Saturday, April 2, 2011
Rant Alert: An Ugly Jacket in "Civilized Society"
A certain wine and food organization's wine fair is one event I was looking forward to since I attended the first one a year ago. I look back fondly at the time spent with good friends, chatting and laughing over a decent meal and tasting some really good wines. It was so much fun and left quite a good impression on me that when I was invited to this year's wine fair, I told more friends to join me and promised that they would have a good time. Even Matt, who was not present at last year's event, I convinced to join because I said it will be a great party (which he is always a big fan of) and we get to hangout with some friends of ours whom we haven't seen in a while. So, tickets were bought, and we were all set.
The night of the event arrives and it started out nice enough. Matt and I arrived and we did a quick round to greet the people we knew at the event, both suppliers and the organizations members and officers. Good friends and lovely couple- Weinmeister and Mrs. Weinmeister- introduce their charming sons to us, and we decided, of course, to join their table. I set my black pocketbook down on the seat beside Weinmeister (I assume it was his since his camera bag was on it) since it was decided that we will be sitting there.
We all return to the business of tasting wines, chatting, laughing, having a great time. Soon, our friends Sanju, Cutie and Mark arrive and everyone is getting into a party vibe. I was truly happy to see my husband and friends enjoying themselves, having their fill of the wines being offered, feasting on artisanal cheese and the lechon at one supplier's booth.
Weinmeister approaches us at one point and tells us that they will begin dinner as the two boys are already hungry. He tells us that if we are ready we can place our orders as well so we can all eat together. As we figure out our seating arrangements, Sanju points out that there was a jacket hanging at the back of one of the chairs. We ask Mr. and Mrs. Weinmeister to whom it belongs to, and they both say they do not know. Somebody suggests that the jacket be moved. So Sanju does just that.
Within seconds, the angry owner of the jacket approaches us, this Austrian fellow. I knew who he was, having met him at other wine and food events, the last of which was the organization's luncheon at La Tienda. I don't know a lot about him, I never really felt the need to. Anyway, he starts his tirade about not liking the fact that his things were being moved around. "This is civilized society, we do not do these things", he said in a huff.
He claims that his one jacket was placed there to reserve four seats, and then widens his eyes like giant saucers and focuses his glare at me. I glare back, and point out to him that my one bag was also there to reserve our seats. He says he did not see my bag there. At fthis point, my blood was boiling and it took all the strength in my body to stop me from clawing at his big, bulging eyeballs. "I will not fight with you, (name concealed)", I tell him curtly, then turn around and leave.
We find seats at the next table, and we refused to let his angry stares ruin our evening. As we chat up the friendly Australian and American and their dates, we try to brush the incident of the ugly jacket and its owner off our sleeves and enjoy the rest of the evening. And that we did with gusto.
What was funny, though, was that Austrian guy was doing his rounds, apparently trying to get the rest of "civilized society" to gang up against poor little me. Really funny, since a good number of the people he spoke to are friends of mine, some I have been wining and dining with for almost a decade.
I heard that he was wondering who invited me. The fact is, I was invited by, not one, not two, but THREE different members. I was surprised that he did not notice I was the only female invited to that La Tienda luncheon, after which I was given an open invitation to attend the ones that are yet to come. Unfortunately for him, his "friends" seem to like me. I doubt if any one who knew me in that room had something against me. Which, unsurprisingly, I cannot say the same about him. He has only made an enemy of me for less than 24 hours and so many people are only too happy to dish out dirt about him left and right, including a big guy in the food industry. People do not seem to like this guy, to put it mildly.
He talks about "civilized society" and yet he goes about his business disrespecting people, when things could have been handled in a more reasonable manner. To begin with, why did he pounce on me? I did not TOUCH his jacket, and I will never even dream of touching that eye-searing monstrosity (a feeble attempt at being fashionably eccentric) with a ten-foot pole. Why did he not snap at Sanju? Is it because he can't pick fights with men, so he starts one with the Asian chick? Not so "civilized" behavior, even a truck driver from the boondocks will tell you that.
My opinion about this Austrian guy does not in any way reflect how I feel about the organization (or Austrians, for that matter). The reason why I started coming to their events is because I have always liked the people in it- fun-loving, gracious gentlemen (and ladies) who share my love for good food and wine. I have met so many wonderful people within the society, people that I look up to and emulate, and many I have been lucky enough to call my friends. Its disappointing to realize that there really are people like him in these organizations. That's why it saddens me when the little time I get to spend in the company if it's more gracious and genuinely accommodating members is sullied by the presence of a man who seems to have a different concept of what the group is about. That, or he's just really a prick.
Anyway, the night was not completely lost. As I mentioned, we still had a grand time, and our little party moved to the bar after. Some of the younger suppliers even followed, and celebrated a good showing at the wine fair with some cocktails and burgers. The bar was packed, and the vibe was amazing. Life could not be better. And not even a petty little Austrian man with a bad attitude can ruin it for me.