Saturday, May 30, 2009

How It All Started....

One story that I have told over and over again (and it gets better every time as the years go by because I barely remember what REALLY happened at this point) happened during my very first posting at the Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan. Pakistan was my first tour and almost my first venture overseas (Mexico for spring break and Canada pretty much don't count). So needless to say, I was ill prepared for it.

Back then, I was young (still in my 20s amazingly enough) and I still cared about doing a good job. I was trying to figure out what it was I was supposed to be doing (I have since discovered that nobody really knows and we're all just kinda winging it). SO I chose to emulate others, and the "others" were hosting dinner parties and smoozing with folks.

I sent out my invites to some local Pakistanis and other embassy officials in town -- and, thinking I was all "in the know" I indicated that the dinner started at 7 pm so that the Pakistani invitees would arrive by 9 or 10 (I learned this valuable lesson when I showed up ON TIME to a wedding, and found the hosts horrified because they were still setting up and not even dressed...)

So I'm standing in my kitchen cutting up cheese by the sink and my neighbor (a prominent Pakistani doctor) arrives at 7:30. So rather than freaking out (I did a little) I told him that he was the first to arrive and I was just cutting up some cheese and it would just be a second. He sat down at the kitchen table by the baguette I had already sliced up and I returned to the sink to cut the cheese up quickly so that I could offer him a snack - chattering nonstop to fill my nervousness.

I hear crunching, and then, "MMM! This is really good Pate, what kind is it?"

Pate? I don't remember getting any pate?..... and then I turn.....and my mouth falls open in horror. This influential Pakistani doctor (trained in America - which is why I invited him because he seemed so very "normal" to my small-town in Montana raised self) was dipping pieces of baguette into the canned catfood I had put out for my kitty Howard on the table. (I had to put the food on the table because Poods thought that stuff was the the shit and would try to eat it all, and a huge fight would ensue between the two).

That shit was tuna AND chicken flavor...it was in the SHAPE of a can and had that damned liquid "gravy" surrounding it. It was ALSO sitting in a bowl that had a kitty batting at a ball of string and some random fish all decoratively placed around the edges.... WTF man!?!?

There was a stunned silence while I started in horror and tried to think of something -- ANYTHING -- to say. I came up with "Tuna steak with chicken?" (gag)

"This is FABULOUS." Crunch, crunch..dip...crunch.

I was in a panic. People were going to show up - not everyone was going to fall for the pate excuse - and what if Howie.....SHIT SHIT SHIT. Howie walked into the kitchen, saw that the guy was eating his food (my pets take after me when it comes to food - you don't mess with that shit) and he stopped short, his ears went flat......Now I knew Howie...and he was my precious baby boy (but literally weighed almost 27 pounds - he was a BIG precious baby boy) but he was also sort of a jackass kitty. As if in slow motion I saw him crouch and leap for the table, and in a move that will forever be known as my Ninja interception, I was able to reach the table simultaneously and scoop Howie up before he planted himself in front of his bowl. With a, "bad kitty! He NEVER does that?" I took a growling and hissing Howie down the hall to lock him in my bedroom until I could sort this out. Howie was PISSED.

And then I heard the barking.

Poods had come onto the scene and was affronted on Howie's behalf that this man was in his food (seriously, everyone knew you didn't mess with his food!). This was an eff'in disaster! So I threw Howie into the bedroom with a "I'll give you real fish" and ran to grab Poods. Now luckily, Poods was still basically a baby (about 3 mos old) and the guy was pretty much unmoved by his bluster. So I scooped up Poods and went to put him away -- and the doorbell rang.

GOD DAMNITT!

It was my friend Kim and her Hubby. She took one look at my face and said, "What's wrong?!" I related the story (which her hubby thought was HILARIOUS) and she told me to just put Poods in the bedroom with Howie and she would handle this. (Kim was an EXPERIENCED diplomat.) She went into the kitchen, greeted the doctor and ushered him and the cheese and bread into the living room while her Hubby made me (and everyone else) a stiff drink.

I was sure we had made it...And we almost did.

After dinner, the doctor said, "you really MUST tell me where you got that pate! It was amazing. So moist, but it seemed to have chunks of meat. DELICIOUS!"

Kim spit her wine out on the table.

She pretended she had swallowed wrong, but the atmosphere was quickly disintegrating because she and her husband (and the other couple they naturally told) were trying very hard not to laugh, but were failing miserably.

I was trying very hard not to cry.

"Umm....I got it at the commissary here. It's from the US." He looked down the table at the people laughing and (with a smile thankfully) asked what was so funny.

I told him that they were laughing because Kim choked on her wine and spit it out. A disgusted look crossed his face and he told me that he simply did not understand American humor and could not believe that Americans would laugh at someone's distress like that.

Dude, you have NO IDEA.

The dinner thankfully ended with no international incident. Everyone at that dinner STILL laughs about that. The doctor continued to hint that he would love some of that Pate, and by the time I left Peshawar (two years later), I considered sending the doctor a case of Little Friskies.

I am still amazed that I did not -- because now, I totally would have.

26 comments:

darsden said...

LOL..I am never NEVER eating at your House!EVER

darsden said...

dang first that hasn't happened in forever..
I beat Hit 40..dang!

