In last week’s accidental destratification episode I found myself at a house party with the city’s hipster intelligentsia nervously clutching a glass of red wine while listening to Foster the People on the hi-fi and trying not to flash entirely back to the social suicides of 1980. I felt old and decidedly unevolved.
This week, however, destratification alighted on my shoulders again, and the results were decidedly better.
Every year the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel fêtes its loyal customers with a Christmastime buffet and bar in the lovely Georgian Room. This year, by dint of my role as secretary to the PEI Home and School Federation, I was invited to attend (the Federation holds its annual meeting there every year, so we are, indeed, a loyal customer).
It turns out that the other loyal customers all wear suits. And are the rich and powerful among us. Judges. Doctors. Tycoons. Moguls. The people, in other words, liable to say “why don’t we do it at the Rodd’s” when they’re at meetings discussing, say, where to hold the annual White Ball.
While I might normally, as a dungaree-wearing ne’er do well, feel like uncomfortably like a fish out of water among such suit-wearing oligarchs, in this case the accidental social destratification paid off: because, outside of my home and school brethren, I didn’t really know anyone there, I was free to graze amply at the lavish buffet stations, most of them almost completely untouched, while the socially well-connected were trapped in their vortices of social obligation: it’s hard to break away and grab another helping of cajun salmon when that guy you’re trying to cultivate a deal with is talking your ear off about the Dow Jones Industrial Average (note my complete lack of awareness of what important people talk about).
And so eat I did.
I started off with an appetizer-sized portion of grilled scallops served on a bed of risotto. It was fantastic: perfectly cooked, served at the perfect temperature.
Next it was the smoked salmon table, where all the fixings required to create a custom-tailored smoked salmon masterpiece were on tap: rye bread, dilled cream cheese, capers, tomatoes, lemon wedges. I returned to this well several times and was seemingly the only one who did, as the table seemed hardly touched even as things were winding down.
Over to the fruit table: grapefruits, kiwis, oranges, starfruits, mangoes. Accompanied by tiny desserts: tarts, squares, and the like.
Back to the hot line for the aforementioned cajun salmon, served fresh-grilled on a bed of rice with a perfect white sauce.
On to the cheese table: smoked cheese, swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, gouda cheese.
Back to the fruits on the way out.
I did, in fact, get a chance to have a nice conversation with Shirley Jay (our Executive Director at Home and School) and her husband Allan in amongst all that eating. And I did actually wave hello to a few people that I do know — I’m not a complete dungaree-wearing hermit after all.
But I emerged more well-fed and satisfied than most, I think. And I have my dorkiness to thank for it.
The Dow was up 45 points, by the way, closing at 11868.