You might not think that a holiday dinner has anything to do with the workplace. And in most cases, you would be correct, which is why the two of those things converging for me this year makes my Thanksgiving plans a bit surreal.
I was at work yesterday, entering deposits. The phone rang and it was the owner’s wife. Not unusual, she calls sometimes. But today she didn’t want to talk to him. She had called for me. She was calling to invite me to Thanksgiving dinner. At their house. I think I was too surprised to say much more than “ok”… as she rattled off directions to their home.
After I hung up the phone, I sat for a minute reflecting on what had just happened. In a minute’s time I had gone from sitting home and probably having Chex Mix for my grand Thanksgiving Feast to being invited to the very posh home of one of the owners of the company I work for. I quickly realized that there was no way I could get a manicure or liposuction done on Thanksgiving and the panic set in. And although I had thought to ask what I could bring (and was told “nothing”) I also realized that to go without a hostess gift would surely be a fatal faux pas.
Now, I was not born in a barn and am far from uncultured. I spent three years at boarding school with the sons and daughters of some of the world’s elite families. But the last couple of decades of my life I’ve pretty much lived in urban settings that are, ummm, well let’s just say “less than posh”.
As tempting as it was to do something like bring a dessert, I figured that the other attendees of this meal are all going to be of the “you can never be too rich or too thin” mindset. I can’t afford a $ 70 bottle of wine and have no idea if they are red wine or white wine drinkers. And I almost think bringing the wrong wine is as bad as not bringing a gift at all. I am sure that WHATEVER I bring, it will be likely stowed in the back of a cabinet somewhere or brought out to be served to a business associate that Mrs. Owner does not particularly care for.
Don’t get me wrong, I LIKE Mr. Owner and I’ve only met Mrs. Owner a couple of times. Enough to know that I respect and admire her and that she and I are NOT in the same league from a socio-economic point of view and I am a little (ok, a LOT) intimidated by her.
Still, I will go to dinner and hope that I don’t do anything stupid. And then I will come home and breathe a huge sigh of relief. And probably have a good, stiff drink.
Hope everyone who celebrates has a wonderful Thanksgiving!