Archive for May, 2010

Eglute’s evening at the residence of the Florin General Consul and his wife at a dinner honouring Master Printer K. and his wife M. – as told to the shoutbox last Monday – (spoken word)

The limo came to pick us up at 6

How bourgeoisie – a Hummer stretch!

The honourees had the primo seats and we peons had to contort ourselves into the row reserved for children and small pet animals

It was at that point that my pants began their journey to where they would eventually pool around my ankles

The ride to Manhattan usually takes about 1 1/2 hours

– but the driver was good –

We were expected at 7:30PM but made it in by 7:10

The limo pulled up to the chic-est, historic Rockefeller brownstone

The address was assured to be one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in NYC

We were dropped off –

I unfurled myself from the back row hiked up my knickers

and went in

We had to sign in at the guest register with the doorman

and were escorted to the waiting area which looked out over the gardens

(Yes, I know, gardens! in Manhattan!) and the East River

But we were early

And they made us wait

and wait

and wait

till 7:30 when we took the elevator up

the door opened up to a glorious apartment where our names were announced by the Cambodian butler – he completely mangled “Eglute”

The receiving line included the ruddy faced, athletic-looking General Consul

and his small-boned, big-headed American socialite wife

I blabbered something like “thank you for inviting us into your home”

I swear her lips barely moved when she whispered…

“Charmed” (I think – couldn’t really tell for the botox)

We were ushered into the living room again with views to die for

A young man in a rented tuxedo was propped in a corner, softly strumming something classically Spanish on his guitar

The interior design ran to overstuffed, ornately-coloured, silk covered chairs and settees with bleached whitewhite walls that wouldn’t ever, heaven forbid, see a child’s dirty fingerprint

Yet another Cambodian servant was handing out glasses of sparkling water and

wine while his sister slave handed out meagre canapés

sigh – so few canapés – and I love canapés

I paused to study the females of the group

Two kinds of women there

Florin born and bred – sturdy, horse-faced

and their NY counterparts – socialites, size zero (if that) – tan, manicured, adorned with simple but expensive gold jewelry on muscular arms

and LOTS of eye makeup

at times I thought I was at the circus

I couldn’t help but watch the rise and fall of the fake eyelashes

The men, for the most part, looked as if they were born in suits

None of them anything to write home about

a few people introduced themselves to RFH and I

and made desultory comments about lilacs, the Hamptons, and yachting

after 15 minutes of such exhilarating(not) chumming

it was announced that dinner was served

We entered a formal dining room where a LONG (read: how many trees were felled to make this furniture?) table set for 22

the bad part was that I knew I was now going to be separated from RFH and that I would be seated next to strangers from a foreign land

The servant motioned me towards one end of the table between two gentlemen

on my right – CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Florin

and to my left – The Cultural Liaison from the Embassy

the CEO was a stuffed shirt

every time he spoke his pushed in face would swim before my eyes

and all I could see was a pig rooting for truffles

but he was genial and on his second pre-dinner cocktail

so I was assured of light, inane conversation in the least

The cultural liaison was younger, but had a thicker accent –

so I found myself nodding sincerely quite often in agreement

to who knows what

the table was simply gorgeous

elaborate linens, 4 crystal glasses at each setting

silverware of varying shapes and sizes

some to the sides

some above the plates

mini gilt-edged menus were placed in small silver knob thingies in front of

every place (as were dual-sided place cards – oh dear, both sides of the table would know my name now!)

Feeling a little lost – I brightened with the thought “dinner – finally!” – I could make small talk and hide my emotions in my cheek along with a mouthful of veal piccata

each crystal glass was a wine flight tasting with each course

white with Butternut squash soup

red with veal

sweet with dessert

the food was meh – spare – the socialites pushed it around their plates and ate

nothing

so as I said – I was looking forward to a lot of listening and nodding

when all of sudden

before the soup could even be served

the Consul stands up, welcomes everyone, says a few nice things

and announces that as no one knows each other at the table

that we would go around and introduce ourselves

and say a few words

I almost spit in my crystal water glass…

First one around the horn says –

Hello – I am the Florin ambassador to the US

Blahblah

the second one says

I am an expert in the indigenous Art of Florin blahblah

the third one says I am the cultural liaison from Florin to the US….

and then it’s my turn

WTH am I going to say?

my blood pressure crept up the charts

I burbled something about the honourees being dear friends

and having worked for said honouree great Master Printer

and, and….I’m blurring…. I think I said something else that was perceived of as witty and polite as I was rewarded by a collective murmur of approval from the table –

I took a sip of wine –

I had done it –

I was home free – onto the next course and the next goblet of wine!

when I took the moment to look across the table towards RFH

he was, IMHO, uncomfortably sandwiched between two gnashed-toothed socialites

one looked like Jackie O and I strained to hear her undertone to RFH-

“Your hair …just like a rock star”

Wuh?

the other one on the other side had her claws dug deeply into dearest’s arm speaking earnestly and occasionally licking her lips

Gah!

she looked exactly like a bleach blond version of Elvira – the vampire woman

complete with collagen swollen smile

the hair – was – how shall I put it?

