Saved By a Pen

Have you ever had a frantic experience at a restaurant ?

For months, we had been anticipating dining at a new Italian restaurant, in St. John’s, the oldest city in North America. It had been receiving rave reviews on the internet !

Every six weeks, or so, we leave our charming, laid-back fishing town, to partake in the joys of city living.

We arrived at the restaurant at 1:30, to avoid the lunch rush. The restaurant was somewhat noisy, but we were hungry, and specifically wanted to try the authentic Neopolitan cooking, so we came in, and gave our food request to the kind server.

The restaurant’s noise level increased quickly. Music was blasting loudly, and people, trying to make conversation, spoke even louder. It was evident that conversation was going going to be impossible in this noisy place !

Making the best of this dining chaos, I took my pen from my purse, and a piece of paper. The pen was a gift from my husband in 1990.

Using the pen and paper, we communicated to each other by writing notes to each other. It was fun, and romantic too. The act of writing calmed us, and made us laugh too.

Our food arrived, and it was delicious as promised. However, we ate much more quickly than we usually do, because we wanted to escape the noise.

Restaurants will sometimes purposely play loud music to encourage diners to eat and drink, and not linger, thus making room for more diners, and more profits.

However, working in such a noisy environment can be harmful to the hearing health of the restaurant staff. Decibel levels above 85 in the environment, for a prolonged time, can damage hearing. It is possible to download decibel meters onto iPhones, to check sound levels we are exposed to in an increasingly noisy world. We are all responsible to protect our precious sense of hearing.

I contacted the management of the restaurant to express my concern about noise levels. I may, or I may not ‘hear ‘ from them.

Let us thank God for our sense of physical , and spiritual hearing. May we increasingly become more sensitive to the quiet whispering of the Holy Spirit, and the cries of our brothers and sisters for help.

18 thoughts on “Saved By a Pen

  1. Sally, this is a very good article and brings to our attention something I’ve always had a pet peeve about. To me eating such a delectable meal should be done in a calm and loving environment not in a hangout joint which is what this restaurant has sunken to becoming quite well known and popular but not a fine dining experience at all. They made the choice to go for all the gusto which is obviously revolving around making bigger money! You’re absolutely right about the decibels being a health hazard and working in such an environment would require protection for all employees or the noise would have to be reduced one way or the other. Personally i would totally pass on such an experience regardless if the food was as good as my dear departed grandmothers who knew all the old recipes passed down for generations through family from Italy in that very “authentic Neapolitan” region of Naples! I would prefer to stay home and try to cook up something not even remotely as good as grandmother’s and just reminisce than deal with that place you and your husband tried out; as I’m sure many get caught up in the hype similarly hearing all the rave reviews and figure just for the novelty of being able to say we tried it like so many others are doing! I never was a guy who follows any crowd or chic in thing or fad. Even as a boy I was going to walk to a local airport near my grandparent’s farm where there was a small airshow happening and I loved watching airplanes and building models of them. My grandfather gave me a piece of advice which stuck in my head like glue, he said; “son just be sure not to sit in the crowd or even be very close to them all, find a place offset from all the crowd and one where you get more elevation so you are more up looking down at what’s happening, that way if anything happens you’ll be safer.” I learned many such lessons from my grandparents and parents about many things, thank God. Again as far as dining out I love to do that too once in a while but I like to find a small venue say like a small family run quaint and cozy place with more like a candlelight fine dining quiet experience where you can actually hear the eating utensils clanking against plates of delicious food and the subtle softly speaking voices of the other patrons obviously enjoying a very good meal in a charming atmosphere, a little like being at the grandparents while being out someplace for a little interesting fun change of pace.
    Thank you for all this inspiration and getting me going; and hungry too! Good that I have some leftover Cheese Ravioli in a tomato sauce or gravy depending on who you talk to around here, which I just made from scratch last night, simmering very slowly for a few hours! Good timing on this for sure Sally! Those leftovers with some buttered up Italian Bread later on is going to hit the spot and then some along with your article going to have me remembering all that past love with the food!!!
    God Bless You and Your,
    Lawrence
    “mangi bene” 😋🍝

