The e-mail subject line stood out, ironically, for its total lack of appeal.
“Dine in the kitchen!” it said. Or something like that. I’m not sure of the exact wording, because I didn’t even finish reading it before clicking that little trashcan icon.
I don’t need a daily deal purchase to get a chance to dine in the kitchen. I do it pretty frequently at no charge. Not as often as I dine at my desk or on the sofa, but yeah, I do eat in my kitchen sometimes.
The e-mail wasn’t promoting my kitchen, of course. It was selling an “opportunity” to dine at a “chef’s table” in some restaurant I’d never heard of.
Of all the nutty restaurant trends of recent years, the dine-in-kitchen trend puzzles me most. Can any restaurant area possibly be more disgusting? I’ve had the chef’s table experience just once, which was more than enough for a woman who has been known to go to extraordinary lengths to avoid sitting at tables where the kitchen is visible even momentarily through a swinging door.
Sadly, that e-mail offer was one of about a dozen sitting in my inbox that virtually screamed “delete me!” I thought these things were supposed to be tailored to my interests with the help of eager little digital leprechauns who track everything I do and say on the Internet. The leprechauns who spy on me apparently limit their research to learning my ZIP code, which explains all the Botox and Coach bag offers.
Seeing these unappealing sales pitches day after day reminds me of just how many products, services and “opportunities” fall into the category of Things I Don’t Get. Narrowing it down isn’t easy, but if I had to pick my Top 10, they would be:
Parents who are not only willing but actually eager to dine with their children at school. At the beginning of every year, my son’s school sends out an email welcoming parents to eat lunch with their children, but asking that they please, if they can bear it, wait a couple of weeks until daily routines are well-established. Do they mean the routine of gagging at the odor of that industrial-sized vat of lasagna that smells exactly like the industrial-sized vat of lasagna in my own school cafeteria 35 years ago? Can anyone blame me for suspecting it’s the same vat?
Video chatting. Probably the most depressing recent development in my life has been my out-of-town relatives’ discovery of Skype and FaceTime. Catching a glimpse of my aging face in that little corner window of the screen can really ruin an evening. A call comes in, and I am face to (my own) face with the realities of time running out, of all those diems I have neglected to carpe. Must I suffer all this existential angst just because some wrinkle-free young tech geek thought plain old voice calls weren’t good enough?
Audio books. I’m sure they’re a blessing for people with visual impairments or reading disabilities, but for everyone else, I have a question: Isn’t reading the whole point of books? If I wanted to hear someone talk, I’d invite an elementary-school girl over. They never stop talking.
Fluorescent lights in homes. I’ve resigned myself to compact fluorescent bulbs, which I despise, but those overhead lights that are actually fluorescent tubes, like you see in offices? My house has those in the kitchen. The builder is lucky I haven’t sued for aesthetic malpractice.
People who leave political yard signs up long after their candidates have lost. I’m not talking about the Romney-Ryan signs you still see here and there. I’m talking about the house I saw last summer whose yard proudly sported a McCain-Palin sign. A shiny, unblemished, obviously well-cared-for McCain-Palin sign. If anything is more disturbing than dining in a restaurant kitchen, this is it.
People who want to “get away from it all.” Isolation disturbs me on a profound level, which is why I’ve been lying awake at night lately thinking about that family of six who lived in a hand-built log cabin in a remote area of Siberia, cut off from all human contact, for most of the 20th century. I read the entire Smithsonian magazine article about it in a single sitting, horrified. I should have known better than to read it while I was still recovering from that Tom Hanks movie “Castaway,” which I saw about 10 years ago. Too soon.
Reality shows featuring trashy people. I can appreciate reality shows featuring actual trash, like those shows about hoarders. They improve my outlook regarding my own house considerably. But the shows that document the train-wreck lives of drunken twentysomethings or lowbrow beauty-pageant mamas sound revolting. As does the notion that those drunks and mamas are making more money than I ever will.
Bra-fitting events. Seriously? You can’t tell whether your bra fits? A boutique down the street from me has these things on a regular basis. I’ve always been tempted to sneak in, just so I can document this odd little feature of the Johnson County lifestyle. Maybe when that Honey Boo Boo person gets old enough for a bra, I can turn it into a reality show.
“Low T.” C’mon, guys. You can say the word. It’s “testosterone.” Can you imagine women being this squeamish about their own biology? We’d have “B cancer” fundraisers and joke about the hot flashes of “M pause.” Would a play called “The V Monologues” ever have become a global phenomenon of women’s empowerment? I think not.
Parenting books, parenting websites and parenting “experts.” Human beings have been raising children for tens of thousands of years. It is not rocket science. Get over yourselves, “experts.” You’re the ones who told me that if I just set a good example, day after day, year after year, my son would turn into an eager vegetable eater and book reader. You are fools. If you truly think you can transform my son’s attitude on these matters, feel free to stop by and chat with him about it over dinner.
My kitchen and its chef’s table are waiting.
Sarah Smith Nessel, a 913 freelance columnist, writes The Bubble each week.