Monday, 18 March 2013

An awkward situation.

The 'lovely Lisa' who anyone who has been following my blogs from the beginning will have already heard about, gave a writing prompt on our writer's facebook page.

'I have a little writing prompt for you today.... Write about a time you felt most uncomfortable/awkward. Maybe a new job, first day at school, first date, second date, get the idea. Who is up for the challenge?' she wrote.
Well I love nothing more than a challenge, so here goes!

My awkward situation. (one of many)!

I guess for me one of many times I’ve felt uncomfortable was the day I met my in-laws for the first time. I was just a working class girl, the eldest of 5 children who lived in a terraced house on a housing estate. My mum worked as a cashier in a bingo hall and my dad was a handy man in a local factory.

Donald on the other hand was the youngest of 3, his father was a geologist, who’d written books, and his mother a doctor. They lived in a large detached house and had not 1, but 2 cars and I had to use ‘Shanksy’s pony’, (the bus) to get around. His mum was my mum’s family’s G.P, and to say that they were a disreputable lot would be a vast understatement. My future mother-in-law already knew about my family’s skeletons before she met me.

Despite this, I in my naivety set off, nervous but convinced that it would be ok.

They were friendly enough when I arrived but as soon as I was shown into their enormous lounge, I knew I was out of my depth. Undeterred, I adopted an ‘air of nonchalance’ and tried my best to act as if ‘to the manor born’. Then it was time for lunch.

Lunch at home was usually a bowl of soup or a sandwich. Here I was directed to the dining room, (a room which I thought was only to be found in a hotel) and was presented with a table set with more cutlery than I’d seen in my entire life. Well, we’ve all seen the films when the heroine has to watch to see which utensil everyone else uses for the different courses and that was the predicament I found myself in.

I managed not to dribble my soup down my chin or send my peas flying across the room. I quite enjoyed the main course, of sausages that had been removed from their skin and chopped up and served in a white sauce. At least that’s what I thought they were. I found out later that they were in fact sweetbreads or pancreas to give them their biological name. It’s just as well I didn’t know what they were before I ate them!

So far, so good. I reckoned that I was ‘pulling it off’.
Then came pudding! Pears poached in red wine.  

A simple enough dish and how could you make a fool of yourself eating them? How could such a simple dish be the undoing of all my hard work trying to ‘fit in’?

In those days I had a false tooth on a plate because of a rather nasty abscess I’d had which resulted in my tooth having to be extracted. Pears have a tendency to have little pips or stones; I’m not quite sure what they are. All I know is that one of these became stuck underneath the plate of my false tooth threatening to dislodge the tooth in front of the entire table. To try to minimise the embarrassment of the situation I chose to make a rapid exit clutching my hand to my mouth, hoping against hope that no-one noticed.

How I had the courage to re-enter that dining room, I’ll never know. I could quite happily have just slipped quietly out the front door and resigned myself to spinsterhood.

Fortunately, my future in-laws chose to see the funny side of things. I’m not sure to this day if the sweetbreads were a test or not as to me it was a strange dish to serve to a stranger. Whatever it was, I passed and went on to have a very good relationship with them, and thanks to modern dentistry the offending ‘tooth’ is no longer a problem.

If only all of my awkward moments had such a happy ending? But that’s another story.

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