This Saturday just past, I had occasion to attend a dinner party at the Fairfield, Connecticut home of Madame boran's best friend. (Fairfield is one of those just-so-perfect, affluent, leafy Connecticut communities crowding the eastern part of the state.) Accordingly, we packed ourselves and the boran2 boy into my prized vintage Mazda for the trek to the wilds of Fairfield. Making our way along the curvy back roads of northern Westchester county toward Greenwhich, we soon found ourselves on the Merrit Parkway, the scene of so many David Letterman speedfests.
We arrived only just slightly late for what I had hoped would be a pleasant meal. Interestingly enough, the salmon steaks were fine, Ms.bestfriend's spouse was a bit less so.
He and I are, at best, longstanding acquaintances. But shortly
after our arrival, without prelude, the challenging interrogations began. But more about that shortly.
As to houseguests. I subscribe to the ancient and obviously outdated
code that provides houseguests with the highest treatment and respect. Under the code, guests are to be treated as rare treasure, at least for the brief time they occupy space under the host's roof. (Of course, after they leave, a proper review and trashing is in order, but that is a topic for another day.) Unaware as I was that the ancient manner was no longer acceptable, I was taken aback at the treatment that was to come.
Back to the dinnertime interrogations. Seated at the dining room
table, they began thusly: "Do you liberals believe that we should be
pursuing the terrorists offensively?" After getting beyond the initial surprise, I hoped to set forth a reply that would terminate this line of conversation. But not to worry, this being the heart of oh-so-genteel Connecticut, our inquisitor was obliged to provide a brief time to formulate a response. As such, he left time for me and his other subject to consider our response(s). Getting up to attend to something in the kitchen, he stated, "Think about your answer while I'm gone." And really, what could be more considerate? Then he dissappeared into the kitchen.
A rousing dinnertime challenge from the host, what could better stir
Now I'd like to say that words emerged from my mouth that were both intelligent and cutting. But upon his return, my fellow guest offered nothing and I, too tired for my usual "brilliance" and having little patience, muttered something about not supporting the Bush agenda. And of course this was the home of Madame's best friend, a constraining factor keeping this conversation from entering full trollrating mode.
But the inquiry did not end there. Subsequently, our intrepid host, undeterred by his failure to bait two of his worthy guests, reengaged his efforts.
"What comes to mind when you think of Ronald Reagan?" "Umm, asshole", I replied, having run close to empty on snappy comebacks. "I get it that you don't like him, but wouldn't you agree that he was responsible for the end of the Soviet Union without a shot being fired?" "No, it would have likely happened without him.", I stated.
But yet it did not end there. He started gearing up for the next level of cruel and unusual questioning. But midway through his question and before he could shine a bright light in my face, I stated that I needed to get up. And I did so, leaving our determined host and the other guest at the table. Our host cackled wildly as I did so. (Where exactly were Madame boran and Ms.bestfriend?)
A few moments later he did hastily say that he was sorry.
So much for the myth of genteel Connecticut.