Welcome to the Wakefield Doctrine (the theory of clarks, scotts and rogers)
Lets return to the Samba Room (at the fabulous Calypso Club) and see how Jimmie’s Birthday Party is going! When last we looked in on the celebration, Sam was indulging in trying to help Jen (or Jennie) not feel bad, Violet had managed to escape the interminable attention of Mel (from Accounting) and Meg, being the good friend that she was, found herself staring at a 6 foot …hollow…birthday cake, and despite the fact that she was wearing a smile (and very little else), she was starting to get annoyed. The kitchen staff of the Club had no idea how not good an idea it was to get Meg pissed-off. Alex Delgiudice and the guest of honor, Jimmie, made a totally proper entrance and immediately (and instinctively), stayed in separate parts of the large banquette room. ( Our Special thanks to Cyndi Calhoun for the Spanish translation.)
…Sam was beginning to regret his impulse to see if he couldn’t make this very clearly unhappy person feel better. ‘Why the hell do I do this to myself?’ Sam smiled as he ‘aimed his face’ in the direction of this Jen (or Jennie) person who had not stopped talking from the moment he had asked what was wrong. Apparently, if you believed what she was saying, everything was wrong. Jen (or Jennie) was in the midst of telling Sam how much she worked and how the people she tried to help refused to appreciate it! They didn’t know how difficult it was to make sure that the office supplies were used in the way that the Company had intended them to be used,
“…and then this girl had the gall to suggest that I should give her a new packet of Post-its, even though I knew for a fact that she had not used up the pad that she had in her desk! And when I pointed this out to her, she actually seemed to get upset with me!! I told her that I worked for hours at home on my list of supplies and the CEO of the Company himself once said that I was incredible!” Jen (or Jennie) pointed her finger at Sam, perhaps to emphasize how upsetting it was to be so under-appreciated. Sam noted, with a growing sense of un-reality, that throughout her tirade, this woman did not stop her arranging of the cutlery on the buffet table.
“What is all that noise?” Jen (or Jennie) managed to interrupt herself. Being careful not to allow his face betray his growing sense incredulity, Sam thought, ‘in a case of interrupting yourself, what is the proper etiquette of apologizing?’ Jen (or Jennie) was now standing at his side, a little too close for comfort, a little too couple-like. There was something going on at the bandstand on the other side of the room, Sam could see the movement of the crowd, a new center of attention forming and there were now clumps of people gathering, like white blood cells attaching an infection. Sam looked around the room, a bit desperately, for a person that he could graft onto this couple that Jen (or Jennie) seemed to be trying to nurture, like a mushroom in the dark corner of a basement. He saw a young girl standing on the edge of a group of 5 people, who appeared to be part of the group, but no one seemed aware of her standing there. Sam looked over towards the girl, hoping for some eye contact that he could use to excuse himself away from this Jen (or Jennie). Sam was really getting uncomfortable with how she would to stare at his mouth when he was speaking to her, ‘she’s eating my words!’ came into his mind just as the band started playing… ‘Hey, Once I was a funky singer, playing in a rock and roll band’ (‘Wild Cherry’ Sam noted approvingly).
“Oh no not a 70s band!“, Jen (or Jennie) sounded hurt, as if the band’s choice of music was a personal affront, “that music is so old”
At that moment, one of the kitchen staff stepped out from the curtains behind the buffet line, the door swinging closed slowly enough for Sam to see into the food prep area. What Sam saw was an attractive, animated girl in a very skimpy outfit standing next to a step-ladder that was setup next to a multi-tiered birthday cake. Because of the cacophony of the kitchen environment, all Sam could hear was the girl’s half of conversation, “…this frickin icing better not stick to my goddamn outfit! I had to put more down for the cleaning deposit than the rental was!” “…very funny!!” …”no, I don’t think that they expect anything on this when I return it” “I don’t give a shit whose party it is or who’s relative he is… I’m getting paid to jump out of this cake and yell Happy Birthday… that’s it!” “…yeah, well then I guess your Birthday boy’s gonna be disappointed… he’s the one who ordered from the Junior Executive Services Menu, he shoulda asked for the CEO Special” (lol) “…now somebody get over here and hold this frickin ladder”
The waiter was rapidly clearing the buffet table of empty serving trays to make room for the full trays of canapés that he set on the edge of the table where Sam and Jen (or Jennie) were standing. Sam saw his opportunity. Stepping towards the swinging doors, he nudged the loaded trays, just a little, as he passed. The resulting crash of dishes and surprised laughter had everyone, including Jen (or Jennie), turning to discover the cause of the noise.
Sam stepped through the doors, walked towards the girl standing next to the Birthday cake and extended his hand, “May I be of assistance?”
(As the swing doors shut behind him), Sam could hear Jen (or Jennie’s), with a very ‘take charge’ tone to her voice, say
“You had better get this mess cleaned up! We paid good money to come to this party and are not going to stand for second rate service. Do you even speak English! I think this is an insult! How could you do this”
Violet looked over towards the buffet table at the sound of the trays crashing to floor. She saw the Office Administrator (“was it Jen? no maybe it was Jennie…nah, no way she’s a Jennie” Violet thought.) standing over a waiter who was frantically picking up food and serving trays from the floor next to the buffet table. The Office Admin was beginning to yell. The waiter looked like he was about to cry, until he heard the words, ‘even speak English‘, then he looked scared. Violet decided that even if nothing else came out of this Party, she would be able help this poor man. She stepped to the right side of the table, crouched down and began to gather up little Ritz type crackers that were in small piles on the carpet. “Gracias“, she heard, the waiter was half under the buffet table recovering the last of the serving dishes.
“No problema. Parecía que necesitaba ayuda” Violet was careful to keep her voice low enough to escape the notice of Jen (or Jennie), who for some reason had her Blackberry out and was texting some sort of message.
“Esa mujer. ¿Por qué es tan antipática?“, the Waiter spoke softly and immediately got up, and without waiting for an answer to his question, took the trays through the curtains and into the kitchen.
Violet stood up, brushed a bit of food from her dress, and looked around the room.
“Where did he go?!” a voice, at once demanding and self-pitying, made Violet wish that she had helped carry the trays into the kitchen. Jen (or Jennie) turned to face Violet, raising the Blackberry in front of her, much as a missionary might hold a crucifix up before the soon-to-be-converted pagans, confident that the power of the symbol would dispel any thought of questioning her authority.
“I’ve sent a scathing email to the owner of this place, with a cc to the Health Department. I think there might be un-documented employees here!” her voice was increasing in volume and people began turn in their direction. Violet looked desperately for some diversion or distraction from the crowd of people.
‘Screw this, Violet thought, ‘I am not going to spend this evening being this person’s …hostage. I don’t care if everyone thinks I’m an awful person.”
Violet turned to Jen (or Jennie) said, “Hey, would really love to stay and chat, but I need to talk to Ms. Delgiudice about getting a transfer into her Department. You’ll be fine here and tell you what, if I see Mel, I’ll be sure to tell him you need to talk to him”.
With that Violet walked away, toward the center of the room where Alex was dancing with some fairly old-looking guy that she did not recognize,
“Go ahead, Violet, you want excitement? Just walk over there and tell the old guy that you’re cutting in” Violet laughed at her own thought, and continued to walk towards the dance floor.
Meg started to tell this new guy that she didn’t frickin need any help but stopped, something in his look of ‘amused concern’ …maybe there was someone in this zoo that might make the evening worthwhile…
(…to be continued)
For the full story (so far) in one place, go here.