Paper ‘plates’

Eating establishments these days are doing their utmost to be trendy, as evidenced by the number of meals you’ll find served up on lumps of wood or quirky, impractical crockery; accompaniments presented in miniature items of cooking utensils, and – the subject of today’s rant – burgers, presented on small trays.

It’s not the small trays that bug me, but rather the ridiculous convention of placing a sheet of thin, decorative paper between food and tray. It’s a habit that pubs, restaurants and other non-burger focused establishments seem to have adopted, presumably to replicate the authentic burger joint experience, giving the illusion that your burger came wrapped in the paper upon which it now reclines. I find that more than a little weird – if I wanted the authentic burger joint experience, complete with food packed in Styrofoam, lard shakes, sticky melanine tables and obnoxious kids running around, then I’d have gone to Maccy Ds in the first place!

However, it’s not even the odd efforts to bring a decent eating experience down to the level of a cheap and miserable Happy Meal that really winds me up, its the fact that unlike a Chicken Royale, or whatever your favourite mass market mechanically recovered reconstituted meat product patty might be, that sheet of wafer thin paper has no practical purpose. Unlike your McMonstrosity – where it serves as a functional and useful wrapper, doubling as a convenient and sensible means for holding your burger without mess or unpleasant deconstruction – when placed beneath your double wagyu truffle burger, miniature kettle of sweet potato skinny fries and healthy dollup of gourmet coleslaw, all designed to be consumed with knife and fork, that layer of paper becomes a complete nightmare.

There are few gastronomic experiences worse, in my opinion, than having to contend with a soggy, torn mess of paper half way through your meal. You end up ingesting equal quantities of cellulose, mayonnaise and lettuce, and spend most of your time combing through the contents of your fork to dispose of greasy paper fragments – it’s thoroughly unpleasant, and completely unnecessary.

One of the things I do like about SL is that, despite trying hard, it always manages to miss the boat when it comes to being trendy. Certainly, The Lab does its best to keep up with what’s going on in the wider world, but things in SL tend to happen painfully slowly, which means that when all the new-fangled stuff does eventually arrive on the scene, it’s old news elsewhere and we’ve all had a chance to get used to the idea and decide whether it’s for us or not. We’ve seen it in the past with mesh, scripting, physics, avatar bones, pathfinding, experiences… Things that the wider digital community have known about and been playing with for a while, sometimes years, but by the time they’ve finally hit SL they’re really nothing new to the well-informed. And, unlike my grotty bit of burger paper, we almost always have the choice whether or not we want to be ‘on trend’ – we can choose not to Bentofy our bodies, ignore experience offers, and stick with our system avatars; we’re rarely forced to conform to the Big New Thing if we’d rather not – and that’s the second thing that endears me to SL: We don’t have to do stuff if we don’t want to.

People complain about the length of time that it takes for new inworld development, but for the reasons I’ve just mentioned, I personally welcome the chance for a cooling-off period before the next great innovation becomes available, and that we have the freedom not to engage if we so wish. Development does go on, no matter what the naysayers may have you believe, but we’ll never have the shiny new trendy things when they’re shiny, new and trendy elsewhere… We’ll get them though, eventually. So, if you want the stuff that’s all the rage right now – 360º images, 3D viewing, animated mesh, and so on – then you’re just going to have to wait, I’m afraid – although maybe not all that long for some of them. However, at least by the time they arrive in SL, we’ll all be familiar with those concepts and will have had the opportunity to consider both their merits and their downsides, and then we can decide whether we want any part of it anyway.

Which I kinda like.

s. x

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant

This entry was posted in Half-Baked, Linden Love, Philosophicalisticality, Rants, RL, SL. Bookmark the permalink.

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