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    1. Hi Lawrence !
      Thanks so much for your comments ! The ravioli sounds delicious! I remember being in Italy, and Italians ‘ relationship with food is truly amazing !
      Your grandparents words to you were very wise.
      I too, would rather enjoy food slowly prepared and enjoyed here by the sea.
      I am planning to download a Sound Meter app. on my phone to check volumes of noise in certain places.
      For sure, restaurant employees should not be at risk of hearing loss from their noisy working environment.
      Thanks again for your interesting comments.
      Just as a followup, I did hear back very quickly from the owners of the restaurant, thanking me for the feedback. They are going to check out the volume levels, and offered me two free meals if I choose to come back again. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey very cool Sally! 😁 Now that’s not bad getting a free pass like you did to dine again!!! That I would do for sure, as you said the food is fantastic and they now know how you felt about the experience being grand other than the crushing sound, which maybe can be alleviated in the meantime as well they could seat you in a more tucked away location too maybe and have you keep in mind perhaps a day of the week and time frame when things are a bit less hectic which may or may not be possible! Heck I would even wear earplugs if I had to just to dampen the sound and get me back there! I’m sure the next time it will be improved and perhaps everyone will gain some good from your valuable input too! Yes, get that db meter and see what’s going on so you can plan accordingly in many of your activities and travels. I used to use one of those a different style than today but decades ago in some of my work but sound audio/recording engineers in production work were always doing sound checks, lol.
        I bet you can cook up a storm there by the sea with some very delectable dishes; as I also might add sea food is another favorite of mine! I have some North Atlantic Sea Scallops frozen that I may get around to baking this weekend but I also love deep sea Halibut or Swordfish now and then along with Cod. I haven’t been up on the latest data with regard to the ocean fishes, but I hope the various species are still very plentiful! One of my brother-in-laws used to own a large steel hull fishing trawler that he bought from his Captains family when the guy passed away suddenly and my brother-in-law was his first mate and had been fishing since 16! He used to give me plenty of free everything when he had that going on and if I was around! Not that simple anymore but I sure appreciated all of it back then, great memories there too!
        I bet those trips to Italy were delightful for the food and worth the trip lol! I think most people including me after spending an appreciable amount of time there and eating the Italian way when they get back here need a little diet anyway! You’re right the relationship Italians have with food is deep and strong; I admit I can tend to stuff my face a bit on most of the old school cooked meals! Good thing I was never having any weight issue being 5’10’’ about 180 and from high school age till now luckily the same bp of 120/80 with a few variations due to illness or stress over the years but always passed and no meds! Thank God, so I eat as I like mostly!
        Well, glad my commentary, so long lol, was helpful or fun in some way and let us know what the follow-up visit to the restaurant goes like!!!
        All the best,
        Lawrence 🌊

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      2. Thanks, Lawrence ! We have lots of seafood here, but much of it gets shipped to foreign markets, especially Japan.
        When we first arrived in NL, I bought a beautiful salmon fillet, and when I looked at the package, I saw that it had been processed in China !
        We have a fisherman friend who brought us fresh cod, which I have frozen for winter use. We see fishing boats pass by the house going out to sea during fishing season.
        Always nice to hear from you, Lawrence. 🤗

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      3. You’re welcome Sally and wow, see that the money is the thing so I had no idea some of the locally caught fish is frozen most likely and shipped overseas for processing immediately! This is another big topic of discussion sometime; I really don’t like it; and want our locally caught wild foods available straight from the boat to the store or even to our own hands like I used to get! Smart for you to get that Cod like that and put it away! Do that whenever your friends or contacts offer which I’m sure you will!!! I buy these one and half pound bags of Sea Scallops from the BJ’s Wholesale Stores when I get to them and they appear to be caught and packaged straightaway in the region but now I’m going to start paying more attention to anything packaged and I might have to call my brother-in-law to ask who his best contacts are now to see what I can do to drum up locally caught right off the ship and freeze more of it like you did! Thanks again always great to read your posts and you sure got me thinking and laughing at the same time! 🤗

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      4. You’re welcome Sally! Those are two of the best activities to have going on! As a kid I was always a bit of a clown and performer for family and friends then I did some theatre; but over the years especially the last several the laughter decreased but even so nothing seems to be able to extinguish that spark of comedic thought deep down inside and I think I inherently know that once I give up laughing especially at myself I’ll be in big trouble; so I keep the joy of laughter always somewhere near the surface of my personality! Holy Scripture does speak about a merry heart, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22. “There is no doubt that God must have at least some kind of a sense of humor. After all, we are created in His image. God even made Sarah laugh by giving her a child in old age!”
        Sally, I can imagine our heavenly Father having laughter with us while in heaven but even here when we show that we have resilience to let things roll off and not take to heart things that we may have to accept for one reason of another the good with the bad; but still try to see the humor in it too. After all when I really think about it; we humans really are funny in many ways, not just looking either!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, so very true ! Silence is important, the Holy Spirit often speaks so silently to us.
      As a follow -up, the owners of the restaurant did reply to my concern, and are going to check out the volume in the restaurant.
      Peace and quiet are usually associated together. We never hear of : ‘ Peace and noise.’
      Thanks for commenting. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Heartily 🤣
      See I was laughing so hard I wasn’t even thinking straight and made a big typo and clicked post without really looking! I better calm down now I have some things to do here! Haha!
      Well first I’ll finish laughing heartily not hardily; which I think my brain blurted out due to laughing hard! 🤣

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  2. Pity your lunch and time together was rushed because of the elevated music pitched in the restaurant. Great food, as you said … however, the event and expected ambiance suffered for it.

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    1. Hi Michael !
      I did receive a reply from the restaurant owner when I wrote expressing concern about the loud noise. They said they would look into bettering the acoustics in the restaurant. They invited me to give them another chance. It is good to speak up about noise levels, since probably others were bothered too. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, Sally. Loud music has a place. However, I don’t believe it’s while customers are dining in a nice restaurant is one of them. Happy to “hear” you’ve received a response from the owner. I’m certain if they receive enough valued opinions, a resolution will be in effect soon.

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