(...and turn down the damn volume...)

When I grew up, my dad gave two commands before dinner: wash your hands and turn off the TV. People in Latvia seem to have been raised more liberally. I've lost count of all the restaurants I've visited that has at least one big TV blaring away like there's no tomorrow. For what purpose? Who goes to a restaurant to watch TV? I can't think of a more distracting mood killer. Lose the TV!

And then the places (which are often the same ones that have the TV's) with rock concert volume on the audio system... What's up with that? Is it supposed to attract people on the street, saying”hey, we're here, pay attention to us!”? Or is it supposed to provide an aura of urbanity and being busy and popular, distracting guests from the fact that they are alone in the place? Well, it doesn't work. It just gets on people's nerves, because it's not only tiring, it renders having a relaxed conversation impossible. If your guests look annoyed and are shouting at each other across the table, you should probably take the volume down a bit.