Flying Finger of Fate 

Where waiters and diners tell tales.

Not long ago as I waited in line at a sparkling new downtown Berkeley cafe, a noticeably agitated customer tried to get the attention ofcounter help. I had put in my order for fish tacos when the customer thrust out part of his lunch on a paper napkin, pointing out a familiar-looking tubular thing in the center. At first I thought it was a large piece of calamari.

The customer felt he needed to add that he had "chewed on the thing" before spitting it out. I swallowed hard.

I don't know who I'd fault most: the customer for pointing out his disgust, or the restaurant manager for dismissing his concerns. Despite a polite explanation that the foreign object was just "part of a finger from a rubber glove" (and not, I suppose, the human digit), I haven't been back. Funny how the smallest thing can affect the appetite.

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