yesterday afternoon I went out with my journal, a half written letter, and the final chapter of The Botany of Desire, to spend some time with a glass of wine and pen and paper. Venue: Bin 71. The space there is tiny. There is a horseshoe shaped bar, with other small tables on the perimeter of the room, as well as some sidewalk seating. I sat at one end of a communal table, 6 seats, where already on the other end was a girl sipping a glass of white.
As I sat down I heard the end of a conversation into her mobile. "Are you coming??? I've been here 15 minutes already. It's on Columbus ... yes, 71st ... yes, well tell her to bring it." I ordered a glass of red and scribbled in my journal. The place was nearly full, but for our table. About 10 minutes passed when the first friend came in. "Just water, please." And so with the next, and the one after that. Now there were four of them, chit chatting away, consuming the remaining seating but one in the restaurant, all but the original girl with a glass of water. Then girl #3 opens a bag and pulls out pastries, and they begin eating. They flag down the waiter, ask for more water, this time with lemon, and as he goes to fulfill this request, girl #2 whispers, "The service in this place is so slow!"
What of the social contract?? I'm willing to give a little leeway on the "Restrooms are for customers only" rule, but chairs and tables are certainly for customers, especially when couple after couple came in, looked around, saw there was no where to sit, and moved on to the next place.