Letter to the Editors of the Texas Travesty: Do they have Wi-Fi at this Benihana?

By: Leland Honeycutt

I’m a busy man. I work 9 to 5, 5 days a week, answering calls and writing reports for a medium-sized tech company in an up-and-coming neighborhood. My wife and 3 freckled children depend on me to be up to speed with the demands of my work at all times. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. One slip, one late report, and I could be gone.

Tonight, upon walking into my local Benihana for an evening of good food and wholesome fun, I asked a simple question, a measly demand, of the kimono-clad hostess—whether or not I’d be able to connect to Wi-Fi and get some work done at the table. It’s Friday, and I’ve got some end of week reports that need to be submitted by 7 PM. Imagine the stunned look on my face when the hostess, with a smile that betrayed her condescension, told me they have a “Hang up and Hang out” policy in the dining room and that it would be unwise to use any electronics once seated.

So here I am twenty minutes later, the chef is juggling his spatulas and spinning a sharp fork-like instrument dangerously close to my eldest daughter’s head and I brashly decide, “The hostess lied to me. There’s more to this story.” Ignoring the culinary spectacle unfolding in front of me, I push my bowl of lukewarm miso soup aside, take my laptop out of my briefcase and daringly check the available Wi-Fi networks.

“What’s this?” I ask myself under my breath as the available networks widget on my screen becomes populated with not one, but two available networks: LINKSYS02418 and, though I can barely believe my eyes, BENIHANA-GUEST.

I double click on BENIHANA-GUEST faster than you can say “Imperial Steak with Mushrooms.” I’ve made it. I turn around in my seat and give the hostess a nasty glare. Her head is thrown back as she yelps out a counterfeit laugh in response to a joke told earnestly by a man in a cowboy hat. She doesn’t even see me. I turn back to my laptop and, though the network required no password input from me, it strangely has not connected yet. I sit waiting, watching the hourglass my mouse has been transmogrified into turn over and over, mocking me. I feel the pressure building. I long for the sweet, sweet release like the jet of steam escaping from the onion volcano.

As a bead of sweat trickles down my neck (whether from the stress of this unsuccessful connection or the heat of the immense grill before me I’ll never be sure) a window pops up. “Connection unsuccessful.” I try two more times to no avail. “Papa, is something wrong?” It’s my youngest. “No, Billy,” I gasp out unconvincingly, “Just keep watching the show. Daddys going to be alright. We’re all going to be alright. We’re all going to be alright…”

That fateful meal haunts me even now, several hours after leaving the restaurant. The reports got submitted late and God knows what’s waiting for me at the office on Monday. So I implore you, dear editors, and all of us with careers and families to find out once and for all. Was that hostess, that callous, devilish shrew, correct? Tell me, please, I’m at my wit’s end—is there Wi-Fi at our local Benihana?

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