Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What an idiot!

Photo credit:  www.specialevents.com
Sometimes I remember and reflect on various experiences I've had over the years and although I've made some good decisions and been on the receiving end of some fortuitous circumstances, I've also done things and acted in ways that elicit a huffy "What an idiot!" reaction.  

One such occasion was a company holiday party I attended in (I think) 1997.  My then girlfriend (maybe she was my fiance at that time?) --- and who would eventually become my ex-wife after a long 16 months of marriage --- worked for a now-defunct car company (Saturn) at the height of Saturn's glory.  The cars were made in America at a spiffy auto manufacturing plant somewhere in Tennessee and the dealerships embraced a "no-haggle" sales policy --- the company revolutionized the car industry, at least for a short-time.  At any rate, the dealerships were locally owned by one businessman (I think there were two Saturn dealerships in the Salt Lake area at the time) and when the Christmas season rolled around, the head honcho threw a catered Christmas holiday party at a local resort.  It was swanky, or so it seemed:  full spread of appetizers, main courses, and desserts.  (No alcohol though --- this was Utah after all --- so no chance of the office harlot drunk-dancing on the tables.) 

I'm not sure what the hell we were thinking, but sometime between when we sat down at our table and the dealership CEO/president welcomed everyone with a short speech (and someone blessed the food), we sauntered over to the buffet line, piled our plates high with food, then returned to our table and started to eat while completely oblivious to the fact that no one else was yet eating.  When it finally dawned on me that we were suppose to wait to eat until after the host's welcoming remarks and the prayer, I was mortified.  I think I even tried to hide my plate under my napkin and may have even placed the plate on my lap.  What the hell was I thinking?  Oh yes, I wasn't thinking and I certainly wasn't relying on those years of never-received etiquette training.  In retrospect, waiting to eat until the host toasts the guests, blesses the food --- whatever he/she wants to do --- seems like common sense.  But it clearly wasn't common sense to me (or my companion).  Chalk up my oversight to whatever you want --- naivety, inexperience, obtuseness, obliviousness --- but it was, without question, very embarrassing and not one of my finer moments.   I still shudder when I think about it. 

Fortunately, 1997 was a long time ago and I'm no longer living in one of the most repressive places in the United States.  I've moved, I've grown, and I've picked up on the common sense things that at one point weren't so common sense.  And I've sure as hell learned to delay stuffing my face until everyone has food in front of them or the host gives the go-ahead. 

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