Sunday, July 18, 2010

Half a Mea Culpa (Long)

So, for part of my last post, I was right. For part I was wrong.

Let's recap with more information: Friend wanted to have a BBQ for July 4, but since it rained that morning, postponed. Decided to have THAT BBQ today but call it Jean's Birthday BBQ even though it had little to do with me. I am not a fan of BBQ or strangers or strangers with strange food that is left out for hours at a time and touched by various hands.

The people were nice. There was not enough room for everyone in the place we were in, so everyone was trying to find a place to BE but everyone was also trying to make sure that everyone was OKAY so everything became a ginormous explanation every time anything happened.

Scenario 1: Who should go into the postage-stamp sized kitchen to get food first? They voted Birthday Girl. (I would have gone last as I would know where to sit at that point...) I try to go get my food and follow the directions I am given only to find that someone else (on the other side of the kitchen wall) was directing people in exactly the opposite way. Rather than scuttle in the kitchen for a place in line, I remove myself from the scene to wait. I am patient. I am not bothered by waiting- it is actually easier to wait. But then comes the "Hey- We told you that the birthday girl was going first! What are you doing?" to the eleven-year-old. I say, "It's fine. There's not enough room. It's fine." "Oh. Okay." Then the next adult says, "Hey! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Didn't we tell you that the birthday girl was supposed to be first?" Now the eleven-year-old is confused. "I thought she said it was fine...I didn't know." Again, I say, "It's fine. She is fine. Let her get some food." This happened no less than 3 more times before someone removes the kid from the kitchen.

I run in, get my food and try to get out of the way. Good God! Just let the kid eat. So, I try to find a place to be because there are more kids who are seated at the table. If I sit down, I will have to get up and down for each kid each time they come and go. My back is hurting from yesterday, so I choose to wait. "Sit down and start eating." I reply, "I'm just waiting for the kids to get their stuff, then I can sit down." "They are fine. Just sit down and eat." "I'd rather not have to get up and down a bunch of times, so I'm just waiting until they get their food." Again, two or three more exchanges. Finally, I sit down and say, "I'm going to sit down now because clearly this is making everyone uncomfortable. It might make more sense to have the kids go first so that everyone can settle in more easily."

Within three minutes, eleven-year-old girl #2 sitting next to me starts to slide out of her chair UNDER THE TABLE. I get up so that she can actually walk like a human being instead of crawling around on the floor. Immediately, Grandma, Mother and several others are screaming at the kid, "Why are you getting up? You don't need to get up!" I say, "Kids move around. It's what they do. It's fine." They continue to yell at the kid. I remove myself until everyone has food and then I come back.

Many of the extra people (not all) left after dinner under the excuse that Dad was "in training" and didn't eat sugar during training. I suspect there were other reasons, but I couldn't really worry myself about it at that point. Through it all, of course, I come out the bitch. I don't understand why people don't figure out how to meet their kids' needs first and then we go from there. Kids need to be able to move. Don't make them sit in the seats where they will have to move a whole row of people every time they get bored. I just don't understand the lack of forethought sometimes.

Then, later, Grandma says, "I think I may have a second piece of cake." The eleven-year-old girl #2 says, "I'd like a second piece, too." She has had a sliver slice of cake, so for her, a second piece would be like completing a first piece. Mom tells her no, then Grandma and Mom proceed to eat seconds of cake. I leaned over to the kid and said, "I'm not having a second piece either. Do you want to take some home so you can have some tomorrow?" Kid says, "No, it will just go to waste anyway."

Huh? What happened here?

Where I was wrong - the people I didn't know were very nice, although somewhat over-concerned about me going first. The food was better than I expected. We played some games and that was pretty fun, but the teams were uneven and it made some people unhappy when they are used to winning. I certainly appreciate people cooking for me and having a nice time. What I would prefer is that we call it what it is - a belated July 4th BBQ. It just changes the expectations.

Anyway, nuff said.


  1. I'm sorry it wasn't such a Jean-centric festivity, as it should have been, having been so titled.

    And now, you know the reason I refuse to celebrate or even have my birthday recognized. It falls into the "holiday" category, which for me is synonymous with "hugely disasterous and full of hard feelings and disappointment."

    What? Me bitter? No, me Cancer, actually.

  2. I know, I know. I didn't ask for it... I realized as I was going over there that this was the perfect instance to say, "Let's not do this, Okay?" but i waited too long.

    Is it selfish to think that if you are going to call it a birthday celebration, there should at least be one element that passes muster?



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