Temas Especiales

15 de Jan de 2021

Nacional

How to politely say “butt out”

What do you do when a party of smokers sits in a covered non smoking area of a well known restaurant and ignore the appeals of the wait ...

What do you do when a party of smokers sits in a covered non smoking area of a well known restaurant and ignore the appeals of the wait staff to butt out? I witnessed just such an incident at Rhino’s Italian restaurant in Bella Vista on Thursday evening.

Every time the sliding floor to the balcony was opened, clouds of cigarette and cigar smoke drifted in, to the visible discomfort of nearby diners.

Two tables drew the attention of the wait staff to the problem, and more pleas were made, in Spanish, to the transgressors.

Finally, an elderly customer ventured to the door and with the opening lines “Gentlemen, the waiter has asked me to translate for you” went on to point out that the establishment could face sanctions if reported for allowing smoking in a non-smoking area. He mentioned that smoking was allowed on a balcony on the other side of the entrance. There was a brief pause. The “translator” wished the smokers (European) a Happy New Year, and they quietly moved to the other balcony.

That’s when they got a lucky break. They bumped into two charming young Panamanians at a nearby table, and when the translator left, the two groups had merged.

It’s not always what you say, but how you say it.

Which brings me back to yesterday’s tongue in cheek forecasts of events in Panama during 2009. I have had several calls and e-mails with other items, but with limited space, we can’t use them all. But here are a few before we close the book on crystal gazing.

CELL PHONES - With more competitors coming into the market Panama could be heading for the Guinness Book of Records, for per-capita use of the phones. They will be used by chatterers who like to discuss the latest fashion trends while weaving their SUVs in an out of the traffic on our main thoroughfares and jumping the occasional red light while ooing and aahing about that wonderful new hair designer, just in from Miami.

They will also fall into the hands of cinema goers who will chat before the lights go down, and take calls while the movie is on, and will be snatched up by those couples who have nothing more to say to each other as they walk side by side or sit at a restaurant table, chatting away on their substitutions for a security blanket.

DDD Delgado Diamente the former Minister of Justice, will be answering questions about his role in the shooting death of a soldier, in the days of the Dictator ManuelNoriega.

ELECTIONEERING PRD Presidential candidate the Cholita, Balbina Herrera will continue to sport her Cartier spectacles as she hugs her supporters who would have to work for three months to pay for the trinket. She will also continue to drop hints about medications taken by poll leading candidate Ricardo Martinelli and question the price levels in his supermarket chain 99.

Martinelli will respond with his campaign slogans about those who enter the assembly poor, and leave rich.