A nation holds its... buffet

What is a nation if its citizens cannot hang over the buffet station with a hangover? Or stand at the juice machine topping up the glass until just the pips remain. What sort of life awaits if the joy of pub socialising has to be accompanied by the forced consumption of a carvery dinner, which you throw back while looking at your reflection of a perspex screen. What chance have you of getting an extra ball of mash if you are not there yourself, urging the chef, go on, go on, yes....and all the veg. Potatoes, chips, roast and mash please...

If the queuing for the loos involves a traffic light system, will whole hordes of female revellers have to wait for green at the same time to share their opinions, or can you get a group pass? Can anyone get drunk anymore if they have to book a state of advanced tranmsmogrification online three days before?

If there are no barstools anymore, will we not have barstool barristers telling you ‘wan thing for nothing.” Will you have to fill in a form to be allowed use the outdoor smoking area? No more groups out there, so the solitary smoker remains solitary. No chance of meeting anyone outside, having to eat turkey and ham with all the gravy when inside.

So how is a person to get the shift anymore? Having come through a fallow period where the weekly showing of Normal People was the equivalent of a cookery programme during Lent, how is a man or woman to make eye contact anymore if they’re holding a knife and fork and are scooping up mushroom vol au vents with potatoes and chips on the side.

Let them think longingly of the famous ‘sharing plate’ as they fed each other tapas while seductively licking their fingers. It doesn’t work as well with Chicken a la King.

What about the rules on wedidngs and functions and the insistence that dancers must stand apart? What chance has anyone at life without the slow set? And what about the wedding cup of tea at ten o’clock with the sausages and wings which the greedy uncle (sweatcovered from the Siege of Ennis ) with the big hands normally does best at. Now, these will come indiviually wrapped so he will have to use his fat fingers to unwrap the goujon.

Think of those poor peanuts on the bar counter, unable to pass on salmonella anymore. Think of the bar staff who have to hold glasses by the stem or base and who must place it on a counter before pouring. The thrilling days of those cocktail showmen are gone...What about the little umbrellas you get with your cocktail? No more fruity embellishments on that stick.

Think of the poor business executive on expenses now that the hotel minibars are no longer and there are no extra pillows. When room service is left outside the door and you have to bring it in yourself (having probably fed the lads who walked by it a minute earlier ). Think of the spas that have now to offer express management treatments rather than therapies that involve touch. Think of having to look like Mark Spitz while you avail of your time slot in the hotel pool.

It’s a brave new world of individually-covered straws out there but one we will have to become accustomed to. Whether it’s forwards or backwards, we won’t know for some time.


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