AN ALTER EGO EVENING

After the vacation posts, I’ve had trouble getting back into the regular swing of writing. Work is insanely busy. The boys came home from their respective colleges for a visit. Work is insanely busy. Did I say that already? Really, really busy.

So busy, in fact, that we (the marketing and graphics team) went to dinner and drinks last night to celebrate basic survival and sanity. Things for which we have a whole new appreciation.

A good time was had by all and we only embarrassed ourselves a dozen times or so. I don’t know what happened to my normally professional, yet fun group, but I think someone put something in their drinks. Okay, OUR drinks.

It started out innocently enough, at a table in the bar over a pre-dinner cocktail. With dry ice.

Then, we moved into the quiet, elegant dining room where only a few other tables held diners who spoke softly to each other as the soothing sound of the water feature lulled them into a delusion. The delusion that five women could sit at a table together – not working late for the first time in weeks – and not totally lose their minds.

My breakdown began when I was told by the waiter that my favorite items at this restaurant (which I had been bragging to the girls about for DAYS) were no longer on the menu.

“No giant onion rings?”

“No,” the mellow voiced waiter, Jordan, answered. “But we have a new item. Corn.”

“Corn?” My eyebrows scrunched together as I tried to make sense of this.

“Whiskey creamed corn. It’s excellent.”

“Jordan, do you see that no matter how excellent it is, it’s not a giant onion ring?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. What about the bacon wrapped cheese stuffed shrimp?”

Sadly, Jordan admitted, “We don’t have that anymore.”

“I see.”

“Well, just bring us some of that delicious bread I’ve been craving all day.”

“The ones that come in little six packs?”

“Yes, those.”

“Yeah, we don’t have those anymore. We have baguette now.”

“Kill me.”

As I inelegantly rested my forehead on the table, proud of myself for not banging it against the surface over and over, a strange thing happened.

The marketing team’s alter egos came out to play.

We had the F-bomber, Madame LOUD, the Spiller, the Instigator, and my mother.

The F-bomber was in rare form and seemingly unaware of her ferocity, or the fact that we were the only people speaking loudly enough to be heard in the whole restaurant.

Also suffering from some sort of inner ear anomaly, was Madame LOUD. Normally, at work, when Madame comes close to discuss something “privately” her volume level is so low I have to lip-read. Not that she is unusually quiet all the time, but the volume knob typically doesn’t get stuck at 11. It usually hovers around 5-7. At our table near the front door, in a quiet restaurant with a handful of people, she was determined to include the kitchen staff in our conversation, lest they feel uninformed.

At this point, I started channeling my mother, who continued to “Sssshhhh” people with a hand gesture reminiscent of an agitated sock puppet.

It didn’t work.

The Instigator managed to keep herself out of trouble, but offered encouragement to everyone else around her. Mostly by laughing.

The Spiller doused herself in red wine, which she tragically thought had only stained her skirt, but had in fact sloshed all over the white blouse she wore. The pronouncement of relief as she dabbed at her black skirt – completely unaware of the giant red stain virtually under her nose brought on a fresh burst of laughter from the table and scowls from those near us. And an MF bomb.

Somewhere around this time, for some ill-conceived reason, the general manager brought us complimentary bottles of red and white wine. (I think to make up for the onion ring and bread disappointment.) But REALLY? What was he thinking? Were we not loud and obnoxious ENOUGH? He was GIVING us bottles of wine?

The red was gratefully accepted, but the white FREE wine was rejected by Madame LOUD on my behalf. Too sweet. With a look of complete confusion on his face, the poor GM went away and came back with something oakier and more buttery. (Like the missing bread used to be.)

He also agreed that the wine he tried to foist on us (for FREE) was pretty sweet for a Chardonnay.

The Instigator giggled.

Jordan rolled his eyes and wished us far, far away.

I shushed everyone. Again. Unsuccessfully.

Today, the Instigator has a bruise on her shoulder-blade. (Madame LOUD became Madame I Don’t Know My Own Strength.)

The alter egos have not been seen since.

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