Monday, November 8, 2010

My high-class evening with the literary crowd

I am capable of behaving in a civilized fashion when the occasion calls for it. Saturday night, the occasion called for it.

Unfortunately, I did not rise to it.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on tickets to a fancy dinner for The Nature of Words, Central Oregon’s premier literacy event. Nature of Words is a multi-day smorgasbord of workshops and readings from renowned authors, culminating in a dinner that included actor Sam Waterston as the keynote speaker.
My not-so-fabulous photo of Sam Waterston.

I was a Literature major in college, and a big fan of many of the authors attending. Anne Lamot, Barry Lopez, David Whyte – I was delighted to rub shoulders with them all. I wore a lovely dress and red lipstick and looked as classy as I’m capable of looking.

That’s pretty much where the class ended.

Pythagoras and I were joined by a male friend, and there was some initial trouble getting all three of us seated together.

“If it helps,” I joked to the hostess, “I’m happy to sit on Sam Waterston’s lap.”

She smiled. “He’s my uncle.”

I slunk away to drink wine. Once we were seated and the event got underway, I was spellbound – and respectfully silent – as Michael Dickman read his poem “My Autopsy.”

I was not so quiet when the emcee declared how glad she was that we could all “come together.”

Pythagoras and our friend weren't much better when she announced, “let me tell you about the lay of the night.”

We eventually got control of ourselves and stopped snickering for the author readings. This was right about the time the woman seated beside me introduced herself.

At least I think she introduced herself. She was slurring her words so much it’s possible she was challenging me to a cage fight in the parking lot.

Within the first five minutes of our introduction, she complimented my hair, shared details of her sexual exploits with several men in the room, and offered me a discounted facial.

Her husband looked bemused.

Mine looked curious. “Is she groping your knee under the table?”

“Maybe she thinks it’s yours?”

When it came time to go, I noticed one bottle of particularly good wine remained nearly untouched on our table. Everyone else began to clear out, leaving it behind.

"Good wine should never go to waste," I insisted.

I rolled up a cocktail napkin to make a makeshift cork and then I hustled over to the coat check to stash the bottle under my jacket.

“Classy,” Pythagoras said as he held the door open for me.

“Shut up and drive the getaway car.”

So that’s how my fancy evening unfolded at a fancy literary affair. Hey, it could have been worse. At least I didn’t dance on the table.

What did you do this weekend to embarrass yourself? Please share.

I would offer to share my wine in return, but I’m not that nice. You'll have to steal your own.

24 comments :

Candyland said...

OMG I love Sam Waterson. You make any situation hilarious. I want to stalk you and witness these thing in person.

Simon C. Larter said...

My respect for you just skyrocketed. You had me at the wine-stealing, darlin'. I'm not even kidding.

Karla Nellenbach said...

ahahaha! hell, she had me at "come together" *snort*

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I stole a bottle of wine off the table at the last party I attended, too. But I finished it that night. I vaguely remember my husband's comment that I should have grabbed a glass while I was at it...

Sarah W said...

I'm sure Mr. Waterson's niece is used to women lusting after her uncle. Or she should be.

This weekend, I held my seven-year-old down so she could get a dose of 'flu mist up her nose - there aren't enough pediatric staff in Illinois to hold her down for a shot.

My three-year-old, who is a combo of Shirley Temple and Cool Hand Luke, is okay with anything the nurse does as long as she gets a Dr. Spongebob sticker. She thinks her older sister is a tremendous weenie about this stuff and was seriously smug . . . until she discovered they were out of Dr. Spongebob stickers.

I told the nurse they were practicing for bit parts in the stage production of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - and that I was the au pair - but she didn't believe me. Though I don't think she blamed me.

Danica Avet said...

I blogged about my embarrassed weekend, but I'll shorten it up. Went fishing with my brother-in-law and when I went to get into the boat...I sort of pushed it away from me with my feet still in it. I grabbed the dock to keep from going in the water. So there I was, suspended between the dock and the boat, my arms the only thing keeping me from going butt first in freezing cold water.

I eventually managed to pull the boat to me with my legs and fell into it, but it didn't end there. No. Because my brother-in-law had to talk about how funny it looked. I can only thank God that he didn't have a camera on him.

Elisabeth Black said...

Oh you are funny. I don't think I embarrassed myself this weekend. Wow. I should note that down somewhere.

LadyGenette said...

You never fail to make me laugh. Congrats on the wine stealing.

