Sunday, June 27, 2010

It Was So Uncomfortable I Had to Avert My Eyes.

Last night I took Eden and Claire out to dinner to celebrate Claire's birthday. Matt's in Israel again, so he missed out on a night of fun. We went to Macaroni Grill. The kids have never been there and they wanted a new dining adventure. I've only been twice myself, so off we went.

We sat down and were in the process of ordering when Eden remarked 'Hey, this place sort of reminds me of Disneyland -- New Orleans Square.' I was in the middle of agreeing with him when all of the sudden I heard a male falsetto voice break forth in song. The voice was
loud, albeit, perfectly on key, and it was singing opera, very slowly, with a lot of control. My kids and I looked around and saw that the voice came from a man, dressed in black, who was singing to a couple at a table-for-two in the corner. He sang and sang, while the couple sat there, heads down, looking at the floor. They had that "deer in the headlights" look on their faces.

It was so uncomfortable watching the whole thing take place. In my head I was trying to send brain wave messages to the Opera man:
'Stop singing. Stop singing. Abort mission. Abort mission.' But he didn't hear me. He was too engaged in Ave Maria.

Then I panicked. I realized that is what Macaroni Grill does to celebrate special occasions!

There are few things I hate more in this world than singing waiters. I know, I know ....
hate is a really strong word. I don't use it very often. But I promise I'm not exaggerating when I say I hate to sit with a fake smile on my face as someone stands in front of me singing -- while onlookers watch. It makes me so uncomfortable, I have to avert my eyes -- just like the couple at the table-for-two.

My discomfort is so severe that I almost passed out once at Blue Bunny in St. George. A singing waiter showed up and did not stop singing for at least 20 minutes. I finally had to yell at a manager: "Make it Stop!!!!!!"

I did not leave a tip.

Since that day, my family has a code word for uncomfortable situations -- Blue Bunny. If you ever hear me utter that word, you'll know I'm in trouble. If I say it twice, I'm in crisis mode.

As Opera man concluded his performance, Claire leaned over and whispered 'He isn't coming over here to sing to
me, is he?'

I responded 'I hope not, because that will completely ruin my lobster ravioli.' My hands began to sweat.

Claire shuddered and proceeded to beg 'Please don't let him come over here!
Pleaaaaase!' It was a plea like you've never heard. And I completely understood. This was code Blue Bunny all the way.

I tapped our waitress on the shoulder with my sweaty hand and explained our situation. 'Excuse me' I said. 'I don't want to sound rude, but I have issues. I get really embarrassed if I have to sit and watch someone sing to me, especially if they are singing Opera. To make matters worse, I have passed this gene on to my kids. They have issues too. Is there any way we can be spared this situation tonight so we can enjoy our birthday dinner in peace?'

She said 'I
totally understand. I don't like singing situations either. I will inform the management.' I was so thankful that our waitress was a compassionate woman. I immediately felt like I had set down a load of bricks. Crisis averted.

I learned something as I sat there with immunity, watching all the other birthday diners get a visit from the Opera singer. Every single one of them looked up at the ceiling, or down at the floor until the music was over. All but one -- a girl who was turning 20. She was thrilled to have an Opera singer at her table. She let him sing three or four songs and clapped at the end of every number. What a brave, brave soul to look right in the eyes of a madrigal, and genuinely smile. I was so glad that she had the courage to give this star the applause he deserved. He was very good you know. I just needed him to stand way back and sing from a distance -- far away from my personal space.

I seriously think that Macaroni Grill upper management needs to sit in the dining room and take a good look around. They might double their yearly profits if they revise the floor show.

In the end, all I have to say is this: Blue Bunny went out of business a year after our visit. I blame the singing waters who didn't know when to stop. As for Macaroni Grill, the food was good, but I don't think I'm going back. Ever. I just can't take my chances. I'd be a nervous wreck waiting for the appearance of the Opera star.


Puttin' Down Roots said...

I hate that too....really...BUT, the lobster ravioli might be worth it. Glad you had a great birthday meal though. Claire is so pretty...just like her mama!

Audrey Spence said...

So I went to a Macaroni Grill once after graduation with my friend and her family. So there we are two friends free from high school with our families and the waiter has us stand on our chairs... in skirts none the less.... and take our cloth napkins and twirl them around over our head... yeah... I'm not sure why I agreed to do it but I did get a massive, free piece of amazing chocolate cake so maybe that's why... I curbed the embarrassment with their heavenly chocolate cake.

Sra. Lasko said...

Blue bunny! You are too funny! I would totally hate that too. You should definitely write the manager and share your observations.

Jenni said...

I used to be one of those people who sang happy birthday to people! But, that is what they came to the restaurant was called Bobby McGee's and we had to dress up as characters (I was Tinkerbell)! Not only did we sing happy birthday, we sang song at random in the middle of the restaurant! We were silly and did embarrassing things to people, was part of the show and why people wanted to eat there I guess! They have since sold every last one of those, so sad!

I know above is different from what you experienced, so glad that the waitress was kind enough NOT to embarrass you!