Friday, November 7, 2008

dishwashing gig

I have an acquaintance that is kind of a caterer. It's complicated. She doesn't cook. She just makes the food look good. I cook. I'm a pretty good cook, too. Every time she asks me to help her, I do so with the disclaimer that I am not a cocktail waitress. I do not stand behind a punch bowl, take orders from party guests, or behave in a way that would lead anyone to believe that I will be right back with their drink/new fork/extra napkin. I cook. I chop, dice, arrange, saute, and garnish my way through an event. That's my deal. I'll wear the black pants and a white shirt, but I'm not wearing a poorly fitting tuxedo shirt proportioned for a midget. I'll wear black shoes, but not the kind you see in a nursing home. I'll wear cute black shoes. My dignity is worth more than she pays.

Last Tuesday night was a somewhat important evening in the lives of many Americans. We were hoping that our votes would get counted in such a way that by Wednesday morning, we'd know who our new president is. When I was asked to help with an event in one of the largest, oldest, most beautiful mansions in town, I thought that it would at least be interesting from a people watching point of view. So I agreed and left my little girls at home with whats-his-name. Please note: I don't usually do that! I hate missing my kids! I am completely convinced that they grow extra fast when I'm not around.

I stayed in the kitchen for the most part. I put together a salad and a few other little foodie things and as the guests started arriving, they also started dropping their dirty glasses and dishes in the kitchen. So, being accustomed to hanging out in kitchens, I thought I'd make an attempt to keep the counters cleaned off while I made the food pretty. Before I knew it, I was deep into my third hour hunched over a giant granite sink washing the ugliest, oldest, most humongous set of china I'd ever come in contact with. So my cooking gig turned into a catering gig. It wasn't funny at the time, but it sure is now. That'll teach me. So I missed watching the election coverage with my children. I was lured by the promise of a sexy kitchen and the challenge of keeping 40 entitled millionaires happy about their food.

Speaking of entitled millionaires, one of these folks actually stood right behind me in the kitchen for nearly an hour saying the most amazing things. Ready?

"My wife and I like to spend at least four months in Europe each year. You know, there are people here who spend more time than that in Florida. We just love to travel. I'm so sorry for people who just don't get to travel."

Uh, that'd be me, buddy.

"I just feel so fortunate to have had children who were so interested in prep school. I mean, the lifetime friendships they made there....just phenomenal....phenomenal....and really, it's just such a challenge to stay ahead of the game in prep school. There just wasn't anything here that could spark their interest the way prep school did."

My kids will never go to prep school. Wait. Even if I was filthy freaking rich I wouldn't ship my eighth grader off to another state so they could get into an ivy league school so I could brag to the dishwasher about it twenty years later.

"My daughter is just such a direct woman. She never did really get that men don't like that. She's a wonderful lawyer in New York. She turned forty this year. But no husband yet. In fact, she's been so dedicated to her work that she never even really talked to us about having a boyfriend. She didn't date at Princeton. She was just too dedicated to law."

OK. You know 'denial ain't just a river....'

That's but a snippet of the pleasurable evening that was last Tuesday. By the end of the night, many of these wonderful folks had experienced a change of heart where politics is concerned. They went from hoping for victory, to planning their spring in France. They are going on a group trip. I'm sure they will be missed.

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