So far so good. Service was great. Beverages were cold. Food was half price until six.
Somewhere between my second drink and a plate of wings, something went drastically wrong with the picture. As I placed my hands on the table to hoist myself up and keep steady as I squeezed through the narrow space between the tables, a sickening feeling overcame me. It started with the sticky greasy feel of my hands. Gum. I looked under the table. Three, four, five wads of gum under there. ABC Gum, we called it as kids: Already Been Chewed. I felt unclean for an instant. Restaurant. Food service. Hardened, saliva-bearing gum under my table. Which one doesn't belong?
Is this a dining room or a Grade 2 classroom? And I mean no offense to second graders. This being a designated staff hangout led me to believe this was not the work of patrons. I mean, they're eating and drinking - why would they be chewing gum? Like a detective I examined the pattern of the gum wads, most of them at this one table where I had seen a waiter having dinner just before our party started.
Those Grade Twos would add two plus two in no time, concluding the ABC Gum had belonged to the servers. The table was their ditching post before and between shifts.
You wouldn't know this because gum manufacturers don't tell you - big trade secret - you're supposed to use their packaging to wrap ABC gum and then place it in the garbage.
Under tables, on the ground, gum is an impossible product to clean up when it is disposed of incorrectly. If no bin, no pocket, no receptacle, swallow it. In school days of old those caught chewing gum in school had to stick it on their nose. Ya, stick it on your nose.
A question to readers - would you have named the restaurant in this piece?