Runner kicked out of restaurant

I was very worried about joining an early morning run and breakfast last Sunday. My table manners are not the best. I was also afraid of blunders and gaffes that would cause speculation among my peers that my birthplace is a common farm building that houses cows.

Runners heading out, warmly dressed in 4 degree F. temperatures.

Runners heading out, warmly dressed in 4 degree F. temperatures.

I was one of sixteen people who went to breakfast at Italia Trattoria, pictured below, after a five-mile run. However, because I suffered a minor calf muscle tear a week earlier, I walked with another attendee, Eric Cameron, who’s also recovering from an injury.

ItaliaPictured below is part of our group, enjoying breakfast and good conversation. Everyone is a member of the Manito Running Club, and most of us have been running together for a few years. Gary Lewis, who’s wearing the long sleeve white tee, organized the event.

runners eat3Things started off fairly well for me. I didn’t cause a dishslide by tilting the table as I sat, and when I took a sip of orange juice, none dribbled onto my shirt. However, I dropped my napkin on the floor under the table, and when I reached for it, I bonked my head on the table, causing a clatter of dishes and silverware. Nothing fell or broke, and I laughed it off as most of the restaurant’s patrons stared at me.

Only later did I realize I committed a minor faux pas. In the photo below, I’m wearing my coat and cap, which I failed to remove the whole time I was there. I also discovered that Lensa Etana, with the purple coat, and Julie Wilson, who’s sitting across from her, put their coats on to support me, lending credibility to restaurant coat-wearing as if I were trying to start a new trend.

runners eat4After our group shared an appetizer, my meal came, and the server warned the plate was hot. Though I heard his warning, it didn’t fully register. The food looked so delicious and was so attractively arranged that I grabbed my plate and tilted it to show my friends. My hands were instantly seared, and when I dropped it on the table, really, really, hot sauce splashed in my face. It was like drops of molten lava hitting me. The pain was so intense that I let loose the loudest scream ever scrum by human vocal cords. The entire restaurant went silent.

It didn’t take the manager ten seconds to come to the table, tell me he’d had enough, and point at the door. Leaving my spilled food untouched, I walked out of the morgue-like restaurant.

runners eat1Later, I was heartened to learn that my fellow Manito Runners Club members, feeling bad about my misfortune, held a group toast, shouting out, “Jim Johnson – he’s still an okay guy.”