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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waitress? A Round of Shots and a Large Amount of Cotton Batting, Please

The man at the next table has something to say.

And he’s been saying it loudly and in clear, decisive tones for a good 20 minutes now.

Judging from the looks on the faces around him, it may have been something they were expecting.

Ears assaulted, my eyes wander over the top of my margarita again and again to this table of 12. After-work Happy Hour? Club meeting? Family reunion? They are all wearing Hawaiian shirts, nautically themed shirts, and in the case of one woman, Capris-style shorts patterned with tropical birds…

Red-faced and in lecture mode, the man in question is keen to express his political beliefs.

His table-mates have gone silent and grim.

Giving up, I pull my book out of my purse, begin writing.

“What you people don’t understand…“

“What no one knows is…”

The woman to his left ducks her head, closes her eyes as he continues. He slaughters the names of the politicians he is talking about, twists them contemptuously.

He scolds the people at the table for their lack of political savvy.

“What you don’t seem to realize…”

The woman to his right turns away from him. She is Midwestern-ly polite about it, but the body language is clear: I don’t hear you.

The man across from him attempts to break in. “Hold on there a minute, Jim,” he says. “I don’t think there’s any reason to –“

Jim cuts him off. “See, this is where you just don’t understand.” He chuckles indulgently. “You’re being lied to by the people who are controlling what you hear.”

The woman on his right rises, leaves the table.

The woman on his left beckons to the waitress: check, please.

The red-faced man doesn’t notice.

I finish the last of my margarita.

Man, I think. Some people just don’t know how to party.

43 comments:

Drake Sigar said...

Ah, he's one of THOSE people.

Pearl said...

He is. :-) And I was one of those OTHER people. :-)

Daisy said...

:-D I like the sentence where you take out your book and WRITE! I expected you to "read"!

For more about "partay-ing" see my last offering. :-) Must be the season.

Shelly (La Tejana) said...

Life is too short to spend around folks like that-
Shelly

Pearl said...

Daisy, I am on my way. :-)

Shelly, not to mention he put me off my feed. There is no excuse for ruining Tex-Mex with un-called-for lecturing!

powdergirl said...

You've met the "swaggering dolt" have you? Gahd! I know that guy. He once corrected me(wrongly) on the pronunciation of a mountain range I'd been chipping away at for years, while I was working on his job site. I thanked him for correcting me and then returned the favor by letting him know that he'd spelled "talus" wrong on his HUGE road-side project billboards, all 4 of them set beside a major thoroughfare. One of the crew immediately googled both subjects in question and passed the results over to him. Twas a petty but timely victory Pearl : )
His name was, and probably still is, Jim. Seems he gets around !

Joshua said...

"All things in moderation, including moderation." - Mark Twain

"All things in moderation, especially politics and religion in a public setting." - Me

Pearl said...

powdergirl, sometimes a petty victory is all one needs. :-)

Joshua, here, here!

Bossy Betty said...

He's my date, so just back off, sister.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Great & vivid post, Pearl - you'd think the guy was in the room here! Why, one wonders though, did the other eleven invite him?

Pearl said...

Bossy, I think he could've used a date!

Pearl said...

Dolores, I wondered that as well. Maybe he had offered to buy? Or maybe he had promised the LAST time to not discuss politics. Have to wonder if he'll be invited again, though -- the people around/across from him were pretty grim.

jenny_o said...

D'you think we're probably safe to assume it wasn't a Toastmasters meeting?

Nicely observed and reported on.

Pearl said...

jenny_o, :-) Looked more like a punishment of some sort.

Simply Suthern said...

How embarrassing it would be to have been to be the one who invited him.

vanilla said...

Truly a sad vignette, unfortunately all too common...

Pearl said...

Simply, I would like to see the invitation to the next get-together...

vanilla, boorish behavior kills a good time every time!

jabblog said...

Perhaps he was the boss - a talker, not a listener!

Pearl said...

jabblog, :-) I didn't get that impression, but it's possible!

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

These folks need to be video taped along with the rest of their party and then be made to watch this truly cringe worthy stuff over and over until they GET it.

Eva Gallant said...

Unfortunately, I think I know Jim..I've been at a table with him and others more than once!

Pearl said...

Delores, I wonder if conversation hogs/bores recognize themselves on tape?

Eva, :-) I used to fight with them. Now I write about them.

George said...

