Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Table Manners

Imagine, if you will:

Your boss has invited you to lunch to discuss your summer project plans.  This is not a special invitation, exactly, because she has also invited your colleagues to similar lunch meetings, all during the same week. But you have settled on a semi-fancy farm-to-table place, prepare a list of things you want to make sure you cover, stash said list in your purse, and wear something in which you take yourself seriously.

By Chrisrobertsantieau - Own work, Public Domain,
Things are going well enough; you have a good conversation, you enjoy a delicious meal, you manage not to have salad sticking out of your teeth.  You order coffee, after asking if she is also ordering coffee.  When it arrives, you select a yellow packet from the sugar bowl, stir, and sip.

Three sips in or so, you realize that the coffee needs cream, or milk, or whatever happens to be in the small creamer on the table, the one that is even smaller than your coffee cup.  She has already added cream to hers, so you reach for the creamer and begin to pour.

At which point, it slips from your fingers, and lands with an impressive splash directly in the middle of your cup of coffee, where it is now making cafe au lait of its own accord.

You have managed to splatter it all around the cup, but not on your dress, which, of course, is brand new.  You take your napkin, and wipe up around the spill; your boss asks if you are all right, you assure her that you are unscathed.  Nothing to see here.

And then?  Then what do you do?

Well, if you are me, and you want coffee, and you're not thinking very clearly, you gingerly fish the creamer out of the cup, wipe it off, add the appropriate amount of cafe au lait to your cup, making some comment about how much you'd had in the cup originally, and drink it.

And then, on the way home from work four hours later, you realize your faux pas, feel mortified, and wonder how you will now teach your children table manners with a straight face.
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  1. I would have done the same thing. Unapologetically. Because coffee! Coffee is important.

  2. I am tending to agree with Karen! Plus, what else would you have done? Maybe use a spoon to fish it out instead, which is basically the same. If you had left it in there, pushed the cup aside and not had any coffee that would have looked weird and made you look perhaps weak for giving up! Don't be so hard on yourself; acknowledge, move on!!

  3. Wait---what was the right answer? I'd have done the same. I guess used a spoon, but that could get quite messy, too. And then told the wait-person so they knew it had been IN your cup and could put out a clean one for the next party.

  4. I would have absolutely done the same thing. And I went to etiquette school. And I clearly retained nothing.

  5. I'm grateful to be in such good company! :)

  6. Echoing the above. It's coffee. Too good to waste.

  7. It is coffee; it is precious. This is the thing to do.


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