OVERA PAS­SIVEAG­GRES­SIVE BREAK­FAST

GQ (Australia) - - INSIDE GQ -

Af­ter a long look at the break­fast menu, I set­tled on the ‘Bruschetta Royale’ – a fairly elab­o­rate name for some­thing whose de­scrip­tion sounds re­mark­ably like eggs bene­dict. Ac­cept­ing that some­times there are dif­fer­ences be­tween cafes, I adopted the lo­cal lingo and placed my or­der. “Bruschetta royale, please,” I said. But as the wait­ress, who had a slight Euro lilt, wrote it down, she re­peated the name with a sub­tle dif­fer­ence, “Brus­ketta royale.” Hang on, was she cor­rect­ing me? Had she found my pro­nun­ci­a­tion so clumsy that she felt the need to ed­u­cate? If so, she’d cho­sen the most pas­sive-ag­gres­sive way of do­ing it. There was no di­rect, ‘Ac­tu­ally, sir, it’s pro­nounced brus­ketta,’ po­litely cor­rect­ing me and send­ing me on the right path. No, she said it as though talk­ing to her­self, just loudly enough for me to hear. Like some­one talk­ing about you be­hind your back, but do­ing it within earshot. Any­way, re­ally, what sort of a name is ‘bruschetta royale’? Talk about delu­sions of grandeur. Are we to be­lieve that this is the bruschetta of choice for Euro­pean aris­toc­racy? When the Queen sits down to a bruschetta, is this re­ally what her but­ler wheels in? I was poised to de­mand an­swers to these ques­tions when it oc­curred to me that all of these salient points had only been made in my head. So, in­stead, I con­firmed my or­der, with a sub­tle point. “Yes, the bruschetta royale.” See, two peo­ple can easily en­gage the pas­sive-ag­gres­sive game. De­liv­ered with a smile, I knew that lit­tle dig got through. She left to place the or­der and I sat awash with sat­is­fac­tion, hav­ing re­gained the up­per hand in this break­fast bat­tle. Af­ter a cou­ple of min­utes, I set­tled back to fur­ther think about what had just oc­curred. Per­haps this shouldn’t be about her ver­sus me; in­stead, it should be about high­light­ing what is clearly an in­for­ma­tion short­fall. What is the cor­rect pro­nun­ci­a­tion of bruschetta any­way? Can’t we just call it ‘fancy and over­priced diced toma­toes on toast’ and be done with it? I de­cided to Google it, but elected, in­stead, to add it to the list of things that I thought would be fun to Google but prob­a­bly aren’t. some way. I learnt a valu­able les­son that day – there’s no point be­ing a peacemaker if no­body knows about it. No­body claimed a No­bel Peace Prize by hid­ing their light un­der a bushel. The bot­tom line – I’ve de­cided I’m now boy­cotting bruschetta: it’s too much of a di­vi­sive ap­pe­tiser and is cre­at­ing con­flict in cafes be­tween oth­er­wise peace­ful cit­i­zens. And it’s time for this to stop. Well, that and the fact an Ital­ian friend later started I was pro­nounc­ing it in­cor­rectly. Yep, just the eggs bene­dict for me, thanks.

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