Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sun and rain.

On Wednesday nights, we have formal dinners, which means we eat an hour later, and we all dress up. So: 7:15 found me closing the powerpoint presentation I'm building for a talk I give at lunchtime tomorrow, slipping on my new satin minidress, putting on heels and mascara, and heading out the door to grab my friend and stride off to our main hall, where we were served various smoked fishes and tiny shrimps before a gorgeous and strange tower of black pudding, pork, and creme fraiche topped with apple arrived before us. Somehow no one noticed that I'd not gotten my wine topped up; I watched two rounds of others' getting topped up, of carafes emptying, and knew that in at least a couple of crucial ways, I have once again become such a presence as to go completely unnoticed.

And yet somehow, by the end of the night, I'd still eaten and drunk more than I'd meant to. Wednesdays are like this. They're also like this: at every formal hall, there's at least one moment when I can't hear a word of a conversation to which I seem to be listening intently. Tonight, I held myself carefully in a posture of amusement and interest while someone two people away, someone whose voice's cadence I could hear even though there were no meanings attached to the sounds he made, told a story about someone he once knew. It's not my favorite way to be near a conversation. But the concomitant lesson I've learned is how to listen carefully to the conversation I can hear, even if it's not one in which I can participate.

This afternoon, though it was bright and sunny, it was also raining. I should be used to this kind of contrast by now; it is so much like so much of life itself.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm confused. The phrases "satin minidress" and "completely unnoticed" can't both exist within the same paragraph. It's just not possible. My theory is that the wine was poured but kept evaporating because the dress raised the temperature in your part of the room.

10:18 AM, November 15, 2007  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Perhaps what was happening was that the person pouring the wine was either 1) studiously trying not to notice me because of the dress or 2) so absorbed in the dress that he lost track of his own wine intake and thus couldn't remember to check my wineglass along with everyone else's.

It is *that* kind of dress. I haven't had the guts to wear a dress like this in years and years.

12:59 PM, November 15, 2007  
Blogger Matt said...

"[I]n at least a couple of crucial ways, I have once again become such a presence as to go completely unnoticed."

I ventured into the comments to administer an emergency dose of Are You Kidding Me?, but I see Dr. S's sanity has already returned. Very good.

On the other hand, now I'm going to be worrying all day over whether it looks better to write Dr. S's or Dr. S'.

1:13 PM, November 15, 2007  
Blogger Dr. S said...

I would call this less a case of coming to my senses and more one of getting by with a little help from my friends.

1:21 PM, November 15, 2007  

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