I was so excited this morning. I woke up, made my bed and charged my laptop. I headed down Avenue C on a mini-adventure. Some people like to call what I was doing a “stay-cation.” As in, a vacation in your own town. I want to beat these people to death with a flaming mattress.
But I digress from the point.
In a few weeks, I’m going to Spain. It has me craving Spanish things … experiences, music, foods. I’ve eaten at Huertas twice in the last week. Absolutely go here. It’s great!
I keep buying pint containers of olives at Whole Foods. Then I dig the big, buttery ones out from the bottom with my fingers. Then I suck the brine juice off my fingers like a total animal, because life is too short for napkins.
Spain is everywhere for me right now. I’m reading a lot of Hemingway. I’m thinking a lot about bullfights. I wonder if attending one would be similar to the cockfights I watched in Manila? There is something adamantly wrong about it … yet at the same time, it’s animals fighting. It’s simple. Primal. It’s a reminder that in our modern world, we don’t encounter the dirt and blood and carnage like they do elsewhere. And, I like that.
And, really, this is one of my favorite things about travel. I like the foreplay. Digging around for clues of what to see, where to eat … downloading great books for the flight and making packing lists. I like the excitement … of impending excitement!
So, this morning I headed down to Bikinis. It’s a tiny Spanish place I have walked past and read about on my favorite food site, Immaculate Infatuation. They gave it a glowing review that you can read here.
I wanted to read the NY Times while I ate, maybe research Barcelona hotels. I’d already scoped the menu. I’d already decided whole-heartedly on Huevos con Xistorra, with two sunny-side eggs, manchego cheese, manzanilla olives and challah toast. It has Xistorra! I don’t even know what that is, but believe me when I tell you, I was primed to eat heaps of it.
Or. Wait. No. Maybe not.
I walked in alone. I sat. The lady seemed friendly. I was the only person in there.
Then … our conversation began.
“I’m sorry. You cannot use your laptop in here.”
“We do not allow for laptops. We are a Spanish restaurant.”
(Inside head, Brain is trying to figure out how Spain currently exists in 2014 without laptops. Whoa. Mind blown.)
“Uh … I’m sorry, but I honestly find that a bit bizarre. You mean … even though it’s completely empty in here … I can’t read something on my laptop? Or edit photos?”
“No. We want to make sure everyone is talking to each other.”
“But I’m the only person in here. There’s no one for me to talk to. I really need to get these photos edited. I don’t need your Wifi, and I promise I’ll leave right after eating.”
“I’m sorry. You cannot have that laptop in here.”
“But I really don’t understand why if I’m the only customer …”
“Because it is forbidden.”
Annnnnd … I left. Hungry … and beneath a tiny cloud of cyber shame. I was going to possibly review my meal there. Now I’m reviewing my experience here on the blog.
Hey Bikinis …
Had you been bustling and busy, I could have understood not wanting laptops in there. I can understand not wanting to become an accidental Wifi café.
Regardless … your customer service sucked this morning.
I can’t understand why I was made to leave your establishment because I choose to save trees and read the NY Times on a device. I also had my Kindle. Would that have been an issue? What about reading Vogue on an iPad? Or Playboy on my iPhone, perhaps? It’s 2014 … laptops and devices are part of our lives and the way we live them. They are the same as a magazine, and I doubt you would have been so rude if I had opened up an Elle.
I’m not saying you can’t have policies against laptops. I’m just saying that you also need logic and reason to apply to those policies on a situation-by-situation basis. At the base of everything, you need good customer service, because I can just go eat olives at Huertas.
Or I can visit these killer Huevos Rancheros they serve at Coppelia – a place that handles their Wifi situation by giving you Wifi, so long as you are still eating. Once you’re plate is gone, they want you to stop lap-topping. No problem!
Oh … and Hey, Bikinis … the rather hilarious thing about this experience is, I’m both a local and a food journalist. So, I took my laptop to another spot after you threw me out. I paid them money, ate there and then wrote this whole blog about not eating at your spot. Irony, right?
Hey, Readers! Shall we have a ’90s movie moment? Maybe cue a certain scene we all know and love from Pretty Woman in our heads?
Big mistake. Big. Huuuuuge.
Oh … and I Googled it. They do have laptops in Spain.