Rude by Mistake


Invited to dinner by a colleague who I didn’t know too well, but who was involved in some project with me, I entered the house bearing a bottle of reasonable wine and a smile which I hoped would mark my good intentions.

Small talk is never one of my strong points but I groped around the outer fringes of football and gardening  plus a few work topics while his wife finished preparing the banquet in the kitchen. She seemed a pleasant enough women, although a bit withdrawn. Possibly she felt put upon by her husbands habit of inviting little known colleagues back for ” a meal at his”. He was a strange mixture of the smooth and awkward but I had felt unable to refuse his offer of a meal as it might have jepodised the harmonious progression of the work we where mutually involved in. It felt a bit like a picnic on the Somme as I struggled to maintain an urbane smoothness in an atmosphere which was not entirely harmonious. Still worse things can happen.

At last the wife bought in the starter, some sort of ham, fruits and sauce concoction which sat bravely on the plate waiting for its death by fork moment. The first mouthful was not encouraging, but not as bad as the second: the full force of the sour lemony flavour took some time to threaten the eyes with unexplainable tears but I managed to nod my appreciation in between softening the impact with large gulps of water. Conversation continued to flow with the smooth rhythm of cement on the edge of setting but I clung to the thought that only two courses remained before I could escape into the night.

“So what do you do ” I asked the wife bravely. It’s a question I dislike but nerves had got the better of me and I was stumbling round clutching at cliques in a weak attempt to maintain my social ease. “I cook his meals” she replied waving her knife in the direction of her husband. “Excellent, excellent” I murmured as I steeled myself for another mouthful of my overpowering hors d’oeuvre. The whole occasion was just getting better and better.

Some sort of steak pie followed boasting a pastry which might well have come from  some bullet proof  steel manufacturer. The pastry was dark and forbidding to the eye but neither host nor hostess remarked on it.  It demanded firm treatment with the knife  and  I soon found careful fork work was required stop the slice of pie sliding off the plate when you attempted to pierce the crust. “Can’t beat a good pie” I said and the husband shot me a look asking me what planet I had recently returned from. It crossed my mind that I had been invited to lighten the burden of his wife’s company rather than for any other reason. This might have been unfair but I was gradually losing my ability to produce light-hearted pleasantries

In moments of stress I can find myself grinning vacantly and I realised I was doing this quite a lot.  A weak question sprang to mind and I  said,      “Have you lived here long “?. “Too long” the wife replied and I coughed weakly attempting to display an air of relaxed amusement

Finally the pudding arrived, a strawberry cheesecake, which looked remarkably professional. The first mouthful revealed a pleasing combination of flavours and textures. Delighted I said, “This is really delicious”.I fear the surprise showed in my face. “I bought it from the supermarket” said the wife and the dark glower she rewarded me with suggested the compliment had not had the effect I had hoped for”. Sometimes searching for the right words can be harder than you think.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in cooking, creative writing, Life, life2, Relationships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Rude by Mistake

  1. Ducky,
    -your writing is Deliciously Devine.

    **At last the wife bought in the starter, some sort of ham, fruits and sauce concoction which sat bravely on the plate waiting for its death by fork moment**

    I feel as if I’m reading the Classics. Xxx

    Like

  2. Abby says:

    I agree with My Inner Chick above, in that even reading a description of mangled meal prep is engaging. At any rate, lord help both you and that poor husband. Perhaps her time and efforts would be better spent roaming the supermarket a bit more for the convenient prepared meals in the deli, or perhaps watching a bit more Food Network, eh? At least you played the role of wing man well. You are brave, my friend.

    Like

  3. Texasjune says:

    You are more socially charitable and disciplined than I! I actually admire that trait! Small talk has never been successful for me! I’m a ‘behind the scenes’ marketing support person! Usually courteous, but not politically correct adept, I find it far safer for the agenda to simply keep my mouth shut! Businesspeople tend to frown when I speak to the CEO exactly as I would a manager or worker-bee…

    Like

  4. rumpydog says:

    Sounds like a no-win situation there!

    Like

  5. Caroline says:

    Thank you for making me weep with laughter!!!

    Happy weekend!

    Like

  6. I completely agree. But I think anyone in those types of situations have to sit back and try to calm themselves. You were invited over and truthfully to me, it was their job to make you feel more at ease in their home. If I invited you over, I would make sure you’re comfortable, had enough to eat, and had a good time.. even if I was in a horrible mood. You are definitely brave and I think you did alright for yourself

    Like

  7. So it sounds like you had a good enjoyable night out 😆

    Like

  8. I can just imagine you trying to munch your way through the pie! I cooked some pastry like that once. I never added enough butter. It was like concrete.
    Hope your last comment didn’t affect your working relationship!

    Like

  9. Big Al says:

    Why are you not published? Or are you? This is story writing at its zenith.

    Like

  10. barbara says:

    Oh you crack me up! There’s nothing worse, in my opinion, than being put in the situation where a couple aren’t getting along and you are innocently stuck trying to make small talk. I’m glad you got through it with your sense of humor in tact!
    Thanks for the laugh Peter!
    b

    Like

  11. Kirri White says:

    oooh…awkward – but it sounds like you do awkward with style 🙂
    I love reading everyone else’s comments….just sitting here, quietly nodding and smiling.

    Like

  12. eof737 says:

    Oh dear! I just couldn’t stop laughing… you poor thing. Oh boy! 😆

    Like

  13. backonmyown says:

    Ducks, you never fail to draw me right into your vignettes. I was sitting here gulping water with you and wondering which was more bitter, the wife or the hors d’oeuvres. I’m thinking maybe the wife. Great story-telling, as always.

    Like

  14. nelle says:

    One damn good reason I won’t prepare meals for others. I claim my ineptitude up front. I’m sure she thought you charming…just wait for the return invite!

    Like

  15. renxkyoko says:

    I am surprised your co- worker invited you to dinner , knowing full well what kind of dinner you would eat… horrible, except the one that she didn’t cook. Maybe, he is ” innocently” not aware ? Wow ! That was really awkward… classic ! LOL

    Cheers !

    Like

  16. I always pretended to have stomach problems – you are a very gracious guest! Another wonderful post as always!

    Like

  17. suzicate says:

    Sounds like she should have bought the meal laready prepared as well. Thank you for sharing your unpleasantries in such a delightful manner.

    Like

  18. Peter, this piece was sublime. You described this unheavenly meal with just the perfect amount of tongue in cheek. I chuckled all the way through. You really have a gift for understatement that comes through loud and clear!

    Like

  19. redheadmouth says:

    This sounds like an awful experience! I can picture you sitting there, waiting patiently the next surprise dish. Nice of you to stay the whole night.

    Like

  20. I cracked up! 🙂
    Dont worry, though…
    It happens to me.. A LOT! 😛
    – Thaanie 🙂

    Like

  21. Tipsy Lucy says:

    You weren’t rude. I can’t believe you were able to suffer through this dinner. Well, yes, the suffering, I imagine, would just go hand in hand with the terrible food and b*tchy wife. What I mean to say is, it’s amazing you survived. Don’t go back!

    Like

  22. chrisine says:

    Living in a new area, I find myself mad at times that no one had invited us to dinner ( we have invited a few ) Your experience make me smile and remember that it can be worse to be invited 🙂

    Like

  23. I have just noticed that i’m not in your blogroll * shocked look *

    would you plesase vote for me at this link.
    http://thedarkglobe.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/the-inaugural-dark-globes-artist-awards-voting-has-begun/

    Like

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