sheets tidy… ONE or MANY flowers, have the exact same unprofessional, untidy effect on any working paper…
And to say that the person decided that day to make the page a little prettier than usual, is forgetting that that object, the reservation book, is for internal use, and not to please customers nor to impress the boss with artistic initiatives. Also do read further on about " coincidence".
The only possible LOGIC reason for that flower to be there would have been for a customer, when it came his turn on the queue to reach the “Reservation Desk”, to not know what exactly he wanted to book and start a conversation with whomever s/he would have been with about what they wanted effectively, and the “host/ess” would be patiently waiting for the outcome while drawing away…
But although the only logic possibility, is it REALLY logic?
Just imagine how the remainder customers in the queue react to such behavior from such a customer. I know what I would do and say, but that's silly old me.
So why on earth was that flower drawn up?
I think the clues to this mystery lie on two factors: date and handwriting.
First, the date. Notice how the flower is drawn up on what one has to call “Universal Coincidence Day”, May 3rd, 2007. The day when every possible coincidence that could happen, just happened, by coincidence. The flower is just one other.
Second, the handwriting. Notice the different slant between the handwriting on the TBSs of May 1st and 2nd, and the one that is on the 3rd. This tells me that if it wasn’t done by a different person, at least it was done in a different time, and we’re beyond saying that they were done on the dates they were supposed to have been done.
This change in handwriting tells us that the May 3rd TBS was REDONE.
Probably more than once.
By the way, the handwriting is so fascinating that it merits a TTQN of its own later on the contest.
The flower tells us that it served to mark that particular sheet. The sheet that would be scrutinized. The sheet for the night Maddie was supposed to have been abducted.
To make sure that the information on it would be the desired, and only the desired one.
Those pieces of paper probably went around many hands. For negotiation, for agreement, for confirmation, but also for “chickening” out.
The apparent fact that the TBS had to be redone indicates that people changed their minds some times while they were being crafted. The names that are there now, are there FOREVER, and nobody will ever know, at least for certain, which names were pulled out.
But, as I said, it might all be me just letting my imagination get the better of me. After all, boredom is boredom, and it could have been terribly, terribly boring to have been the one chosen to take down the bookings for dinners at the Tapas Bar.
By the way, just to finish, isn’t a flower such a feminine thing to draw?
A reader has raised the possibility of the flower not being a flower but "someone attempting to doodle over something that was written and later decided they did not want others to be able to view what was originally written, hence the doodle". We, as always, will let the readers make their own judgment: