Palate Pleasures, Great Expectations

Comments (0) Palate Pleasures

How often in life does it seem the amount of time, energy, money and effort spent towards a particular outcome, the more likelihood there is of some level of spectacular disappointment/ failure inherent in the result of the final product?

Perhaps overfull of Easter terminology, it can be said that this tendency to place all our “eggs in one basket” raises hopes for this one particular facet of our lives to an unnaturally high level, and then conversely allows for higher than normal expectations and benchmarks for failure. 

On the other hand, isn’t it reasonably true that the best times and most exceptional memories in life often occur when we absolutely do not expect them, and are somehow the product of a whole lot of random elements coming together and just working out? Or perhaps if we look a bit deeper, we might find that because we weren’t particularly attached to the scenario at hand and didn’t feel the need to sweat the small stuff, furthermore not remotely expecting the greatest night of our life – that somehow the path to happiness happened to have way less obstacles than usual …

Who can tell? And not wanting to get too deep and meaningful here, I’ll get to the point.

Which is when it comes to, for example, a night out at a restaurant – especially for a special occasion – there can be this level of presssure for all involved to perform. And then some. Here lies a perfect breeding ground for mismanaged expectations. And, there are so many opportunities for failure here – if one little thing goes wrong, the whole house of cards comes crashing down … the night is a disaster, the memory of the occasion forever tarnished. 

The usual human instinct to forgive, to move on, to see the glass half full in the situation has been temporarily disabled – because of all those things – the bill at the end (ouch), the anticipation, the milestone event being celebrated.

That’s not to say we, on the other side, aren’t aware of our responsibility to deliver the very best we can. And we really, really try to do that. But life isn’t so much scripted and stylised like that. It’s random and haphazard, to say the least. So when you find yourself on a romantic night out seated next to a loud and cackling party, or it’s raining, or you might have had to wait a minute while we organised your table on a busy night, or even you just didn’t enjoy your main course like you expected to …

Yes, and there are a few things there that we can take ownership of and should be doing our very best to right for you (e.g. simply not liking what’s on your plate for whatever reason!) There’s all manner of mistakes we can make, inconsistencies, flies in soup and over-rushed or too slow modes of table service …

But that’s not what we are talking about here – it’s perhaps realising that all of life’s imperfections can even follow you right here on this supposedly perfect night. And sometime that is our fault, but sometimes it isn’t …

Take the harried disorganised other half who realises with horror that they haven’t booked the anniversary diner their loved one has been expecting. Suddenly it’s the day before and – shock horror – it is a Saturday night of a long weekend. The establishment does their best to squeeze the said party in, but sadly a request for a “table with a view for a special occasion” cannot be honoured at this late stage and spectacularly busy night. 

The diner is livid and blames us for ruining their special night … Hmm. There’s more to this than meets the eye, and a good dollop of – even without prior planning – still harbouring those expectations of perfection! 

Not wanting to harp on here, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too – for that night out to be as mind-blowingly fabulous as you expected it to be, but realistic expectations are beneficial to all involved … and that goes for life in general, not just restaurant life!

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