Val is off on a rant. "How uncharacteristic of her," you say. "Our Val is so even-keeled that she could walk across the undulating land-waves of a Richter 8.5 earthquake and never spill a drop of Diet Coke from her 44 oz cup, nor lose the encyclopedia on top of her head."
So much for how well you know me, and how good a liar(s) you are.
I've held this in until I'm near to boiling. Kept it on the back burner. Let it simmer for for five days. But now it must be rehashed. Served up with a grain of salt. Before I am stewing in my own juices.
THE CATERING WAITSTAFF SABOTAGED MY MEAL!
There. I said it. There's no other explanation. The plate I received at the luncheon for The Pony's special award (a leg lamp--NO IT WASN'T! Gotcha!) was not fit for Val nor beast. Nor Val THE Beast.
My salad was fine. Some romaine with croutons, and two gravy boats of ranch dressing to pass around the table and pour. Not a big deal. Except those Greedy Gus members of my dining party started passing the dressing boats as soon as we sat down. When in Rome, you know, pass the dressing boat with the other Romans. So I tentatively started forking my salad. The Pony dug in with gusto, and was done almost as soon as Hick and his fellow scholar. I looked around, and noticed that WE WERE THE ONLY TABLE EATING! Though our fellow wistful diners did look jealous. So I laid my fork down.
What if the speaker was going to ask us to say grace? I was pretty sure that wouldn't happen, what with so many diverse families in attendance, and the separation of church and school and all. But what if he DID, and I had chipmunk cheeks full of romaine? Just as I was contemplating that scenario, I heard the mother of the other scholar chomping on her croutons like a horse chomping a world record carrot. I'm glad my fork was laying in my salad plate, so I was not mistaken for the eager eater.
Or WAS I?
It took a while for the entrees to reach the table. The Pony and the other scholar both picked up their dessert plates. The Pony had a layered slice of vanilla and chocolate cake, and the other scholar had a piece of coconut cake like the one in front of my service. The other scholar's mother chided her on having dessert first. Seriously. She had no room to chide ANYBODY on table manners. I told the other scholar that this might go on her permanent record. That did not deter her. Nor The Pony.
After almost every other table in the room (over 50) had been served their entree, ours arrived. Well, seven out of eight arrived. Hick did not get his until a few minutes later. By that time, I had seen the sabotage.
The Pony and the five other dining companions had a blob of lasagna the size of Paul Bunyan's hand on their plate. I had a blob the size of a preemie's palm. Then Hick's arrived, and he, too, had a Paul Bunyan hand. Very unfair, but Val IS trying to cut back. In fact, she had promised her dessert to The Pony with the caveat that she would get two bites. So having a bit less lasagna was not enough to stew Val's goose.
It was the vegetables. The vegetables, I tell you! We had on our plate the pile of lasagna, and a smattering of chunky vegetables. Looked like broccoli, carrot, zucchini, and yellow squash. For the life of me, I could not tell how they had been cooked. I saw no sauce. Eating the bit of yellow squash revealed no seasoning. I tried the one floret of broccoli. It was hard as all get-out to cut with that funky butter knife in our place setting. But even Val does not put a whole broccoli floret in her gaping maw in public. The broccoli was acceptable. Then I tried a bite of zucchini. I managed to slice it down the middle, like bisecting a tiny green barrel. I ate a piece of carrot. The smallest one. It looked like the newborn borne by one of the other two carrot segments.
But I could not cut or saw in half the other two carrots. My butter knife sent one shooting like a wayward tiddlywink toward the center of the white-tableclothed table. Thankfully, the rim of the plate caught my carrot like Yadier Molina snagging a Carlos Martinez 100.9 mph fastball.
That's right. Val was served a portion of lasagna the size of a newborn's palm, and vegetable chunks that had not been cooked other than perhaps being swished under a trickling stream of warm tap water.
How's a Val supposed to eat, anyway?