Today I went to an engagement party. This was a truly happy occasion - my husband's cousin Steve, who has cerebral palsy, is marrying a lovely young woman named Sandy who *also* has cerebral palsy, albeit in a much more minor form that shows up mostly in her speech. He's happy, she's happy, the parents on both sides are *ecstatic*. It's some of the best news any of us could have gotten. And the fact that she's also Jewish doesn't hurt.
So, how come I'm whining? Because I'm insecure, have a hard time socializing outside of fannish circles and *things* happened. First was that we never received an invitation. My in-laws did. My brother-in-law did. We didn't. They say, and we do believe, that it was a mix-up in the mails. Since they didn't have our new address and everything got screwed up with the old one, it does makes sense.
Word to the wise - don't change addresses when terrorists crash jetliners into your city.
Eventually it all got straightened out and we got a sort of invitation by email. We bought them a set of salad bowls and rented a car and drove to Great Neck, to the bride's parents' beautiful home. Place even featured a goldfish pond with *huge* goldfish. And they seemed to spare no expense - a tent, a lovely catered meal, even freshly made omelets.
Except. The catered meal wasn't kosher. It was completely dairy, which is sufficient for many people, and certainly for all of the other guests at the party, but it didn't have hecksher - kosher certification. And so, in the middle of beautiful wrap sandwiches and fancy salads and the aforementioned omelets, we ate bagels and lox. I could have also eaten the cut fruit. The green salads had dressings, of unknown provenance.
I should have expected it. My husband certainly did. But, see. The parents of the groom keep kosher, as do many members of their family. When they host family parties, the food is always kosher. All the food *could* have been kosher, They had a half dozen waitresses. They live in Great Neck, Long Island, which has a large religious population, so a kosher caterer would have been easy to find, and probably wouldn't have cost significantly more.
But at least there were some kosher food. Apparently, the mother of groom didn't expect anyone to be strict on cheeses, or they would have made some arrangements. And, she was right. The only in the family who she would have expected to make a fuss was her oldest son, who is further to the right than we are, but who lives in Israel. Looking back at it now, it all makes sense.
But right then, while being offered omelets made in pans of unknown provenance, it was. I behaved badly, basically. Not right away, no. Right away, I made a couple of bagel and lox sandwiches, stared longingly at the lovely goodies I couldn't have, and made my way into a backyard full of people I didn't know.
This was not unexpected. The street in front of the house was lined with cars. We had to park several houses down. The couple and both families have lots of friends. I do very badly in crowds of strangers. I really do. I don't even do well in crowds of relatives. plus, given my food thing and the hat covering my hair and the yarmulke on Jonathan's (only one in sight), I felt like the weird religious kook.
All I wanted to do was curl up with a book someplace, but you can't *do* that at mundane parties. And I didn't' even *try*. I mean, I answered questions and smiled and listened when I had to, but I didn't initiate anything. I behaved badly, in other words. I got to a point where I was whining to Jonathan, who, of course, resented it. And it went downhill from there.
If I'd assumed they were treyf to begin with, or if we'd asked, I'd have eaten first or something and I wouldn't have been unpleasantly surprised, and that would have helped. If I'd taken out my book, at least I wouldn't have been so resentful.
If it had been a fannish party, I'd have taken out my book and ignored the nonkosher goodies (and never would have assumed anything else), or else done my cross stitch, and I would have been comfortable and chatted easily. I can't talk with mundanes that way. I don't know why. I wish I did.
So now I feel terrible, having behaved like a brat and ruining a joyous occasion for my husband.