Hibachi has been my favorite food for most of my life. I love every aspect of it, from the cheesy jokes, to the roaring flames, to the sodium-induced coma. My last experience was delicious, but our chef was noticeably odd. I could tell from the moment he walked up he was either about to fall asleep or quit. I think it was the latter.
"Here's the volcano," he mumbled as he haphazardly set the onion stack ablaze.
"I'm not tossing shrimp for y'all to catch, you'll have to come back tomorrow for that," he said in a I'm-joking-but-for-real tone.
"It's fireworks," he uttered out as he shook salt and pepper over the flame.
It went on like this the whole time. His disinterest was so obvious everyone at the table chuckled and made a comment about it after he left.
He was either having a terrible day or was one pile of fried rice away from a different career.
I get it, though. We've all been there. Whether it's pushing through a day when you just aren't feeling it or trying your very best to hold on to something you really need to move on from, it can be a debilitating feeling.
Again, the food was delicious. I will gladly keep going back. But I sure hope our chef has found some joy or a new job by then.
It would be easy to complain in this situation, right? I've loved coming to eat hibachi for so long, my expectations weren't met, our chef wasn't entertaining, etc.
I really didn't care at all, though, and I think this is why...
My aim in writing has been to notice and better understand what's happening around me. It shifts the perspective from having a poor dining experience to having an insight. Everything becomes increasingly more interesting when it's less about what's happening and more about why.
I'm actually really glad our chef was bored or quitting soon. I wouldn't be writing right now and you wouldn't be reading if he hadn't.
The age old adage, "Seek first to understand then be understood," is great not just for increasing empathy in the world but for making life way more interesting and enjoyable.