A Cosmic Question for Saturday Evening: why is the elderly gentleman at table 57’s coffee not hot enough?
So I’ve been working part-time in a restaurant since August. I started as a humble bus boy and have since worked my way up to waiting tables and performing several other miscellaneous functions as time and circumstances demand. One thing I’ve noticed as a server is that only customers older than seventy ever send their food or coffee back to the kitchen because it is “not hot enough”.
During the doldrums that plague most seafood restaurants in the wintertime, my co-workers and I have discussed this phenomenon extensively – countless times have we all served still-boiling coffee or sublimating mashed potatoes to elderly customers only to have them complain (ceteris paribus) that their food or beverage is too cold.
The search for explanation reduces to cosmic questions: do elderly people complain their coffee is not hot enough because they’ve lost sensitivity as a function of aging (i.e. is there a biological cause)? Or is there simply a generational preference for very hot coffee similar to preferences for Nat King Cole and John McCain over C.O.D. and Skrillex (i.e. is the cause cultural)?
In a sense, contemplating this question overlaps all the greatest and most important themes of the human condition: fate and volition, life and death, empiricism and rationalism, nature and nurture, the search for meaning and absurdity. I firmly believe that if we can answer once and for all the question why do so many old people send their food back to the kitchen for not being hot enough, we can understand the Mind of God.