I am in a book club here in Big City Brazil. It's not your garden variety read a book and talk about it type. It's more of a traveling library, full of the latest popular titles. We meet twice a month to eat and check out new books. I love it because I can check out several books, and there's no pressure to finish if I don't like them, or if I just don't have time before the next meeting.
Today was our Christmas party potluck-luncheon. Gaupo's been out of town since Saturday, so my goal for the week is to stay sane long enough for him to walk through the door- then I can hole myself up in my room for a few hours to recover. Anyway, I decided to buy a salad to take to the luncheon instead of making one-one less thing to worry about, right?
So, this morning on the way to the party Sergio drops me off at a nearby restaurant/cafe that sells food to go. This is a place that I've heard good things about since we've lived there, but I'd never gone. So, I went in and took my favorite smallish pewter bowl with me so they could just put the salad in the bowl for me so it looked like I had prepared it. I picked out what the sales girl said was their best salad-some kind of potato salad. She asked if I wanted her to garnish it for me with lettuce leaves. Sure? Why not?
She brought out the lovely potato salad and gave it to the check-out girl. She rang up the price.
Do you want to know how much I paid for that potato salad today?
Just take a guess.
. . .a little higher
. . . higher
Try $60.35 USD
I didn't even have enough cash on me. I had to go out to my car, quite lightheaded and nauseated by that point, and get a credit card to pay for potato salad. I totally would have high-tailed it out of there had the salad not been in my favorite pewter bowl.
Oh how I wish this were the only sad story I had to report today, but there's more.
I had to take a white elephant gift that was supposed to be valued at $25.00. I grudgingly broke in to my gift stash and chose a very nice talevara plate that I had bought in Mexico. We played the game where you draw numbers and pick in order, the person's whose turn it is can either chose a new present, or steal one that has already been opened. I drew #9. Not bad out of 15.
(Still stewing over the salad, I was considering sticking the remainder of it under the tree with a bow on it.)
#6, a Indian/Trinidadian woman chose my present. She was delighted with the plate, making me feel like it was worth its sacrifice.
When my turn came around I ended up with the best present there (ok. so I may have taken it from someone else, but we are just going to ignore this little part of the story and focus on my pain and my suffering, not the woman's that I took it from). I had in my possession a bag full of GOLD.
- One can of Hershey's syrup
- 3 duncan hines cookie mixes
- 1 Betty Crocker carrot cake
- 1 Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting
- 1 box of Stove Top stuffing
- 1 can of Spaghettios
- 1 box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
For those of you who live in the States, maybe you can't understand my excitement-but I haven't seen any of these products since we were home 5 months ago. You can't get ANY of that stuff here. And everyone (even the woman I stole it from) was all, "that's great, she's got 4 kids, they'll have a great time with that stuff"
I clung to that bag like my life depended on it. I still had to wait out 6 people. I made it safely through #10, #11, #12, #13, #14. Then we came to #15. I assessed the situation: an older Brazilian lady with no children at home and who hadn't shown any interest in my gift as it was being ohhhhhed-and-ahhhhhhhed over by the Americans.
I relaxed my death grip on the bag. I was in the clear.
But then, out of nowhere, #15 strolled over and took the talevara plate from the Indian/Trinidadian woman!
And then she proceeded to come and take my precious!
She's Indian for pete's sake. Have you tried Indian food? REAL Indian food? It's so spicy it makes me cry to even smell it. There's no way she and her one daughter can appreciate the American-ness of mac and cheese or spaghettios. Or stuffing??? I'm sorry but it's just not possible.
My head was still spinning so fast from what had just happened I couldn't think rationally. I could have stolen one of the other acceptable gifts, but instead, I grabbed the last package. It looked like this:
Unicef??? Hello Gabs! Do you know why it was the LAST PRESENT to be chosen??? A Unicef bag says, "It's the thought that counts! You're helping kids and that's what's really important!"
So, after sacrificing $60.00 on the stupid salad and one of my talavera plates I came home with this lovely set of napkins and place mats that smells funny:
Am I being a brat? Maybe.
They are so going to be re-gifted. And soon.