Monday, May 5, 2014
The night I ate the home decor
at the Christmas party my life
changed, really opened up.
There I was, in the green and red
and silver and blue and pine and pumpkin
pie and pink champagne, at a company party
the Hallmark Cards company,
the Kansas City holiday party of the year!
And me, the "token heterosexual."
or so the guy at the door told me,
under the mistletoe.
"Well, not literally, but symbolically
maybe!" he said.
I liked this party already.
Through the door and inside
the snow-covered mansion
it was like an old Christmas movie
with some Menorahs thrown in; warm
and colorful and musical and friendly.
I didn't really work at Hallmark yet,
I was a temp at the time, directing traffic
in the holiday overloaded shoppers garage
and yet - tonight might be the night
I dreamed, mingling...
to send a good impression. And I cared enough
to send the very best.
I mingled through the festive dark;
there were some men in suits - the executives -
letting their hair down and ties loose.
I sauntered through the dining room the kitchen
the nursery the bathroom the bar and then
back through this entire route again; now
I was HUNGRY.
The more red wine I drank the darker
it got in there, the more festive
and merry, but maybe my judgment was off.
Either way, I was happy as I spied delicious
food on the green velvet-topped cherry-wood table
by the out of control fire in the fireplace.
What a night!
My sauntering now turned into indoor
cross-country skiing, kind of sliding across
the carpet, but I made a bee-line to the food.
And beautiful food; brilliant unusually bold
red potato chips, some of them dark brown, dried
orange peels mingled in, salad too: maybe iceberg
lettuce, probably romaine, absolutely arugula,
lots of it blue and even bright yellow!
The bartender was watching me and smiling,
quite a few people were watching me and smiling;
I smiled too, walked over to the bar and ordered a drink.
"To wash it down with," I winked,
gesturing back at the still, so far
untouched multi-colored bonanza by the fire.
The bartender winked. They all did.
I went back to eat, winking once more.
The first bite was crispy, I could tell
it was going to stick to my ribs, and yet...
as I was chewing and swallowing, I had a flashback
to the Bloomingdale's Cosmetics Department.
Back then, in New York City, visiting my sister
at her job, I had the security camera feeling
I didn't belong anywhere at all in posh Bloomies
now I was feeling that again.
And the people at the party were laughing.
The laughter was large, out of control
like the fireplace and the color in the room
and the snow covering the house like
a blanket over everyone for the night,
but the laughter was kind.
The bartender came over to me,
told me I'd eaten the Potpourri.
And as the laughter went on, I looked around the room
and saw that the suits had left
they had let their hair down too far,
had to go home and do some shampooing and combing.
Now there was a circle around the bar, around me,
and a line of food ran through the circle -
pink ham and brown turkey and white clouds
of mashed potatoes and bright green beans.
Someone asked me how I felt now?
"I love this party. I always feel at home
with homosexuals and Jews and women
and you black guys over there."
This stopped the laughter cold and
the fire almost went out.
"I think that was awkward," I said,
and the fire came back a little.
Also, the laughter.
"So, how is that you feel at home with us?"
asked a hot woman by the fireplace.
I looked around the room and out the window
a blizzard out there, the flames in the fireplace
red and yellow, hot and relaxed.
"I guess because I think you've all felt
shit on at one time or another
by the straight white suits, and though
I am a straight white, I'm not in a suit,
like those guys that were here earlier. Also,
they wouldn't have eaten the Potpourri."
The bartender, black, leaning on the bar,
and on his boyfriend, who was lighting a Menorah,
smiled at me and popped a cork on champagne
passing the bottle.
"You know, of course, that
the straight white suits get shit on, too.
But...we get what you mean, yeah everybody?"
Everybody toasted that. Except me;
I was back at the Potpourri bowl
wondering how I ate it, but not ashamed.
The bartender's boyfriend waved at me,
"Hey, you want a Patchouli on the rocks?
With a twist of Potpourri?"
The laughter from this,
practically blew out the fire.