Bad Manners

There is an injustice afoot. A dining practice so egregious, I am compelled to speak out. I pray my words spur you to end this archaic and devastating social convention.

Food is fragile. It hangs precariously between groceries and compost. It's preparation is a dark art which I am not privy to. It is altogether foreign to me. It is the Achilles heel in an otherwise impenetrable fortress knowledge, a particular set of skills I do not possess.   

To this end, I dine out relentlessly. Regrettably, it has become cripplingly expensive of late. However, the quality, efficiency, and variety is unparalleled. I have two spices in my house and I'll give you a hint: both of them are kinds of pepper. I have leveled up my character in a precariously lopsided way. I've maxed out the sliders on pinball rules and hi-fi gear, but never allocated resources to food gathering. And while this makes me easy to kill in the jungle, I make a mean mix tape on new old stock Type II cassettes.

During my many years of co-op dining, I've learned immutable truths: the third breadstick always goes to your fellow diner, milkshakes served without the tin is a war crime, and you don't show up a half hour before close.

Hot food is sacred. It has the lifespan of a drug-addicted rock star. There is a window of perfection which gives way to a cliff of mediocrity. Consider the humble mozzarella stick. It hits the table True Detective S1, but by the time you get back from the bathroom, it's Game of Thrones S8. Reduced to a dim promise of what what could have been. 

There is a practice in our culture which I find abhorrent. And it ends tonight.

Picture this: the food runner comes to drop plates at your table for everyone except you. Your compatriots unfurl their napkins, rustle their silverware, but do not touch their plates. They are waiting for your food to arrive until they can tear into their meals which are aging in dog years. Under the guise of politeness, we let our meals wither. The Bear (I've only seen the Instagram Reels, but it looks intense) taught me the kitchen is a chaotic laboratory of food chemistry. And this is how we respect their blood, sweat, and tears?

I propose an amendment to the social dining contract.

We must operate under the veil of food delivery ignorance. None among us knows if it will be our food which was goofed in the kitchen and need to be remade. Thus, we accept the dining lottery and the moment food arrives at the table, we are compelled to partake. Politeness has no place at this table. It stands as an affront to the collective good. 

Some among you might shout, but what if we finish our meals before the other person has theirs? So be it. We will never leave them behind. We shall smile as they enjoy their piping hot food as we hope they did while we had ours. We have an obligation to reduce the collective suffering.

As citizens of this planet, we must accept that we will occasionally lose the mastication lottery, that our food will be the straggler to the table. And collectively, we must press forward with delicious meals and lively conversation. We must exalt the withering rose lifespan of the humble mozzarella stick and acknowledge a world bigger than the individual. We must ensure the survival of the species. We must respect the work of food artisans, and the ephemeral beauty of hot food.

In order to move forward, we must leave others behind. I consent to this agreement. I do of sound mind and in service of creating a better world, not just for myself but my children's children. If it is I who draws the short straw of tardy food, I shall be sated knowing my friends have food at the temperature god intended. And their joy brings me joy. Making them wait is selfishness in the guise of civility.  

I present the amendment to the social dining constitution and humbly await your signature. All those in favor of hot food, say aye. 

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