Friday, September 29, 2006

People watching

The past month or so, I've been spending a lot of time at the Damansara Village Steamboat to help out. One of the things I do is to take orders and when doing so, I encounter lots of interesting families.

One family I served were parents and three teenage children. The children obviously wished they were somewhere else. One had a handheld game in front of his face, one had a novel and another was sending messages on his handphone. They all moved from the entrance to their table without looking up from whatever they were doing. Then they sat down, I approached the them to take their order. The parents wanted to find out what their children wanted to eat, asked them and didn't get a response. Asked them again and without looking away from their gadgets/book, they mumbled something which resembled, "Anything". Finally, after some time 'coz the children weren't contributing and their parents were adamant in finding out what they wanted to eat, their food was ordered. This family sat through the entire dinner without uttering a single word to each other 'coz the father then produced a stack of newspaper from a plastic bag. What was the mother doing? Stared into space most of the time.

The scary thing is, this family isn't unique in their behaviour. I've seen teenagers bring their homework to do at dinner time. Can't even spare an hour with the family? Maybe she's on the way to becoming a rocket scientist!

One would think most teenagers outgrow that phase when they grow up. I'm sure a lot of parents who have indulged their children with computer games hope they do. Well, here's some bad news. They don't. A 20-something man sauntered in with a stack of newspaper under his arm with his parents trailing behind. He plonked himself on the chair and proceeded to open up his newspaper. His parents saw me approach and was going to order. Father turned to son, "What you want to eat?" No response. "Son, what you want to eat?" No response. I was so tempted to whack the guy with his stack of newspaper! He finally mumbled, "Up to you lah" in a disinterested tone. Blardy hell! In his 20's, shouldn't he be the one taking care of his parents needs? Or at least look more interested?

Of course, there are families who are very close to each other. Children and parents joke with each other and there seem to be lots of laughter during dinner. These children (teenagers) usually have a sparkle in their eyes which is missing in the "Game Boy" kids. Of course, I've not had a chance to see the eyes of those "Game Boy" kids.

Once, when I produced the bill for a family of 3 (parents and a 10-year-old boy), the boy scrambled to pay the bill! He had won a prize of RM50 from school for excelling and he wanted to treat his parents. The bill came up to close to RM60, so he didn't have enough. His parents chipped in the rest but they thanked him for the meal. His chest was puffed up and he was really proud to have given his parents a treat. His parents were very proud too that he thought of doing that.

Ever wonder why some children are picky eaters? This may be one of the reasons....

A whole family of about 10 people (adults and a few children) walk into the restaurant only to find out only steamboat is served. They had already sat down. Elderly lady says, "Aiya, steamboat only ah? The children won't eat lah." I was eager to please so asked if the children will eat fishball. Kids who were obviously hungry looked at me, nodded their head and said, "Yayayayaya!" Aunty "No lah. Won't eat lah" Then I suggested fried dumpling or fried chicken wings. Satay? Kids, "Yayayayaya!" Aunty "Won't eat lah. Come lah. We go somewhere else" All the kids looked at me with a bewildered face!

Once, I served a young couple. Very obvious from the time I approached the table that going to the restaurant for dinner was the lady's suggestion. Her boyfriend, who looked like he was waken up from a nap and was dragged out for dinner and really isn't into steamboat, had a dark cloud bigger than Australia over his head. The lady wanted to make sure she ordered what her boyfriend would eat. He made it very clear he wasn't pleased. He was also rude to the staff. Totally grumpy. I was sooooooo tempted to pull the lady aside to tell her to run as far as she could from the jerk!

Fortunately, most people appreciate the service they get. More families who get along then those who don't. Maybe that's why those who don't get along stick out and get noticed.


Anonymous midnite lily said...

^_^ neat stories. i think meal times are the best to ppl watch like with these families (since msians always go out to eat). there's really nothing else to do when you're with food and people at a table - but talk.

i miss ppl watching, love to do it on the LRT days B.C. my car. heh.

1:51 am  
Blogger m.o.t.t said...

HEY! My parents love to eat at this (your?) place. They keep inviting me over..I keep wanting to go..but..always tak jadi. HEIYAH!

10:03 am  
Blogger me said...

funny you should post about this. wanted to tell you that i visited the steamboat place last weekend but didn't quite know under which post to write it, so i didn't. i liked the place and the food. your map (in the post previously) was way off though. took me so long and a proper map to finally locate the place. lucky i'm not in any of that disfunctional families you mentioned :-)heehee.

10:16 am  
Anonymous kat said...

For now, I would do anything for the kids to sit down and occupy themselves with whatever without me having to chase after them!! Actually only the boy-lah..HY is good!

5:52 am  
Blogger Min said...

midnite lily, BC (before car) LOL Yes, meal time is the best time to catch up on everyone. Which also made me notice that in most household, the dining room/table is usually the centre of gathering. At least at my place and our friends' place.

Hey mott. PT's daughter and son-in-law run the place.

me, which day were you there? I'm there every weekend. Good to know your family isn't dysfunctional LOL If according to American sitcoms, that's a rarity nowadays! LOL

3:39 pm  
Blogger Min said...

kat, just make sure whatever you do, you won't eventually have to undo :D

1:00 am  
Blogger me said...

i was there last last saturday. didn't spot you, but then i wasn't exactly touring the place looking for you. saw a familiar face though - richard, the magician. yep, we were the noisy bunch of kids hanging around him. then again, all kids hanging around him were noisy. :-)

10:04 am  

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