Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday Monday Happy Days!

I should make a label entitled, "embarrassing social occasions I have lived through". Actually, that's a bit redundant- virtually every social occasion I have lived through has been embarrassing in one way or another. Tonight's installment came courtesy of a good friend of mine from LA (and later in Morristown), Yankel Wilansky, who got engaged just a little while ago. My wife (the inimitable le7) informed me of the happy occasion as I was washing dishes, though her reason for mentioning it was because Yankel got engaged to Mushka Grossbaum of S. Paul, that beloved (semi)hometown of mine. When my wife told me the happy news I said, "Hey, Yankel Wilansky from Maine?" "Sure thing," she replied, "from Portland." I immediately dried my hands and called him up, and heard that the lchaim was on Monday night at Chovevei Torah, but the pre-lchaim was at a mutual acquaintance. I decided not to go, but then I changed my mind and went. These things happen.

I left about twenty minutes after I had spoken with Yankel, and I figured that the party was in full swing. Imagine my surprise when I walked in and discovered that the place was virtually empty! Turns out the happy couple were not yet back from the Ohel (something about saying the entire Maaneh Lashon) and consequently I was stuck. Not to say that I wasn't made welcome, but it was a bit awkward. The last time I went to one of these pre-lchaim shindigs (Hey Zalman Aharon) I was in the room for about thirty seven seconds, and if I hadn't run into Ben Tzion Friedman I would have been in the house for just about that amount of time. Here, on the other hand, there was patently no Chassan to congratulate, so I was left to eating popcorn and making smalltalk with a future brother in law (another Ben Tzion, oddly enough).

People slowly trickled in, and after they had said "Mazel Tov" to everyone else in the room they would turn to me and say something along the lines of, "And whose side are you from?" As it happens, I have a connection to both sides, but it's hard to explain such subtleties in five seconds. Thus passed an awkward time which only abated when Yankel walked in. I proceeded to make several phone calls notifying friends and acquaintances of the happy proceedings, which of course mandated my staying put until they arrived.

Did I appear strange in the eyes of my fellow party-goers for staying so long? Possibly. But I can't live my life worrying about what other people think-I have enough problems with what I think.

In tomorrow night's exciting episode, catch TRS by the lchaim, where despite the crowding milieu he somehow manages to feel awkward.

28 comments:

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

Your wife didn’t really say “Sure thing”, did she?

Dowy said...

lol! see this is the kind of thing im telling you to publish! good social commentary.
i once met this old hippie guy called reb moshe (he was by the rebbe in the 60's, and he hasn't worn shoes in 30 years!) who traveled around alot so i asked him what was his favorite place to be, he thought for a second and said "my favorate place to be is in my body!" haha thats a great lesson.

Yossi said...

I'm not sure I believe you. I'm inclined to think you actually enjoy being the social pariah. If you wish, I can avoid speaking to you tonight at the lchaim. This would further your claims and enjoyment of being a social misfit.

The Real Shliach said...

CA: I may have taken a bit of artistic license with that one.

Dowy: but where was his body's favorite place to be?

Yossi: enjoy it? Are you crazy? What do you think I am, some kind of masochist?

Dowy said...

lsd land i would imagine

e said...

Isn't it funny how there are Portlands on opposite sides of the country?

The Real Shliach said...

Dowy: but that could be anywhere!

e: In fact, there are Portlands all over the world. The Oregon version was named after the Maine- in fact, one of the two founders wanted to name it Boston, but he lost a coin toss to the other founder.

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

So, when the pirates promise not to return to Portland, they probably mean Maine Portland, not the Oregon one?

The Real Shliach said...

That would appear to be the case.

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

That changes quite a few things.

The Real Shliach said...

How so?

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

They were like children who discovered a gas pedal in the car, without realization that there is also break, the wheel, the wipers, etc.

The Real Shliach said...

Explain the moshol please.

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

There is more to a person than genes. Discovering one cause and ignoring others is stupid and lacks imagination.

The Real Shliach said...

Social Darwinism is more than just genetics.

A Pseudo-Chossid said...

True. And the gas pedal is more than just gas pedal.

The Real Shliach said...

Yes- it's a way of life.

Dowy said...

indeed that could be anywhere!

The Real Shliach said...

Even where the pirates refuse to go!

sarabonne said...

Oh I hate those awkward in-between times where you smile painfully to the person at your left and scratch your elbows just for the sake of doing something. Maybe this is why everyone comes late, it's anti-awkard moment insurance.

The Real Shliach said...

That was the whole problem! I thought I was coming late, but in the end I was early! Oh, the horrors...

sarabonne said...

An early-bird Lubavitcher. Sounds wrong...

The Real Shliach said...

Are you trying to imply something?

sarabonne said...

Actually no.

The Real Shliach said...

Well, that's certainly a relief.

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.
You do seem to land yourself in interesting social situations! I might recommend the "family support" role as very effective on occasions where one's presence is required. My rule is to avoid all social events unless, by some quirk of fate, I am expected to pay for all or at least most of the costs of the event on the principle that I might as well get to eat what I've paid for. However, this does not always work and when I do have to attend social events sponsored by others my standard reply to questions regarding my presence, relationship to the celebrants etc. is to gaze deeply into the eyes of the questioner and say, with great feeling, "I'm here to support the family." The questioner is immediately placed in a vulnerable position - clearly there is something afoot that they are not aware of and, if you have spoken in a deep, serious tone, something they should not ask about. You gain further advantage by being someone who knows things the questioner does not in addition to holding the moral high ground by being there "in support." As a fallback posiiton you can always use the "Finkelstein barmitzvah" ploy but I'm sure this is far too easy and hardly challenging to an experienced campaigner as yourself. I'm sure our founder and president, Mr. Stephen Potter, would agree. I smite you on the chin, Leo d T.

e said...

trs: why didn't you just leave and come back? Tell the hosts that you're awfully comfortable in their home, but you just reminded yourself of a pressing errand to be done on their block, and it would be supremely convenient if you would just hop off and come back.

The Real Shliach said...

LdT: Oh, very good, very good! In fact, if you don't mind, I think I shall publish your advice as a separate post in the fullness of time.

e: The location of the house combined with the time of night combined to render such a plan of action a dangerous one. Plus it was raining. Plus the happy groom and bride were expected any moment. But otherwise, in theory, your plan sounds like a good one.