– shaped into a very uncommon hairstyle

sort of like the Pope’s hat

perhaps a unique Florin custom

whatever – I truly was looking forward to dessert – Profiteroles!

of course, it is proper to wait until all 22 are served before digging in

it took a while for the waiters to make the rounds

I waited and chafed and chafed and waited

– when I glanced up to the head of the table –

noting in horror that the Gen consul was rising yet again to intone another pearl of diplomacy

“And now we would appreciate a moment to hear some stories from our guests”, he pronounced,

Eglute would you care to begin?”

I looked down at the glistening profiteroles and swore under my breath

A story? Me? – Who do I look like – Isak Dinesen?

I am without a clue

I begin a ramble (and I have a voice that projects)

I seem to remember something about art, rocks, trucks, sleeping

I know not what I uttered

RFH’s eyes were widening with every word

I think I had finished as the table sounded with polite applause

I have a face that blushes easily

RFH told me later that by the end of the story I was crimson

So duly chastened and mortified… onto cream puffs at last!

I look around and the skinny women were using a spoon and a fork, at the same time, to attack the little globes

I am amazed but decide WTF – when in Rome/Florin…

I almost caused an international incident

the cream puffs (which should have been soft and luscious)

were frozen and cold …..and hard!

In my attempt to bisect one (as one couldn’t really stuff the entire golfball-sized sweetness in one’s mouth – could one?)

with above mentioned etiquette-correct spork-age

my hand slipped and managed (mayhaps subconsciously with malintent) to launch a solitary chocolate sauce enrobed orb into the air

in slow motion I perceived the projectile volleying its way towards blond Elvira’s uncommon hairdo

I must have been nodding to something of great import in the minutes before

as the thickly accented cultural liaison was paying close attention to me and my plight

in mid-incoherent-sentence he deftly plucked the sphere from the air returning it to my bread dish with aplomb

and a smile

how grateful was I?

I salute Florin

Just when I thought the evening couldn’t offer any more labours

at 9:30 on the dot – the Consul (slurring now)

says all guests that wish to leave could do so now

the rest could join the Ambassador and the Mrs in the parlour for coffee

how regimented!

I looked longingly over at the honourees we came in with and then towards RFH

but they were deep in sober convos

and were herding themselves towards the living room and “a cup”

that’s one cup – tea or coffee – that’s all you get

milling…I can do that – that’s when you pretend to admire the artwork – everyone was exhausted of chatter anyway – edging closer to the door and goodnight…right?

what! a final dreadfulness! – Consul rallies the remaining guests with….

”…and now, can we all stand for a group picture?”

my pant waistband is at this point slung well below my hips

I potato-sack race for the B-room

where a scented candle burned in the boudoir nook (as the bathroom is not just a toilet – it is made up of three rooms – the toilet room, the sink room and the boudoir – albeit with low ceilings) – the vervaine taper was using up all the available oxygen – I was beside myself – and feeling faint

I endeavoured to wrestle my clothes into submission

and frantically washed my hands with cold water to rouse myself

I espied a wrought iron tree next to the sink with linen hankies on it

is that what I dry my hands on?

no – there are towels here – and there and there

I probably soiled the family crest linen – whatever –

the swoon was accelerating, I willed myself to stay in the here and now

in a flash of reverie I saw them all leave and my body only discovered the following Tuesday slumped over the commode

(as socialites don’t pee – you know)

I burst out – smiled for the Cambodian slave photographer

and joined the conga line as we were politely ushered out

just before the stroke of 10

With a weak handshake from him and herself and the parting favor of a CD of the classical guitarist’s greatest hits, we hit the street in search of the Hummer stretch and home

It’s tomorrow and I am not quite right yet –

I play scenes of both ceremonious spectacle few are privy to and self-conscious discomfiture in my head

I know it was a once in a lifetime experience

But I am happy to be back in my house/castle

and pantless if I wanna be

Cream puff – anyone?

-Eglute

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Oy to the vey

I was invited to spend the weekend with a friend (Emily) and her family at their cabin (fancy schmancy). Her older brother brought friends along as well, so luckily I didn’t feel out of place in a family setting. Oh, except for when I made myself feel out of place by being a dork.

The first day, we went golfing. (BTW: the price of a golf game=muy ridiculoso.) Anyway, Emily was driving the golf cart and, going around a little corner, I sort of fell out. Of the golf cart. All the way out. Her brother and his friends pulled up behind us, their riotous laughter carried away by the afternoon breeze. At least they stopped to ask if I was alright. Between guffaws. Oh, did I mention that her brother is uber yummy? Yeah, his friends aren’t hard on the ol’ eyes either.

The next day–or should I say the next really, really ridiculously early morning–we went fishing. Long story short, I got the hook stuck in my hair. Emily and I had a grand time getting it out, too. Yummy Older Brother and friends had a fun time laughing at me some more.

How much embarrassment can I cram into my next weekend getaway?

Oh well. I’m hoping that since it made Hunky Boys laugh, it might bring those who read this a chuckle or two.

~ Alysia