Slice of Life Story Challenge March 21 - Cutlery Crimes
I was sitting with my notebook and a coffee at my favourite café, The Filling Station when I witnessed something that made me sit up and pay attention. I did the usual double take when you think your eyes are deceiving you. A women seated at the bench seats facing the window had just placed the knife she was holding half way into her mouth. A quick and decisive action. I put down my coffee mid sip and blinked. My parents messages regarding the suitable use of knives as dining implements came rushing back through the mists of time. I could hear the parent tapes of my childhood booming in my ears.
‘Never, never put your knife into your mouth when eating.’
‘Why not?’ inquires the infant, uneducated Alan.
‘Because it is extremely bad manners.’
…And that was that. Message received loud and clear.
Such was the value of sitting down together as a family at meal times. It provided the essential opportunity to learn the etiquette of dining. For me it equates to ‘share time’ in the reading and writing workshop. Both situations allow for matters of concern to be raised and clarification given, feedback offered and misconceptions challenged. Both provide vital teaching and learning time. It is where quality conversations take place.
I began to wonder about the mystery knife swallower at the window. Was I being harsh in my judgment? Was I being curmudgeonly and not moving with the times? Am I becoming a dining dinosaur? Could be it that the focus of my affront was possibly working as a professional sword swallower with a traveling circus and this downing of the knife was an instinctive action? Does she possibly suffer from a steel deficiency?
I doubt it and I had only drunk half a cup of coffee anyway. In my heart I believe this brief public action was further evidence of the breakdown of good taste in general. This was not an isolated observation. Knife lickers are an increasing phenomenon -as are knife wavers. I frequently witness diners waving their knives in the air with the aplomb of the legendary Zorro. Then there are those who choose to cut up everything on their plate into infant sized scraps before abandoning the knife and eating their miniscule portions exclusively using a fork. It is like they are perpetually three years old and need assistance with swallowing. Or is it that they are incapable of using both implements simultaneously for a protracted period?
I sat there wishing that an alarm could sound each time a person dining in public indiscreetly abused the use of their knife. That would solve the problem almost overnight. I smiled inwardly, took my pen out of my bag and opened my notebook… Knife knowledge needed!