Some people really should be turned upside down and dunked into a pickle-barrel. I know I am supposed to turn the other cheek, look the other way but honestly, the ninny I entertained the other night is no more deserving of my graciousness than I was of her vapid ideology which is apparently rooted in the turn of the century… my century, not hers.
My mind is trying to force her out so I have forgotten her name. I think it started with an S so lets call her The Simpleton, or Sims for short. I had a perfectly charming dinner party put together. I hand selected the guests based on interests and varied backgrounds. Although I factor in my guests “plus one,” I have never exercised veto power – a policy I may consider revising. My dear friend Brian, who is a Sociology professor at the local junior college, brought Sims with him; why I will not even hazard a guess. I had various political parties represented; blue and white collar professions and a mixture of American and non-Americans for flavor. The only thing they truly had in common, besides an utter devotion to me, is they can all Play Nice when discussing current events.
The Soup Course began well enough with genial conversation in which people shared general information about themselves. By the Fish Course things started crumbling into my lemon poached sea bass. I grant you it was a little early to discuss politics but I did not expect I would have to explain to Sims why we cannot start the impeachment process against a senator due to poor fashion choices (good lord, we’d try the lot of them.)
By the time my perfectly rare Prime Rib was placed before my guests, André the printer and his wife Claudia, the museum curator were already making secret eye gestures which led to their early exit. Sims decided to launch into a discussion on feminism shortly after declining the shaved horseradish. Now, everyone knows my views on feminism but they also know that I am capable of discussing opposing views in a rational and enlightened manner… or I was able to, until Sims the Nescient equated the desire to uphold feminism with wanting to eat men as candy. I tried, heaven and Rev. Dr. Barrows to my left knows I tried, to give her an out by tittering at her Modest Proposal but she went on to list how women were happier back before they had rights. When a few of the others and I challenged the notion, she countered by informing us her mother told her about a book she read once that said as much. She threw her nose in the air and put on a smug little grin as if she had laid down the winning hand. Darling, I am afraid I hold the trump card on this one given that I lived it. The good reverend gently placed his hand over mine when he noticed my repeatedly stabbing my meat with my steak knife.
By dessert, Sims had sent buckshot into valid discussion on healthcare, space exploration and postmodern art, all while filling her gaping, ignorant maw with my food. Ms. O’Connor suppressed lashing out at one of Sims imbecilic diatribes by taking a drink of wine instead; the poor dear had to be taken out of here on a dolly. Sr. Muñoz politely excused himself to the restroom for forty-five minutes (at least he finished the crosswords.)
And I am sorry but I simply do not feel bad for bribing Alice Tucker to trip Monroe as he was serving the éclairs; that platter of pastries upending on Sims head saved her life, I mean it.
So were we wrong? Did we put politeness in front of educating? When do you destroy the evening by pointing out another’s ignorance? Do you ascertain why they remain so remote in such an edified society? Do you befriend them and hope to slowly open their mind through patience? We all walked away angry and unsettled and Sims was none the wiser. We allowed our pretense of culture to ruin what could have been a veritable round table discussion. All for the sake of a twit who felt she could wear flip-flops to my table.
My point is, darlings, if you bite your tongue hard enough, you’ll lose use of it.