As a child I would often go and visit my grandparents in the holidays and whenever I had finished eating a meal I would have to say ‘please may I leave the table‘. Now with a Grandad who was deaf as a post I’d end up shouting as loud as I could to attempt to leave the table.
One night I’d eaten my tea however refused to say ‘please may I leave the table‘, I must have been about 5 years old at the time. No matter what my grandparents said or my uncles who were had now arrived for their tea (very strange but my uncles would come round every night for tea with my grandparents before going home to their wives), I was not saying it.
So I sat and I sat, still refusing to say ‘please may I leave the table‘. In the end I fell asleep at the dining table resulting in one of my uncles having to carry me to bed. The next morning I woke feeling like I’d gained a victory that I’d managed to get down from the table without having said ‘please may I leave the table‘, although really I knew not to repeat my little stand-off as my grandparents weren’t going to back down and let me leave the table without permission.
Now that I have children of my own and they eat their meals at the dining table, I now expect them to ask permission and to say ‘please may I leave the table‘ before they are allowed to get down. I’m not sure whether this is an old-fashioned thing to do or whether I’m just enjoying my own power trip of making them say ‘please may I leave the table‘ after I had to say it for so many years but actually I think it is only polite to ask rather than everyone just wandering off whilst others are still eating.