The Ipswich Zoning Board of Appeals has finally settled one of the most agonizing questions of our time: the question of how many people can sit in the dining room at the Ipswich Inn, and how many people can stand up.
The answer turns out to be quite simple, really. The Inn henceforth will be allowed to have 36 people sitting, or 52 standing. I for one am relieved. For the time being, at least, the people of Ipswich are no longer in danger of a 37th person sitting down in the dining room at the Ipswich Inn, nor a 53rd person standing up.
Of course innkeeper Ray Morley now bears the burden of compliance — or, though I hesitate to use the term, enforcement. He will have his hands full. What if there are 36 people seated at breakfast, and someone stands up to use the restroom? They’re over the limit. I’m not sure of the liability question, but I believe Ray is going to have to drag that person, still in their chair, into the hallway, where they’re legal to stand up.
Or maybe I have the math wrong. The numbers are intimidating. I assume if Ray can have 36 sitting or 52 standing, then he could also have half of each number: 18 sitting and 26 standing. It gets complicated. If one of the 26 sits down, I think Ray will have to haul one of the 18 to their feet. But wait — will this be OK — 27 standing, 17 sitting? I don’t think so. According to the ZBA formula, a seated person is taking up 1.44 as much space as a standing person. Every person who sits down will require 1.44 people to stand up. This is silly. It’s not physically possible for 44% of a person to stand up, leaving the remaining 56% seated. I’m afraid this person will have no choice but to crouch.
Or perhaps it would be OK to round off the numbers: a ratio of 1-to-1.44 is nearly the same as a ratio of 1-to-1.50. Which is exactly the same as 2-to-3. This could work: When two people sit down, three people stand up. It’s not exactly the ZBA formula, but it’s pretty darn close. It will make the Inn dining room into a huge game of whack-a-mole, but at least, thank goodness, there will be compliance.
Let me warmly urge you not to let these new regulations frighten you into avoiding the Ipswich Inn for breakfast. I was there this past Friday; everything seemed normal. And I’ve urged Ray to get a slide rule. He can meet you at the door and let you know whether you’ll be starting your meal sitting or standing. Also, his sidekick Becky Gayton can put an app on her iPad to track diner movements and predict how long it will be before you’re asked to change positions. True, you might start in on your “McMorley special” at a pleasant table overlooking the lawn, only to finish it standing in the corner near the coat tree. But have no fear. You can lean quite comfortably against the wall. So far, the ZBA has not ruled against leaning.