Someone left a message on my answering machine yesterday.
Someone I have not talked to in a long time. (Maybe five and a half years.)
Someone who would have gotten my current phone number from someone else. We were no longer talking when I moved to Northern California.
We were good friends back in So Cal. We had a lot of things in common. Eventually we started doing things together as couples.
We went to the movies, baseball games, and had barbeque’s at each others homes. We really spent a lot of time together. Mostly we just enjoyed each other’s company.
However, there was a problem.
Everytime we went to a restaurant with this couple (and it was often) they returned their food to the kitchen because they claimed something was wrong with it. EVERYTIME. Without exception.
The food was too cold, too medium instead of medium-well, it was spoiled, the color was off, the meat was too fatty or gristly, the fish was too fishy. Anything you can imagine, they used as an excuse.
Like clockwork all the food from the kitchen was delivered to the table. Within two to three bites either the husband or the wife found something wrong with their food and sent it back with some sort of complaint.
Since we all got our food at the same time, when someone’s food was taken away, the Wild Boar and I no longer felt comfortable eating our dinner and would put our forks down to wait for the food’s return.
Of course this couple demanded we keep eating but it was too awkward. By the time their food returned our food was cold.
This happened over and over regardless of how upscale the restaurant was. Coincidentally, they would always ask for a comp from the restaurant even though the food problem was always corrected. Most of the time they got it.
The plan was to always share the bill fifty – fifty, but when the check would come, they would claim their meal was free and did not need to chip in their portion. Of course they had somehow forgotten they had also ordered alcohol, appetizers and dessert. Since their entrée was comped, they did not see it fit to pay for any other part of the meal. They would, however, be grandiose and leave the whole tip. Hmmm.
It was not about the money, this couple was financially comfortable. They lived an extravagant lifestyle so to call them cheap would just not be realistic.
Weirdly enough, their strange behavior would begin the minute we sat down at the table. They would start inspecting the flatware and glasses and if there were any spots or specs on them they would have them replaced. So right away the server was bombarded with an uncomfortable vibe.
This couple would do this even if they were with a group of eight people. So basically six people would sit staring at their newly delivered food. Everyone would stop eating and this uncomfortable feeling would settle in.
It’s funny too because at first we didn’t dwell on this as a problem because we liked them so much. Unfortunately it’s one of those behaviors that starts to wear on you.
After one final dinner the Wild Boar told me he NEVER wanted to go out to dinner with these people again. NEVER. He couldn’t stand it anymore. I didn’t blame him.
However, being the woman, it fell upon me to schedule the social gatherings. This woman and I were good friends so we always made plans together with our families. But now dinners, according to the Wild Boar, were off the table in our repertoire with them.
We tried to fill in with other activities but we lived in the restaurant mecca of the world. There was always somewhere fabulous to go and eat. This woman pressed me hard to go to restaurants and I just kept inviting them over for dinner instead. The Wild Boar would not go out with these people and I could no longer find good excuses to put them off.
After a while the woman confronted me as to why we never went out to restaurants anymore. She pressed and pressed and finally I just told her why. I told her we thought their behavior, when it came to restaurant dining, was bizarre. I explained to her how uncomfortable we felt when they sent their food back EVERY SINGLE TIME and then ignored the rest of their bill. Blatant honesty.
Her response to me was that WE were being completely petty. That WE were the selfish ones and how dare I call their behavior bizarre. She was yelling very loudly when she told me this stuff. She was pissed. She slammed the phone down on me and never called again. Whatever. Shortly after this explosion we moved away.
Her ranting confirmed to me how crazy they were. It was weird. This was a professional couple who held down very good jobs where craziness would never be tolerated or accepted.
So out of the blue, she called me yesterday and left a message to return her call.
The problem is, I don’t want to call her back. I feel that relationship is in the past and I would like to keep it there.
I’m not sure how she got my phone number but I guess it’s a moot point.
Was it wrong of me to finally tell her the truth as to why we were no longer going out? In the beginning I was trying to spare their feelings but maybe that was a bad idea. However, I’m sure things would have turned out the same regardless of when or how I told her.
Do I have to call this woman back? Rehashing all this with her seems worthless to me.
I’m sure if this were Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm we would still be dysfunctional friends.