I did not embarrass myself this weekend, but my next class will be a different story. Lucky me, at least I get to quote you as a "credible source" in my speech. I think that's the most exciting part of the whole assignment.

Linda G. said...

LOL! I believe I got through the whole weekend without embarrassing myself, oddly enough. Huh. I must not have been trying hard enough.

Matthew AT Banning said...

What did I do to embarass myself this weekend ... ? ... ? ... ???

I'm not sure ... I was at a craft fair attempting (big emphasis on that word, very, very big) to sell a bunch of crocheted (hook and yarn) bags I'd made.

I wonder if at the time people were avoiding me because what I was crocheting was bright hot pink???

Penelope said...

I truly hope I have the pleasure of meeting you someday.

Jeannie Moon said...

Hee...I didn't do anything as good as this. Good times.

Debra L. Schubert said...

I embarrassed myself this weekend in ways I'd rather not elaborate on. I love the napkin-as-cork idea. I'll keep that in mind.

demery bader-saye said...

Funny Lady! I'm still eating embarrassing amounts of Halloween candy...

Dr. Goose said...

What was Anne Lamot like?

Gina said...

Once upon a time, I went to Italy with my parents. During our "welcome to Sicily" dinner, I got the best red wine I've ever had. And it was unlimited house wine. And since they kept refilling your glass constantly, and we were on a tour so I wasn't driving, I cannot even estimate how much I had, except for the fact that whatever unit of measure was used would have to be heavily pluralized. At the end of the dinner, drunk Gina wishes that she could take some home. Drunk bad-influence mom points to the table with the unopened bottles and says "so snag one". Drunk Gina files this under "it seemed like a good idea at the time" and shoves said bottle up her shirt. And somehow no one noticed. But god that wine was worth it.

Michelle Wolfson said...

I echo Penelope's sentiments and feel happy knowing that that day is in the near future. Try not to get arrested before then please.

Mary said...

You are total awesomesauce.

Nicole Zoltack said...

LOL You must be hilarious to go with events like these!

Taymalin said...

My weekend managed to pass with no embarrassing moments. Mostly because I spent it holed up in my apartment furiously typing to increase my NaNo wordcount.

Tawna Fenske said...

Candyland, Sam Waterston was a brilliant speaker. Only wish I'd been a more brilliant guest.

Simon, did I mention it was really good wine?

Karla, she actually said it twice. It was just as funny the second time.

Nicole, in hindsight, I'm kinda wishing I'd nabbed the wine off some of the other tables.

Sarah, you would be intensely embarrassed to accompany me into any doctor visit that involves needles (SpongeBob stickers or not).

Danica, but don't you feel a little smug you didn't actually hit the water? :)

Elizabeth, I can't actually remember the last weekend I didn't embarrass myself or my husband. Usually my husband. I don't embarrass easily.

LadyGenette, I'm "credible" at something? You must tell me what!

Linda G, so you're saying you never left the house?

Matthew AT Banning, one can never have enough bright hot pink crocheted bags!

Penelope, you would be wise to run in terror.

Jeannie, so you only stole the wine, but didn't make inappropriate comments to a celebrity's family member, or vice versa?

Debra, you must share details!

demery, that is nothing to be ashamed of. Give me some.

Dr. Goose, oddly enough, she was a no-show at dinner. I know she was speaking at a bunch of the other events leading up to it, but I never saw/heard her at the dinner event. Not sure why.

Gina, good wine is ALWAYS worth a little embarrassment.

Michelle, I like to tell myself I'll be on my good behavior when we someday meet in person, but who am I kidding?

Mary, you know what goes great with awesomesauce? This wine.

Nicole, "hilarious" is one word for it. "Humiliating" is another, depending on who you are.

Taymalin, you couldn't even manage to embarrass yourself online? You must work harder at it.

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

Gabriela Lessa said...

Huh... So that's the problem with me then. I need to start embarassing my boyfriend more (I don't embarass easily either) so I have fun things to blog abouts. Noted. If he ever asks, I'm sending him to talk to you, Tawna.

Trisha Leigh said...

Very nice Tawna. I approve. I also look forward to meeting you one day. I'm hoping you can help me with my goal of getting arrested before I'm 40.

Just kidding. Sort of. Not really.

Abby Minard said...

haha, I would love to come to one of these events with you! Whats your next event so I, like Candyland, can stalk you? It always sounds like you have a good time, though!