I don't know if I'm not smart enough, or too smart, to talk politics like that. I definitely have opinions, but eh.

lisleman said...

yes the political groups gave 'party' a bad name. The worst party is a political party. Sounds like he was a know-it-all and wanted all around to know he knows what they don't except he doesn't know that they don't want to know.

The Six-Fingered Monkey said...

If he were to read this post, the red-faced man would likely give YOU and earful, Pearl, of "what you can't seem to grasp," without digesting even one of your words.

I fear that there is no hope for this buzz killer.

Bouncin' Barb said...

Two things that will end a friendship or ruin a party is talking about religion and politics! I once saw 2 senior citizens almost come to blows in a bank discussing politics. It's unreal!

Camille said...

It matters not to me if someone leans to the right of Attila the Hun or far to the left of Wavey Gravey...I do not want to hear it around a dinner table.

Wish I could have been there to throw him over a few dirty looks - although Jim sounds like he'd be oblivious to such.

Douglas said...

Know what's worse? Sitting with your 17 year old son at a Crawdaddy's Restaurant while he loudly talks about a plan for committing a robbery. Loudly enough to be heard by most everyone in the place.

That being said, I dine with "Jim" once a week. I have learned to diffuse the conversation and to change the subject. Faye and I dine with 3 couples once a week; one husband brags about everyone he knew (all great successes at whatever), one regales us with his business acumen as a butcher and grocer, and one is very much like "Jim" but is a staunch union man.

I try to steer the talk toward golf, computers, or the food. It sometimes works.

Kelly L said...

I have a few "friends" on Facebook that are over the top on their political beliefs - so glad I can block them from my new stream - ha.. Not so easy to block at the dinner table.. poor people..
love
Kelly
I've Become My Mother

WrathofDawn said...

At least it was only politics he was ranting about. I was enjoying my meal in a restaurant once, when the table of teachers next to us finished their desserts and while they finished their coffee/tea/etc. decided it would be a good time to loudly discuss... wait for it... intentines. Yes, ladies and gents, they thought that a busy restaurant was a good place to have a rousing discussion of how they teach bowel health complete with detailed descriptions of health v. unhealthy... shall we say... results.

Charming.

That Baldy Fella said...

I was once inspired to write a (not very good) script based solely on a couple of overheard obnoxious comments by an unpleasant and noisy man in a Chinese restaurant (yep, as expected, there was some casual racism in there). Must carry my notebook around more (and write better)...

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Man. A perfectly good margarita wasted on 'Jim.'

Gigi said...

Oh the Jim's of the world irritate me beyond belief! I've been known to call a few people out by telling them that my mother taught me to NEVER discuss religion and politics in polite company.

Clipped Wings said...

People who need to be close minded right are such party poopers.

Crystal Pistol said...

"What you don't realize is..."

"What you don't seem to understand is..."

EWWWWWWW! That guy makes me grumpy. And he made them dress up for that event, no less. Double ew.

Ricky Shambles said...

Awesome, as always. And aside from piling up superlatives, two things:

1) I have been shocked since I started my business that people will alienate current or potential clients in public based on any sort of politics.

2) Some of my best niblets and character studies have come from quietly drinking and being aware of what's going on around me.

So thanks, and Cheers!

Also - Check out the free 100-character micro-fiction challenge (NOW - starts tomorrow) and the flash fiction challenge at http://nycmidnight.com/ I'm in and have been a fan for years.

HermanTurnip said...

What I don't think you understand is that the Hawaiian shirt and a few stiff drinks makes his opinions valid and unassailable. Beyond reproach, even. May I even go so far as to state "latent genius"?

Waiter! Another round of drinks for Mr. Gin Blossom! We need more of his witty political insights (*group snicker*)

Audubon Ron said...

See, this is a clear reason why I only talk about religion.

Rory Grant said...

Sorry, I had too much to drink Patty. Won't happen again. If perchance the man in question didn't have a Scottish accent then I will continue working on where I was last Friday. But sadly, it sounds very like me.

:)

Rory

Barbara Blundell said...

Ah, the joys of advancing years ! You can turn off your hearing aid !

Dr. Cynicism said...

"They are all wearing Hawaiian shirts, nautically themed shirts, and in the case of one woman, Capris-style shorts patterned with tropical birds…" Or as I like to call it, the previously unknown 10th circle of hell in Dante's Inferno.

Pat Tillett said...

You are so right and there are plenty of these blowhards around...

Rory Grant said...

And I said Patty when I meant Pearl. Sorry for that too - London has caused rioting in my brain.

Rory