Friday, October 23, 2009

Erring on the Side of Kindness - A Tale of Woe

Every now and then, I need a little motivation to get myself in front of the computer and update the old blog. Sometimes, it’s a particularly delicious meal that provides the necessary push. Sometimes, it’s that doggone Frederick News Post that gets me going.

Oh, why oh why do I continually let the FNP push my buttons? Why can’t I just take a deep cleansing breath, let it all go and get back to my happy place? I’ll tell you why.

3 years ago, when I turned 50 (ouch), I embarked on a mission. I decided that henceforth, I would abandon my judgmental ways, and embrace the philosophy of “erring on the side of kindness”. Given that I was innately biased toward “erring on the side of sarcasm”, this was a pretty monumental undertaking.

For (what seemed like) months, I actually paused and gave some consideration to what I was about to say before actually saying it. I offered to help others without being asked, and did so non-begrudgingly.

What a positive move, a righteous path of personal growth, spiritual awareness and all that other new-agey stuff the yoga people seem to like so much. A new me. A better me. Enlightened and enriched.

2 very bad things happened.

The first, and really quite irritating phenomenon, was that NOBODY NOTICED! When my so-called friends were asked how they were enjoying the new, “kindness erring” me, they were nonplussed. Really??? How was that possible? How could they not have noticed how I purposely did NOT simulate the gag reflex when they suggested eating at Olive Garden? How did they miss my NOT rolling my eyes when they ordered their steak well done? Seriously folks, I was erring like crazy!!!!

Oh, and the second bad thing that happened? Well, all those times that I was kindness-erring when my natural instinct was to judge, caused my body to rebel. All the bottled up hostility and sarcasm had nowhere to go, so it just kind of coalesced into one giant tumor in my neck which the expert doctors at Hopkins had to remove.

So, in the interest of saving my life, I have had to abandon the whole kindness boat and re-embrace my natural philosophical style of judge and opine. Which is why I just CANNOT take that flippin’ deep breath and get back to my happy place when the FNP annoys me.

And why am I annoyed today? Well, obviously it’s got to be something food related. And naturally, it’s once again the infamous FNP “unannounced dining experience ” article . Today, writer Bill Cauley (whom I thought was a sports reporter), wrote all about his recent lunch trip to El Sloppy Taco in Brunswick.

As it turns out, there wasn’t that much to tell. For, you see, Bill shares with us that he’s “ not a big lunch eater”. Great. So why exactly did he go to the restaurant for lunch? Trooper that he is, he ordered anyway. ONE taco. ONE! Not a taco combo platter, not a taco plus some side dishes. Nope. Just one single taco. Didn’t even add much of the hot sauces because, at least for Bill, “hot, spicy stuff tends to revisit a person at inopportune times”. Wow. Good to know. .

Lucky for us, his dining companion was there to fill in the gastronomic gap. Psyche. Dining companion wasn’t hungry and only ordered chips & salsa!

Wow. One taco and some salsa . Oh, the information overload! Stop! I can’t absorb any more!

Bill – why bother writing this at all??? And, Frederick News Post – why bother printing it? How does this even remotely serve the reader? I see how it might serve your advertisers – but it’s not going to do them a lot of good without readers.

Anyway – I feel much better now. I am taking nice big, deep breaths and getting back to my happy place.

17 comments:

fredfood said...

Nice post. I had the same reaction. I thought they had reached the nadir with their article about the Waffle House but this beat it. What's next? A vegetarian to review a steakhouse I assume. Keep on being you. Sometimes you just have to accept who you are!
Fred

Velva said...

I smiled, then laughed (except for the tumor removal part. I can totally relate to you. Thanks for sharing a great blog post.

Dining Diva said...

Thanks guys! Appreciate the comments...

Sarah said...

I just wanted to let you know that I just stumbled upon - and LOVE - your blog. (I knew I would as soon as I read your Olive Garden and Red Lobster comments in your "about me".)

Keep up the great work!

Dining Diva said...

Thanks, Sarah....Every now and then we get ourselves together and cross two county lines and get to DC for dinner - I'll be sure to write about my experiences there to see if they match up with yours!

AG said...

Just found your blog - love this post. You can't hold that stuff it, it goes somewhere. It usually goes somewhere you don't want it to go!

From Lab To Kitchen said...

Hilarious post! Just curious, have you eaten at that guy Brian from Top Chef's restaurant? I think it is in Frederick, MD. I would love to go there, and not just cause he's so cute :)

Ann S said...

I, too, had the exact same reaction when I read the review. What a waste of space!

Dining Diva said...

I HAVE eaten at Bryan Voltaggio's restaurant a few times. It's a real treat...I even had that amazing chocolate dessert he did last week in Restaurant Wars..Smoooooooooooooooooth

Liz said...

I've bitched about that very article to everyone who will listen to me this week!

Dining Diva said...

Liz - maybe you guys could put a poll on your blog and see if we can garner support to change the FNP policy on their restaurant write-ups...

Maybe if enough of us complain...

fredfood said...

They (FNP I mean) will never do it. To much risk of offending an advertiser. Although other comparable newspapers do. The Annapolic Capital did as I recall.

anne said...

went to bonefish grill for the first time, and it was great! but two oddities: 1. the "succotash," which the waiter promoted as lima beans & corn (duh) actually turned out to be edamame & corn (!?). i was disappointed, cuz i actually love limas. 2. i had my leftover bang bang shrimp bagged to enjoy later and had the doggie bag on the floor next to my seat. but as i was leaving, i couldn't find it! i think someone nicked my bang bang!!

missed you last thursday; hope to see you this week!

Ellie said...

Hmmm, interesting ! There are people that work endless hours with pride in their job or on their business, and yet you feel so comfortable making sure that they feel unsure of their efforts! At least when the News Post writes a review, they double check hours, telephone numbers and spelling of names. That is indeed a critical part of reporting. As much as I appreciate honesty, I don't appreciate the loose way in which you report, and NO, I have no connection with the post! Sometimes I wonder if you applied for the job to write about restaurants and were denied. Im sorry about your tumor, but I in no way find it a reason to continue being a grouch!

Ellie said...

Hmmm, interesting ! There are people that work endless hours with pride in their job or on their business, and yet you feel so comfortable making sure that they feel unsure of their efforts! At least when the News Post writes a review, they double check hours, telephone numbers and spelling of names. That is indeed a critical part of reporting. As much as I appreciate honesty, I don't appreciate the loose way in which you report, and NO, I have no connection with the post! Sometimes I wonder if you applied for the job to write about restaurants and were denied. Im sorry about your tumor, but I in no way find it a reason to continue being a grouch!

Dining Diva said...

Sorry, Ellie - but I just can't agree with you here. I think that there is more to reporting than providing the correct spelling and times of operation. There are many of us who are hoping for information that we can't just get by googling the proprietors website. That's why we count on those who are paid to report to do a thorough job and provide knowledge about the food preparation. My writing? Geez, this blog is just a hobby...Thus, I don't have any responsibility other than to be fair and honest. I try to be both - and to inject a bit of humor into my postings as well.

ThreeTastes said...

Have to agree with you on this, a review should be objective and should also provide information that engages the reader and allows her to form an opinion about all aspects of a restaurant -- food, service, ambience. Otherwise, it's a waste of ink. And trees. And time.

Except for Tom Sietsma, we've pretty much given up on newspaper reviews and rely more on customer reviews and objective sources, to which we will now include DDOFM. Keep up the great work!