People who know me will acknowledge the fact that I am a “simple” person. No, I’m not talking about mentally, although there might be some truth to that as well. Simple in this case means I live a rather common, day-to-day life that is void of extravagance. On those occasions when I do attend more upscale events than drinking a beer and eating wings with the boys, my attention is drawn to the things that are out of kilter with my normal life.
At a recent dinner for a non-profit organization close to Amy’s and my heart, I discovered how out of touch I am. The room in which the restaurant seated us had one wall of shelves filled with wine bottles. A few other bottles were open for guests as they arrived. What I didn’t find was a single bottle of beer. So, after a hasty retreat, I arrived at the main bar and ordered up a Miller Lite. The bartender asked if I wanted it in a glass, and I answered with a “no.”
Other guests in the room held stemmed wine glasses. My blue-labeled beer bottle stuck out like a sore thumb. It also shouted “redneck,” a possibly accurate description of the person holding the bottle. Amy was understanding about my beer toting because she knows I don’t do wine.
One of the attractions of the affair centered on a woman who is an expert in the field of wines. Our menu listed a different one for each course of the meal. This aficionado presented each wine and discussed the grapes peculiar to the drink, as well as the bouquet, place of origin, and other trivia. After one pronouncement about French wine and Oregon wine, a person seated at our table looked up and, with seriousness registered on his face, commented, “Who knew?” A smile crossed his face and the rest of us laughed too loud. It was more information than any of us cared to know. That was especially true for a beer-swigging guy like me.
In my high school and college years, on occasion I did sip the fruit of the vine. It came in a bottle with a screw-on lid. Boone’s Farm was the name, and instead of a good year, I looked to see what month the stuff had been made. On too many occasions, I drank too much and woke the next day with a mule kicking the inside of my skull. That’s enough make me swear off the stuff for good.
The meal was okay. I know I’m supposed to say that the food was excellent at such a fined restaurant, but hey, my favorite meal is a hamburger steak, mashed potatoes, and green peas.
The waiter set in front of me a piece of prime rib. I swear it kicked twice and quivered once right there on the plate. Immediately, I told him, “I can’t eat this. It’s too rare.” The guy looked at me and smiled but made no move. I suppose he’d never heard anyone speak ill about the restaurant’s food. I sat just as still and looked at him, waiting to see who blinked first. The man sitting beside me solved the problem by telling us he would exchange his cut for mine. I’m glad he did or I’d have had stopped at Krystal for a bagful of sliders on the way home. At least they’re cooked.
Amy requested that I wear a tie and coat for the occasion, and for her I’d do anything. I don’t wear a tie more than a half dozen times a year. The entire night my neck chafed from a shirt collar and tie pressing too tightly against my skin. Wearing a tie also makes a meal less enjoyable. Acid reflux already makes swallowing difficult, and the tie only exacerbates the problem. Yep, I’d rather wear a t-shirt for meals, and I’ll even put on a clean one if it’s required.
We returned home at about 10:00 p.m. For us, that’s late, so I hurried to my closet and changed back into a comfortable pair of sweat pants. The best parts of the evening were the laughter that I shared with those good people at the table and the time with Amy. As we rode home, part of our discussion touched on the next night’s supper. We decided on either Papa Murphy’s pizza or hotdogs and chili. The food suits me better and either “entrée” goes will with Miller Lite.