Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On Luncheon: A Word Of Advice To Those Hampered By Celebrity

Astonishingly enough, my now-frequent luncheons out have gone completely unnoticed by The Media At Large.  It would seem that Hillary is Doing It Wrong.  I've given this quite a bit of thought lately since the former Secretary has been all over the television news, print media, and Interwebs munching on salads with President Obama and rumoured to be lunching with Vice President Biden soon.  If Hillary wants to have a nice afternoon meal (or snack, or cocktail with nibblies) with her friends, and she does not want it to become Journalistic Fodder and a Media Event, she should pay attention to the points I delineate below.

1.  Location:  Hillary went to the White House for lunch.  I go to relatively pedestrian, often chain, restaurants.  There is no way that a bunch of reporters are hanging out in a press pool at the Ruby Tuesday or the Olive Garden.  Additionally, I lunch in Northeastern Ohio, where no one of any consequence lives or works, (unless you count members of the Cleveland Browns football team or the Cleveland Indians baseball team.  Right.  I didn't think so.)

2.  Location 2.0:  Hillary and Barack ate (ahem) outdoors.  As in, outside.  As in, not inside like People.  Also as in, They Were Asking For It.  Now, while I applaud the Secretary for considering being photographed in natural light, this is an Invitation For A Photo-Op.  I, on the other hand, always ask if we can be seated along a wall with no vents so that I am not cold, which pretty much guarantees an obstructed view for cameras.  (It is a Given for all Dept. readers that I will not eat outside. How silly.)

3.  Companions:  Hillary's lunch companions are Washington D.C. elites.  My lunch buddies are retired teachers, teachers on summer break, friends, and family.  I would venture to say that a good 80% of the people who Hillary pals around with or is related to probably are newsworthy on their own.  I would say that a good 99.9% of the people who I can call up and who would know who I was are not.  Newsworthy, I mean.  This is how I can maintain my Cloak Of Privacy and Anonymity, but Hillary cannot. 

I feel like Hillary isn't even trying.  That we have in common.

For me, this whole Going To Lunch Thing is part of my new Retirement Philosophy, which I add to every now and then.  Of course, I forget what I already adopted as part of my Retirement Philosophy in the past, but I just go ahead and assume that I've mastered it and move on.

Anyway, this latest tenet is inspired by a quote from a favourite book, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.  In it, a pariah countess tries to explain to a straitlaced admirer why she is going out that evening to a dinner even though it is hosted by a man she does not care for.  She says, "I must go where I am invited or I should be too lonely." 

I decided to be mindful of this, so when I was invited to a retirees' monthly luncheon for the staff of the junior high where I served one year, I went.  And I also went to the retirees' lunch for the high school.  Both were pleasant, and at both, my colleagues said, "I never expected to see you at any of these!"  And even though I normally do not care to eat lunch, I found that having a Bloody Mary can be wonderful. 

One drawback to that, however, is that it often ends up costing as much as a Lunch.  Incredibly, my Bloody Mary at the Olive Garden cost eight bucks.  And all I said was, "I'll just have a Bloody Mary."  What arrived was a tarted up Bloody Mary containing a skewer with a few olives, slices of pepperoni, and cocktail onions.  A couple more slices of pepperoni lay atop the drink.  There may or may not have been celery.  I was so stunned, I can't remember.  When my check came, I was glad I had an old gift card my husband's boss had given him. We don't care for the Olive Garden, but I'm happy to eat Bloody Marys there for lunch on his dime.

Oh, and one more drawback to the Luncheon Bloody Mary.  I am often not tall enough to drink it using a straw.  Who the hell are these things for, the starting centers in the NBA?  Why are they served in fourteen inch tall glasses full of ice, slippery with frost, garnished with a half-cup of foliage, then set down in front of me like a challenge?  Yesterday, out lunching with my friends Pam, Sheila, and Sue, my drink arrived and I felt like a toddler who refused her booster seat. 

Amid the laughter, lunch was lovely.  We talked about things International and Cultural (Croatian customs and Belgium); Education (why are the wackos afraid of Common Core?); Nature (the Pony Swim at Chincoteague); and lots of other things.  Probably not much different than what Hillary and the President talked about, topically.  And all without the crush of reporters and photographers.

So, Hillary, give me a call or zip me an email.  We should definitely do lunch. 


  1. Anonymous4:39 PM

    I do so hope that Hillary takes you up on your offer to do lunch. I wouldn't take her to Olive Garden [don't like it either], but you mentioned a wine bar once. I've heard that Hillary knows wine, so I'd suggest it as a perfect place to go. And do a take a photo while you're there-- preferably of Hillary and you, but a photo of a glass of wine would be nice, too.

  2. I'll have you all over to my house and I'll serve open faced tuna melts with capers and lemon. Yum. Also, wine.

    Living in California often means the better weather is outdoors. As in, inside is air conditioning, but it's dry and perhaps cool enough outdoors, so it can be quite lovely. Esp on a patio, where your shoes don't go into the grass.

    Personally, though, I suspect she enjoys such attention. Otherwise, why would she make so much fuss about her hair? She wants to run for Pres, and is trying to create buzz. I kinda think there is a certain buzz to coming to CA for a tuna melt and wine with Nance and Ally and J. She really should.

