Tonight I went with a friend to a tony Scottsdale restaurant that we were auditioning for a third friend's birthday dinner. It passed--the food was fantastic, the service was indulgent, and it was worth getting dressed up for, but they still let us eat there. This is important because I never, ever feel at home in a fancy restaurant. I always feel like I'm a millisecond away from being thrown out by some bouncer who'll then hurl my purse at my head, just to make his point. That scene in "LA Story" where Steve Martin has to submit to a credit check and Patrick Stewart's fifteen-point questionnaire about where he "summers" to get in to L'Idiot? Yeah, that's pretty much what I imagine every time I go to a restaurant where you need reservations.
I also dread the recurrence of not one, but two experiences where I have involuntarily hurled bread at a fellow-diner. It's one way to meet people in public, but I wouldn't recommend it, because of the crippling humiliation. Don't look at me like that. Some places have those dinner rolls that are really, really crusty. They're hard to tear, and they can really get away from you. I know I should just steer clear of the bread basket, given my unfortunate tendency to bean the snootiest-looking bloke in the room with flying bread, but I'm addicted to carbohydrates. It's a legitimate condition. Totally beyond my control.
Fortunately, tonight I looked very cute, did NOT order any wine, was NOT offered any bread, and only managed to embarrass myself three or four times. And the waiter was very, very nice about ignoring the telltale ravioli-shaped splotch squarely between the tapas plate and my plate. (Seriously, you can't take me anywhere. But in my defense, raviolis are really slippery.) I had practically managed to overcome my cataclysmic lack of entitlement when I had the quintessential Scottsdale experience. My friend was graciously walking me to my car, and we stood next to it while he finished his cigarette. And then this dude in a jag pulled out of a parking space across the way, stopped about six feet away from us (and about one foot short of making his turning radius). And he honked at us.
This was not Inspector Morse's jag. This was one of those sleek little numbers, sans bonnet leaper. The man had PLENTY of room to pull out, he just wanted to emphasize that we and our Prius did not belong in HIS personal parking lot in HIS personal snooty city. And the best part is that not 30 seconds after we obligingly moved six inches closer to my car and he pulled out, ANOTHER jag pulled into that space (a sleek little number, this time with a bonnet leaper). Apparently the whole of Scottsdale is reserved for dudes with Jags. Didn't we get the memo?
This makes me even more determined to take my friend there for her birthday. That's right, you heard me. The geeks are taking over Scottsdale. Ignore us at your peril (and watch for flying bread).