Hit 40 said...

Why do I bother to post!!! You have the best stories!!

My aunt has a home on Hilton Head Island that she bought about 30 years ago before the Island was really discovered by the "in crowd" My friend Pam and I went to visit...

Pam thanked me on the first morning for leaving out a bowl and cereal for her!!!! NO SHIT!!! She had the kibbles after pouring on some milk!!! How could she miss that it was a kitty dish? It was silver metal bowl on a kitty place mat? All together can we say....

COMPUTER GEEK WITH NO COMMON SENSE!!!!

Comedy Goddess said...

Maybe it's good with a Bacon martini?

♥ Braja said...

I'm with Darlene: do NOT invite me for dinner.

Well okay DO, but I'll cook.

No wait...

Ah crap

Beth said...

Wow!

How can you top that story? Once, I bought some pate in a can because I wanted to learn to be all gourmet and dignified. That shit was gross. Even on Tuck crackers (remember those buttery, good crackers?). So, I fed it to my cat and she got all happy and was really loving that night. The next morning, I found about 4 puke piles.

So, the moral is... don't eat the pate. If the cat can't stomach it, it couldn't have been intended to be real food.

Mrs. K said...

oh my God...I would have died...so what made you get into your line of work anyways? like did they show up at career day or something at your college?

Dedene said...

Bwahhhh! That story is priceless!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

This is too good. If we head overseas, I'll definitely have to go to you for advice. Do not leave cat food on table when expecting guests - check!

mo.stoneskin said...

I don't think I will be able to eat tuna again. EVER.

rxBambi said...

That was quite possibly the funniest thing I have read in a while! Very very good! You should make it into a short story. I imagine you have plenty of them to share!

Michel said...

Dar: Don't you think that is a bit harsh?! I mean, I mean, can't you just skip my pate or just not eat out of the pet bowls?? I'm just saying...

hit40: HAHAHAH!! I'm glad I was not the only one! Kitty dish should be an INDICATOR people.

CG: Bacon does NOT go with fish/chicken slush. White wine, maybe....

Braja: we'll order take out

Beth: If I used that methodology, I'd have to stop eating pasta too. Howie used to barf that up too. HOW WILL WE KNOW!?

Mrs. K: I literally fell into it - someone told me to take the exam and I didn't think I'd pass - 14 years later and I'm still looking over my shoulder thinking they're going to tell me their offer was a clerical error. TOO LATE SUCKAHS!

Dedene: I KNOW! Its why I tell it over and over again!

SC: I'm here for you - also, good thing to remember, do not eat any mayo-based food - overeseas it is known as the suicide option.

Mo - Did you really want to?? I mean seriously, I saw a documentary and it is kinda yucky.

Bambi: Oh I've been sharing. Trust me, sharing is not my problem!

Fragrant Liar said...

You ask me, and I'm sure I heard you from waaaaay over there, the guy deserved it for coming on time. I mean, what kind of lunatic is he anyway? Is it too late to send him some Friskies pate?

Jason, as himself said...

You need to sell this story to a sit-com and make a ton of money. HILARIOUS.

Hit 40 said...

My student teachers girlfriend gives out a test to see if someone can sell Mary Kay for her...

They all pass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am just saying!!!

Who is the SUCKAHS!!

LMAO AND LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can now go garden some more!!

otin said...

I knew it was going to be a good story as soon as you said you were in the kitchen, cutting the cheese!!!!LMFBO!!!!!! People eating canned catfood? That shit smells so bad!

Captain Dumbass said...

I think I threw up in my mouth a little...

blognut said...

Hey, all I'm sayin' is that if it is good enough for little old ladies to eat, it's good enough for Pakistani doctors who show up 'early' for parties.

'Nuff said?

Hit 40 said...

I think it is hysterical that you are sleeping right now while we all trash you!!! Suckahs on a different time table!!! Still LMAO!!

lakeviewer said...

Your whole life here is a sitcom. Really, package a few stories and get yourself an agent.

Pastor Sharon said...

Geez. . . Michel!!!! I wish I had discovered this Pate when I was still a director of marketing. I spent all kinds of "unGodly" dollars on my credit cards taking Dr's to dinner all the time!!!!!! I should have just whipped out a can, some townhouse crackers and invited them over to "the home" for a coctail and refreshments!
I'm with lakeviewer, some big producer should be approaching you soon to do a 'reality sitcom' on your life! Too funny!

Gaston Studio said...

I totally LOVE pate and this doctor deserved Howie's treat because he came early!

marathoner81 said...

I can't believe you held it together and he never knew...one of my friends would have totally spilled the beans.

That doctor is still to this day thinking about the amazing pate!

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

Oh my goodness that was PRICELESS!!!! LOL

Oz Girl said...

Sent over by SWD.... what a hysterical story. I can see how you might forget the actual details over the years, GUFFAW!!!! You really should have followed thru and sent him that case of "pate". I believe Lil Friskies even makes a pate version these days...

Dee-Zigns Handcrafted Jewelry said...

Michel, Michel, Michel... you are quite the hostess! Did Howie ever get his food?
If you give a Pakistani some catfood, he's going to think it's pate, lol!!!!!!!