One of my least favorite things about Brandon's job is the evening events he has to attend. When Brandon got hired, I went on a dress-buying frenzy so that I would have appropriate attire for when we went to all of those fancy, glamorous diplomatic events. I envisioned myself swanking it up with other high-class diplomats like myself, laughing at... something funny... and having a great time. You know, because life lived at events is somehow more exciting because those things show up on movies.
The first time I attended a cocktail party with Brandon I realized fifteen minutes into the night that Hollywood had sold me a bill of goods. All everyone did was talk to each other. Nobody even really got to eat the food because there wasn't a time where stuffing your face with shrimp fritters wouldn't look bad. So I spent the whole night hanging on to the same fried piece of food, watching it grow cold and nasty as I wistfully clutched it in my hand and nodded at the Greek GC's tales of travel around Egypt. And my feet hurt. A lot.
I still find myself, however, being tricked into thinking that maybe if I attended some other event I would find that glamour that video cameras give to a crowd of people chatting with each other. Fall is apparently Ball Season around here, and I realized that I could attend the Black and White Ball, the Poppy Ball, and the Marine Ball all in the space of a few weeks. "Oooh!" I thought. "How much fun! I could get all dressed up and pretty and get my hair done and eat tasty dinner and dance with Brandon and... spend the evening making small talk with people I don't know."
So now when Brandon tells me of something he has to attend, I fight the urge to be jealous with the memory of that agonizingly boring cocktail party and wish him a fun time passing out business cards. Thankfully Brandon is not my friend's husband with several events a week, and he only strands me a few times a month, leaving me to the mercy of the children and a dinner eaten with only eyeball questions to keep me company.
This past week Brandon announced that he had something to attend at the Jumeirah hotel. The stab of jealousy poked me a little as I asked him, "The Jumeirah? That fancy seven-star hotel?" If glamour could be found anywhere, it is at seven-star hotels owned by rich Arabs. Hotels are the last bastion of glamour, and everyone likes an excuse to poke around one that you never have the nerve to afford. "I bet the food will be tasty." Because if the talking is boring, at least the food should be good.
That evening I served up grilled cheese sandwiches and discussed exactly how many horses is really too many horses for one person. Five? Six? How about thirty thousand? Lacking the energy to discuss what exactly a thousand means, I put everyone to bed at 6:45.
With the children safely contained in their rooms and all rebellion quashed, I looked into the long, open, empty evening. I had hours of my own to do whatever I liked. I considered my options. There was always sewing, with several projects needing attention. I'm sure I could find a good book to read. How about calling one of my sisters? Surf the internet for hours finding things to buy? There was always Pride and Prejudice and chocolate to keep me company. Finally I made a decision, put on an audiobook, and got to work.
When Brandon crawled into bed after midnight I asked him how the night was. "Oh, you know. Lots of talking. We ended up spending some time with these guys from Dagestan. And you were right - the food was good. How was your night?"
"Mine? Oh fine. I decided to clean the carpets. They were really filthy. It felt great to get all of that dirt out."