Ever drive past Irises and the Pepper on City Hall Place or Olive Ridley’s on Court Street and feel the urge to reach out the window and grab a cheeseburger, perhaps some seared tuna or maybe even a plateful of burritos?
My throat once experienced its own drought and I nearly swiped a sweaty glass of Switchback when I recalled, sitting behind the wheel of my Subaru Outback, drinking and driving is dangerous and illegal. What should be illegal is modeling that beer inches from my car window.
If you are wondering what I’m ranting about, it’s outdoor seating at area eateries. A few of our local establishments have set up shop in parking spots along well-traveled streets.
It’s a yearly tradition. The snow melts, though this year it never really fell, the sun warms the outside, spring blossoms color the area, trees and grass go green, and restaurants slap tables and chairs in parking spots along the street.
The first time I saw this I thought, “cool,” followed by, “I want that Philly Cheese Steak,” which, as I drove by, was replaced by, “I think I could actually reach out my window and grab that Philly Cheese steak.” I haven’t tried yet, but every time I drive by I wonder.
A few times I have seen friends and considered high fiving them on the way by, but I know I’d pull a, “heehee, you’re too slow,” and grab the plate of spaghetti. It’s especially difficult to restrain myself when it’s a plate of chocolate cake dripping with syrup, or deep fried ice cream.
There is a barrier between myself and the patrons in the form of jersey barricades, which restaurant employees kindly paint. But the cement barriers are barely knee high and really are only meant to stop a car from blasting into the tables on the off chance a passing driver sneezes or is texting and doesn’t see the car in front of him or her stop.
Reach Editor Stephen Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.