Why Can’t I Read the Darn Menu? | HumorOutcasts

Why Can’t I Read the Darn Menu?

December 7, 2015

Recently, my husband Kevin and I went out to dinner sans kids, a special event in itself. We decided to forego our usual Tex-Mex spot in favor of a Spanish restaurant offering great tapas. This translates to a quieter, dimmer, adults-only atmosphere, conducive to lingering over our meal, sharing a glass of wine and not issuing please-chew-with-your-mouth-closed reminders.

With Spanish murals and soft guitar music as our romantic backdrop, we sat at our table, picked up our menus and tried to focus on the 6-point-font-sized list of appetizers.

“What? You want to plop the cat out the door?” I asked Kevin quizzically, looking around for an errant cat in the dining room.

“No, I said you dropped your napkin on the floor,” Kevin explained louder, pointing next to my chair.

We perused the menu for another minute (sadly, not because we couldn’t decide what to order) before one of us (probably me) finally said, “I can’t see a damn thing. Why do they have to make the type so small?”

I held the menu far enough to be in another zip code, while Kevin adopted his best Robert Di Nero grimace as he tried to discern what camerones al ajillo means. Is this in Spanish . . . or can we really just not see . . . or both?

After struggling a few more minutes, we cast pride aside and Kevin reached for his reading glasses while I whisked out my credit-card size magnifier that fits in my wallet. Good God, do I really own a credit-card size magnifier?

I leaned in toward the votive candle for an extra 2 watts, hoping not to catch the  menu on fire (although the extra light from  the flames would help). Meanwhile, Kevin  broke out his iPhone flashlight app.

With the added luminosity and 2x magnification, we were ready to order.

When the waiter arrived with some water, we questioned him about croquetas, patas a la brava, and other yummy things we usually don’t get to eat because of our finicky-teens/pizza-and-taco-based dining options.

In a thick Spanish accent, our waiter described these delicacies in detail, as we stared at him with rapt attention, trying to lip read. I was both enchanted by his charming voice and confused by everything he just said (MOSTLY because of the accent and just a little bit because I can’t hear, I swear).

Hesitatingly, I asked, “So, these are spicy potatoes?”

The waiter nodded.

Trying to summon his best high school Spanish, Kevin ordered the potato thing, some empanadas and (we think) the shrimp appetizer, camerones al ajillo. Praying we didn’t just order squid (calamares) with Kevin’s rusty Spanish, we concentrated on the wine list, with a font size even smaller than the appetizer list.

Not wanting to delay the quick delivery of wine to our table, I abandoned hope of deciphering the menu and just ordered some merlot, hoping it didn’t cost $20 a glass. The waiter said something else and paused, perhaps waiting for my response. Not wanting to ask for the third time already, “Can you please say that again?” I looked at him, nodded and smiled. Then he looked at me, nodded and smiled, now knowing that I pretty much can’t hear/understand a word he just said.

The food truly was fabulous, and we enjoyed the rest of our dinner without a hitch.

And then the bill came. The pale-gray-ink-on-white-paper bill – again with the micro-font. We panicked – we couldn’t see the total. And if we couldn’t see the total, how could we leave a tip? We huddled together like a small football team trying to remember the playbook. Did the shrimp cost $13 or $18? I can’t tell if that’s a 1 or a 7, can you? Didn’t we end up ordering two spicy potato dishes? This felt like a nightmarish adult version of an algebra class word problem: If we each ordered two glasses of wine at $12 each and we’re leaving the restaurant at 9pm travelling east on the highway at 45mph . . . .

We started to break out in a sweat, as we noticed the waiter came by twice to see if we’re ready to pay. In desperation, we broke out the iPhone flashlight again, causing the other diners to turn and glare at whatever’s killing the ambience in the room. How embarrassing! Quick turn it off! TURN IT OFF!

We whipped out our cash, handed it to the waiter and scurried out with our eyes averting the others, like two teens caught making out in the back seat of their dad’s Ford Fusion.

We caught our breath out in the parking lot – hey, we scurried, remember? – and agreed that our next date night needs to be less stressful. We made a pact to choose the next restaurant based,  not on type of cuisine or location or even what Groupon we haven’t yet used, but on which one has the better overhead lighting.

For more of my humor, go here.

Lisa Beach

Lisa Beach is a freelance writer, blogger, mother of two teenagers, and recovering stay-at-home mom/homeschooler who lived to write about it. Check out www.TweeniorMoments.com, Lisa’s humor blog about midlife, family, friends and all the baggage that goes with it.

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17 Responses to Why Can’t I Read the Darn Menu?

  1. December 14, 2015 at 5:47 am

    I don’t think I’d like adult eating.

  2. December 8, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Hahaha way too close to mi casa!!! It reminded me of when we asked our hotel for a good restaurant and they told us to go to the ‘tapas’ place and we thought they said “topless”. Only one of us was excited about the prospect. But we went, and only one of us was disappointed!!! Great post.

    • December 8, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      That’s too funny, Cathy! 🙂

  3. December 8, 2015 at 8:20 am

    LOL OMG, I can so totally relate! My hubs and I have the same issues, well him more than me thankfully, but I have to carry his “readers” everywhere we go! Thanks for the morning funny!


    • December 8, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks for reading, Brenda! Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. December 7, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    Great post Lisa! I think all resaurant guests should be brought bread and magnifying glasses to their table

    • December 8, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks, Donna! I agree…especially about the bread. (LOVE my carbs.)

  5. Shirley
    December 7, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    So funny! I felt like I was right there @ the table w/both of you. In fact I caught myself “squinting” as I was reading the article. (left my glasses in the other room).

    • December 9, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      Thanks, Shirley! I feel your pain with all the squinting. 😉

  6. Lisa nolan
    December 7, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    That was priceless! Well told! I felt like I was in the restaurant, glaring at you–I mean looking at you. I’m blind without my reading glasses, I cannot imagine being without reading light!

    Too funny!

    • December 7, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks, Lisa. 🙂 It was definitely embarrassing at the time, especially when the other diners gave us the stink eye when we whipped out our iPhone flashlight.

  7. December 7, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    I can so relate and this made smile and chuckle through the whole thing. Fun story!

    • December 7, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Thanks, Laurie! It’s even more fun when I’m filling out insurance forms at the doctor’s office and I realize I forgot to bring my reading glasses. I’ve probably unknowingly checked off boxes for diseases & medical conditions I don’t have just because I can’t read the micro-print on the health history form.

  8. Bill Spencer
    December 7, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Me gusta. Bienvenido, Lisa, a Humor Outcasts.

    • December 7, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks, Bill!

  9. December 7, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Been there, done that! Isn’t it amazing how much shorter our arms get as we get older – making menu-reading more challenging? One tip I’ve found helpful: Check out a restaurant’s menu online before you go — eliminating the on-site challenges of low lighting and small type. And the waiter will never know…

    • December 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      I love your idea, Roxanne. Will definitely go online before dining out again.

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