Saturday, February 17, 2018

Do You See a Moral in This True New York Story?


Jeff—Saturday

The other night Barbara and I had dinner with old friends at a trendy, upscale French restaurant on the Upper Eastside.  Let’s call him Jack, and her Jill.  That’s not their names, but it adds an alliterative touch to the tale.  

I’ve known Jack for forty years. I respect him, admire him, and trust him completely.  He’s one of the smartest, genuinely well-informed people I know. He also has views on some subjects quite different from my own. Over the years, that’s led to lively debates, and I expected our dinner to be no different.  Sort of like what we each wished the US Senate still experienced.


We sat at a table in the middle of the main dining room, with Jack seated directly across from me.  As a seeming harbinger of things to come, an elegant woman in a red, white and blue sequined jacket reminiscent of the US flag, sat with her companion at a banquette directly behind Jack.  To give proper credit to flag lady’s fashion taste, her choice of couture was several quantum levels higher than that employed by Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, in choosing the flag-inspired outfit she wore to her boss’s inauguration.


We were humming along nicely, talking about family and careers, when Jill raised an accelerant subject. Her political views are often far different from Jack’s, and our conversation soon moved on to the myriad of issues polarizing our country today.  At times with voices reaching a level turning heads at nearby tables.  Frankly, I paid no attention to any table other than flag lady’s, for she’d become my secret canary in the mine, signaling any impact our overheard conversation might be having on others in the room.

Things got particularly heated over the subject of President Trump, his policies, and his behavior’s threat to the Republic.  That led to a detailed back and forth over whether Hillary Clinton was the worst of candidates the Democrats could have chosen.  Of course, her husband’s philandering got some attention, too, in juxtaposition to that of #45. 

All the while, flag lady’s eyes kept bouncing from our table to others in the room.  I assumed she and her dinner companion were enjoying this bit of polarized American dinner theater.


Midway through dessert, during a particularly heated exchange on the subject of Hillary, an ashen-faced Jill abruptly whispered, “Shhhh.”  

The conversation paused, and Jill leaned in toward the middle of the table.

“The four at the next table have been listening to us all evening.” 

That did not surprise me, but what she said next did, for I’d been focusing on the wrong canary.  Flag lady’s attention had been centered on a far grander show playing out in the room, involving a larger cast than those at our table.

Jill bit at her lip.  “I just realized who’s sitting at the table next to us.  Chelsea Clinton.”


Dead silence.

Recovery effort on Jack’s part: “I voted for her father twice.” 

My approach: “Check please.”


—Jeff

26 comments:

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    1. That was a word that definitely came to mind, especially when I realized the reservation was in my name. :)

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  2. Oh well, I expect she's heard worse. Much worse...

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  3. Hahahaha! I have been there and done that!

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    1. Say it ain't so, Judy! You're my paragon image of discretion. :)

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    2. Same here, Jeff. I'm verklempt, farklempt, and just plain flabbergasted. Judy?!

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  4. I wish I was at another side table. That would have been fun.

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    1. I'm sure in time I'll give you another chance, Dave. :)

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  5. Hillaryous. But then, I'm sure that Chelsea grew up dealing with all of that kind of stuff. Still, potentially mildly embarrassing. Still further, we know that embarrassment rolls off your back faster than water off a duck's...

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    1. Yes, Evka, it most definitely helps to be quackers.

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  6. knowing you it was an educated and educational debate which I am sure "C" appreciated even if she didn't enjoy it. She is looking at whether she should make some sort of run for something in the years ahead.

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    1. Thanks, Robin. That should be a field crowded with the daughters of other presidents harboring similar ambitions.

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  7. Begs the question, Jeff, did you notice her - C- expression as you left??

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    1. To be honest, Cara, I took my lead from the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah and dared not look back.

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  8. Loved this. Having lived in Kansas most of my life, following the death of my husband I moved to CO in 2008 to be closer to my daughters. It was election year. I saw some folks on a street corner waving signs for Obama. Amazed, I circled the block to view them again. I had never seen another Democrat before.

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    1. You always make me laugh, Charlotte. If you’re really interested in seeing Democrats in their native habitat, come visit New York City. It’s representaive of all species of the breed. :)

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    2. When my sister & I were in NYC last year, the priest at St. Patrick's gave a sermon about the signs of Armageddon. One was the recent victory in the election. And, we had a woman from NY say she was going to ask us a personal question, and if we disagreed, we'd agree to disagree. Who did we vote for? I love New Yorkers.

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    3. I love that, Lesa. It shows just how different the priorities are today for New Yorkers. When I first moved there the most prominent probing question asked literally moments after an introduction was, “So, what do you pay in rent?”

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  9. Bless you Charlotte, I had a good laugh. Hawaii has been a dominantly Democrat state for a long time; & of course, overwhelming for Barack Obama. We joke that the POTUS is gonna get us if he ever figures out that Hawaii is part of the United States.

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    1. We’ve fallen love with Hawaii. And after the other night, may have to hide out there. :)

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  10. On the one hand, I'm sure she's heard far worse, and with less well-reasoned argument behind it.

    On the other hand, I'm with Annamaria. OUCH.

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    1. Let’s just say it was a moment to remember. Not quite a snake bite, definitely more than a tse-tse fly.

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  11. The moral of the story is don't bloody eavesdrop on other people's conversations!

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    1. Or speak quickly with a Scot’s accent.

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