Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Tips For Dining Out With People Who Are At Least Partly Bats

Dining out with people who are at least partly bats can be difficult. While they look much like the rest of us, people who are partly bats navigate mostly by sonar and thus tend to make loud and, to human ears, inappropriate noises, in order to assess their current positions. This can be awkward. Here are some of the ways you can minimize the discomfort and maximize your enjoyment when dining with these special people.

Bat people (not to be confused with Batman, who's just a rich guy with a gravely voice that might or might not annoy you, but which really isn't inappropriate) tend to screech or speak really loudly for the first ten or fifteen seconds of a conversation until they hear their own voices echoing off the walls around them, at which point they tend to realize that they're shouting in your face and begin using their 'indoor voice'. If however, there is a lapse in conversation, bat people will have to perform this recalibration all over again, forcing you to endure more fire alarm like screeching and shouting. Best to just keep them talking incessantly. This may force you to endure all sorts of discussions (bat people are suprisingly keen on talking politics) but it beats having them repeatedly hearing them get going from a cold start. When in doubt, ask for a detailed account of the weather in their area.

When ordering, bat people tend to talk to their waiter or waitress as if this person is deaf. Adding a new person to the conversational mix forces them to perform their sonar related screaming, and often the waiter or waitress is not around long enough to see that the bat person quiets down after performing this check. Instead, the bat person will often scream their order, possibly along with a lengthy series of clicks, and sometimes point animatedly to the menu. Short of ordering for the bat person in your party (they usually hate this, but you may find one amenable) there's little you can do about this. Best to leave the area and place your order separately if possible, thus minimizing the chances it will be dropped on the floor or spit on by a less that understanding server.

If they can be convinced to go the take out route, bat people are extremely well suited to ordering from drive thrus, where their handicaps prove to be strengths, allowing them to get orders through on the second or third try where it would take you or I seven or eight.

If you happen to be dining out with more than one person who is at least partly a bat, and you happen to be called away to say, the restroom, and upon return you discover that your companions have allowed a lapse in conversation to develop, the best thing is to run. With both bat people needing to recalibrate their voices, and a strong chance that their conversation will be political, the table is now a powder keg and you should get out of there before one of them starts screaming and clicking about republicans and the other about democrats.

Depending on the degree to which your companions are actually bats, they may also engage in other 'strange' behavior, including but not limited to, futile efforts at flight, attempts to eat inedible items from the table, attempts to eat condiments, yelling at condiments to determine their distance, and in the case of people who are partly vampire bat, attempts to draw blood from restaurant employees. Knowing these things in advance may not allow you to stop them, but may allow you to choose a more appropriate restaurant, for instance, a Chuck E Cheese, where these behaviors will not be so out of the norm.

Bat people have a lot to offer, and should not be confined to their homes simply because their particularities make them awkward dining companions. That said, it's your job as a dining companion to do your best to minimize the confusion and maximize the fun when in the company of these special people.

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