Taboo d’hôte

RANGE: From the wine racks to the coatcheck room, from the sanitary hand-drying machine in the restroom to the basin of melting mints by the cash register; from the “have it our way” roughage window to the garbage-gobbling clown can in the parking lot, the Maître D’eamon calls America’s
many elegant eateries his home away from home.
HABITS: The Maître D’eamon sees to it that when you arrive at a restaurant, the parking lot is full, but a smiling young man is there to take your car. When you escape the restaurant some hours later, the smiling young man is not there. Neither is your car. That is the work of the Maître D’eamon, whose highest calling is to give his victims an evening they will never forget.
When you enter a restaurant to celebrate your anniversary (after planning the occasion for weeks), it is the Maître D’eamon who concocts a mix-up in the reservations. It is he who arranges for you to wait at the bar for an hour with three intoxicated salesmen until the captain says, “Oh, have you been waiting long? We should have a table for you any minute.”
Forty minutes later, you are seated. The mysterious stains left on the tablecloth by the Maître D’eamon give you something to talk about until your waiter gets back from the dentist. The Maître has kindly seen to it that you are seated right by the kitchen door, so you have a chance to see how real dishwashers smoke marijuana. (Look at the cook. Did you know they worked with their shirts off?)
At last your dinner arrives. You do not recognize it, thanks to the Maître D’eamon. It was under his influence that you ordered what looks like a briquet from the bowels of Mordor’s Mount Doom, and a frozen something
from icy Lapland.
Dessert? Coffee? A liqueur? Just the bill? Very well.
The Maître D’eamon has seen to it that the restaurant does not take credit cards. A check? The restaurant does not take checks. Cash? It does not take cash. Krugerrands. The restaurant takes Krugerrands.
As you are leaving, the D’eamon inspires your waiter to tell you how much the staff enjoyed watching you eat with all the wrong cutlery. You exit the restaurant to the gales of the busboys’ laughter and the sight of the captain’s palm, patiently waiting for his tip.
No inconvenience is too great for the Maître D’eamon, so long as it is more inconvenient for you.
HISTORY: The Maître is un-American. He is unspeakable, uncivilized, inhuman: the Maître D’eamon is French. Arriving in America with Lafayette, he first conveyed his lack of manners to Jefferson’s butlers in Monticello.
From there, he moved north to the capital, where he currently inflicts a fourstar array of annoyances on devotees of Michelin and McDonalds alike.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: You will find this creature wherever you find hammered copper coats-of-arms on the walls, tufted naugahyde dining nooks, unlimited salad bars, the piano stylings of Hugh LaGoon, sink-sized brandy snifters, a
wine list as big as a family Bible, and a waiter whose hair has been painted on … by the Maître D’eamon himself.

Location of Fair Folk: Retained By JoEllen Trilling


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