The restaurant was crowded. An older woman was trying to handle order taking, settling the bills, and waiting on tables. The kitchen was not helping! Incomplete orders were being sent out with an emphasis on fried rice first, noodles last, and everything else in random order.
The Singaporean patrons were reacting differently to the situation, a combination of empathy, comic relief, and frustration.
Scene 1: A young couple dining with a grandmother watched their dishes to by with a laughing smile. The initial oops moment came as their intense conversation was interrupted by one of the aunties calling out their dish. You could see their heads pop up and a hand raised as the auntie blissfully walked by them. Their callouts went with notice until the auntie had quizzed every outdoor table. Only then did she turn and look through the open door to the smiling man with his hand raised.
As he explained their order, I could see his smile and hear the assurance in his voice. He wanted to help. He reminded her of their order.
Scene 2: The next order was a different type of fried rice. Learning, the auntie started methodically with each table inside. By the time she came to our table I was ready to change my order. Finally she came to the last table. She was greeted by all three emotions. Shaking her head, she wandered back for another order.
Scenes 1 repeated and 3: As the first scene repeated, another couple went up to her to let her know they had given up. She offered her apologies as they quietly abandoned their table for something different.
I was struck by the practical response. Some could wait, others couldn’t. A writer left us with a piece of advice when it came to sharing a Christian ritual with God. “So, my friends, when you come together to the Lord’s Table, be reverent and courteous with one another. If you’re so hungry that you can’t wait to be served, go home and get a sandwich.” (1 Corinthians 11.33a)
The scenes repeat.