DON'T FORGET TO LAUGH
Etiquette by Wolves
I was raised by wolves. For this reason, I learned manners and etiquette from Ann Landers, Carol Brady, and June Cleaver.
Thanks to their guidance, some life decisions were easy. Several decades ago, I was madly in love with a smart, loving, funny guy. We would have been married, if I hadn’t seen his dark side first.
It’s still hard to believe. But during a meal, he actually put his elbows on the table. Of course, I broke up immediately. Glad I dodged that bullet. When he was a guest at the White House last year, he probably leaned on the table then, too. How embarrassing.
Though the rules of society helped me in that situation, Ann and my TV moms didn’t prepare me for all of life’s social challenges. My ignorance became apparent when I brought my first college boyfriend, Collin, home for a weekend.
Eager to impress, I decided to take Collin to the best restaurant around, the Peregrine House on Main Street in Davidson. Known for its veggie pizza, pitchers of beer, and the world’s best three cheese sandwiches, it was THE place to go.
Late afternoon, while Collin and I were preparing to go out, my neighbor called and offered to take me skiing. No way was I turning that down. I quickly stripped off my clothes, threw on my bathing suit, and jumped in the boat.
The water was smooth as I had a few quick turns around the cove. Then I came in, took a fast shower, and threw back on my jeans and a clean shirt before heading out to dinner.
It was a lovely Saturday night and the Peregrine House was hopping. We walked in and spotted a table in the far corner. Since the restaurant used to be a residence, this was a small room, what was probably a parlor in earlier days. The tables lined the walls, leaving the center of the room open.
As we headed to our table, I noticed my jeans brushing my ankle. Thinking nothing of it, I settled in the chair across the table from Collin and smiled at him. At last, I had my boyfriend in my favorite restaurant. Life was wonderful.
Wanting to soak in the moment, I glanced about the room. Other couples were laughing and talking over their meals. This was sure to be a romantic evening.
Then something caught my eye. There, in the smack dab center of the room, was a midnight-blue lump on the carpet. It certainly wasn’t there when we came in. I stared. Why, the lump was the exact same color of the underwear I had put on that morning. Gee, it even had the same lace.
Then the world froze, just like in the Matrix movies. There, in the middle of the floor, was my underwear. I didn’t know what to do. No one ever told me what the proper protocol is when one loses her panties in the middle of a restaurant.
It was time to wing it. First, I had to figure out how the hell it got there.
It was obvious. When I ripped off my clothes to go skiing, I tugged off undies and jeans in one quick motion. After skiing, I put on fresh underwear and pulled on the same jeans. The old panties were in the pant’s leg. I didn’t feel them as they worked their way down. When they fell out, I thought it was just my jeans brushing my ankle.
Okay, the mystery was solved. But what was I to do? Just what was the restaurant’s policy about picking up panties that are lying in the center of the room, while people are eating their dinner? What does the health code dictate?
I could ignore my bloomers. But what if a waiter picked them up and asked loudly, “Who has lost her underwear? Does anyone know to whom these panties belong?” (We were in Davidson, after all.) I could have used my eyes to gesture to the lady at the next table. But what if it turned into a Cinderella test? The waiter would try my panties on each woman ‘til he found the one it fitted. No. That wouldn’t work.
The Matrix shifted, and the world thawed. I called out “Oh my God.” (How smart of me to draw attention to the situation.) Then I jumped up, leaped over, scooped up the delicate undergarment of midnight-blue silk and lace, and crammed it in my pocket.
I went back to the table, sat down, and then burst out laughing. I don’t remember what Collin and I ate that night. I only remember that we tried to suppress our laughter and failed miserably. So much for impressing him with my sophistication.
Maybe I should just listen to the wolves and ignore the advice of experts. It would seem there are situations in life that aren’t covered by the rules and regulations of proper society. Perhaps, that is where the fun is.
Carol Wilber Bradfield
Carol Wilber Bradfield is one of those "Lake People." She snuck into Davidson many years ago when someone left the gate open one night. If seen, please approach carefully and give her a hug... and cash if you have it. Lots of cash. Thank you.