    A good bloody mary is wonderful...but what the hell, pepperoni?

    Thanks for quoting Edith Wharton. Balm for the books I'm reading lately, which are fine and fun, but not Literature.

  3. I like Hillary, but I think I'd rather have lunch with you and your friends. A lot less stressful!

  4. phoebes--Oh, it really is. Once I wrangle my Bloody Mary, that is. After that, it's nothing but laughs.

    J@jj--Mikey G. has invited me over to Cali this winter. He lives in the Bay area. Maybe we can arrange something. The Canadians in the NotL region are big on fume blanc right now. I bought some really lovely ones. A little more floral than sauv blanc, which I also love in summertime. RE: Hillary in 2016. I don't know. Everyone thinks she will, and people are already raising cash for it. What about poor Joe Biden? I love him, and I think he really gets underestimated.

    Ally--I'm going to that very wine bar tomorrow to meet a friend for drinks. They also make nice martinis. I'll keep a lookout for celebs.

  5. You forgot to mention Senator Curly & his lovely bride, Ms. Brown. Although now that I think about it, their dog Franklin is probably more famous than they are...

    I rarely do lunch these days. (I mean I rarely Go Out to lunch - I eat it for sure!) I only get 1/2 hour during the week at work & it's not worth my time to work through lunch for several days just to go eat something that breaks my budget. I'd rather go shoe shopping.

  6. Oh, Nance. Where to start?

    First of all, I need a copy of your Retirement Philosophy. As of last Thursday, I have officially declared myself to be "retired." That afternoon I found myself, alone, at a Mexican restaurant surrounded by a small group of thirty-somethings (complete strangers) and doing 4 (!) shots of tequila to celebrate birthdays, vacations and my retirement. Feeling very lost and alone, I decided I needed a plan for this phase of my life. Your wisdom would be most helpful. I will look for your "Philosophy" in my inbox...and thank you.

    Next, the pariah countess may be right. I'm afraid that if I don't accept all invitations, I might find myself all alone forever. I have done an average of 5 luncheons and 4 dinners per week since becoming a widow. Everyone is so concerned that I will curl up in a hole and grieve myself to death. If only I had the time! I am feeling some of that celebrity popularity at a time when I really don't know what I'm doing or why. I'm not sure if being alone is a good thing or not right now.

    I also wish to thank you for the warning about Olive Garden's Bloody Marys. I generally don't do OG and if I did, I would probably opt for a Bloody Mary too. Since I don't do pepperoni, this is good to know.

    Lastly, if Hillary does call and wants to do lunch, drinkies, or mani/pedis, please let me know. I want to go too!

  7. If only I lived in Ohio!! I would totally have lunch with least until the 16th of August. After that I'm back at school. Light a candle.

  8. Rainbow Motel--Oh, count on it. Several times. And I'd come and peek into your window at school to cheer you up! This year will be better, right? New assignment and higher level kids. I'm rooting for you.

    Karen--Oh, my dear. I am off to send something to your Inbox, pronto. Your kitties will be glad to have you at home!

    Bug--Oh, that's right! We do have Wonderful Sherrod and Pulitzer Prize Winner Connie in our milieu. He is cuddly. And she is terrific. I wouldn't mind sitting up tall to have Bloody Marys with them.


  9. Big Deal! So Hillary eats at the
    White House.. At least once a week
    I eat at the White House,too.

    Oh,wait! that's the White Castle.

    So,as you know who would
    say, "Never mind."

    I think you are right about
    where the press pool hangs out in your area.

    Someone once said that if
    you commit a heinous crime and
    want to hide out where even the
    FBI or the Secret Service can't
    find you, get a job as an
    offensive lineman for the
    Cleveland Browns or the Philadelphia Eagles.

  10. Nancy--I love how your answer looks like a poem.

    The Browns just broke an attendance record for their Family Night festivities and for season ticket renewals and single game sales. Should I be building an End Of The World shelter in my yard?

    Let me know if Philly is experiencing the same.


  11. What do you mean it looks like a poem? It IS a poem...

  12. "I found that having a Bloody Mary can be wonderful. "
    You had me at that. Then came the tarted up version with: Olives -- O.K. Onions - O.K. BOTH OF THOSE WITH PEPPERONI--- OMG. Is this a cocktail or a pizza? In fact, why not just offer pizza by the slice as an appetizer and serve it on a plate with the Bloody Mary so you can dunk your pizza in vodka? And then they serve it in a tall glass you can't reach, when, really, it should be in a trough, considering all the food elements.

    I'm glad the conversation was good, which is what really matters. Totally Hillary's loss. (I bet she didn't get pepperoni, either, lol.)

  13. Ortizzle--Oh, believe me, my shock and astonishment mirrored your own. Apparently they call it an "Antipasto Bloody Mary" or something like that. I wish I had been offered the choice to have that or a plain old Bloody Mary, however; the latter, if they even have it, would have been my choice.

    Was I simply upsold? Probably.

    I wonder what Hillary's brunch drink would be. Probably she'd drink a nice mimosa, but she'd probably be happier with a martini.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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