Saturday, October 22, 2011

Burn Baby Burn

After writing my "Mascara Magic" post, my therapy bitch noted that the night out on the town, was a huge breakthrough for me.  Not just because I wore make-up for the first time in months, but also because I ventured out in public, to a very well-to-do French restaurant.  What ensued was, quite possibly, one of the most embarrassing moments, in my entire life.
Last summer, my therapy bitches and I, were invited by a friend to join him for dinner at one of the most well acclaimed restaurants in the area.  We all took him up on his offer to get all dressed up and pretty, to eat great food and drink amazing wine.  When he arrived to pick us up in his baby blue convertible, we were already snapping pictures to document the "Therapy Bitches Dinner."  As you can imagine, it takes a few shots to get a still one of me.  
As we pulled up in front of the restaurant, valets stepped forward to escort us out of the car, and then the maître d’ appeared to usher us inside.  The restaurant's owner came out to welcome us as we entered, and offered us one of the best tables in the house:  right next to the kitchen, where the aromas of fine French cuisine were wafting out, and dead in the center of the main dining room, where everyone was able to watch three, drop-dead gorgeous women, as we were seated.  It also happened to be the perfect table for everyone else in the restaurant to stare at the one of us who wouldn't stop shaking her head.
The lighting in the dining room was dim, mostly lit by little tea lights at each table, and on the mantles.  There was some music in the background, but mostly the atmosphere was muffled by the voices of the patrons, and echo-like acoustics.  I found it difficult to hear my friends, leaning forward to read their lips, and attempt to catch some of what they were saying.  My hair was long at the time, and whooshed in my ears, muffling the conversation even further.  I could feel frustration rising, but managed to talk myself back down, so I could enjoy the evening.  Our waiter came over and handed us our menus, printed on thick, laminated card stock.  I struggled to read the fine print, in the dim light, with my head shaking.  Each time I leaned over towards the candlelight,  my hair would fall in my face, creating enough of a breeze to make the candle flicker.  I sat back in my chair, pushing my hair back, and took a sip of champagne through a very elegant plastic straw.   Our friend made suggestions on what dishes we should get, and I was grateful I wouldn't have to strain to read anymore.
As we waited for the waiter to take our order, our friend started telling a story, and I leaned in to my right, where he was seated, so I could try to decipher between the words coming off his lips and what I was hearing.  I used every ounce of attention I could to follow along, but after some time I was distracted by a burnt smell coming from the kitchen.  No one else seemed bothered by it, so I continued focusing my attention on our friend's story.  Suddenly, I noticed smoke wafting by me, and just as I turned my head to the left, I watched the menu I was holding catch on fire, as it hovered over the tea light.  I gasped as my TB hid behind her menu and said to my friend "Do something.  She's on fire."  I waved my menu in the air, only drawing more attention to myself, and fanning the flames as my menu quickly burned down.  The waiter appeared out of nowhere and whisked my engulfed menu away, as the embarrassment rose in my face.  Our friend didn't miss a beat and said "Don't worry, that happens all the time."  Right.
The rest of the night went off without a hitch.  We weren't banned from the restaurant, I asked that the candle be removed from the table, and when they brought out dessert, I was thankful it wasn't flambe.  My TB was definitely right, it was a breakthrough evening.  I have since accepted the fact that going into public means that people might stare, and they might stare even more if I do something as comical as lighting my menu on fire.  I've also learned that when I light things on fire accidentally, I actually remember the event. (Yes, I have managed to light other things on fire since then...sweet potato pie at Easter, and my stepmother's bird whistle on her kettle)  What I also learned is that sometimes the most memorable moments are the ones when you can look back and laugh at yourself.

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