Expectations

18 Sep

Evening on the town with Circe, as imagined

Early, as per her usual, Penny walks into the restaurant and over to the bar to wait for Circe. Taking in the company with a glance, she strategically chooses a stool just past the smaller group of male colleagues (each others, not hers), leaving the much larger, more boisterous group to its own devices. Surveying the liquor selection, she sighs resignedly and settles. 

Penny: Macallen 12, neat.

The men, though aware of her presence as she sashayed past them to her chosen stool, suddenly appear arrested. One turns towards Penny and the bar tender.

Colleague 1: Allow me.

Penny: I couldn’t, really.

C1: I insist.

Penny: I’m Penny.

C1: Colleague 1.

Glasses clink; sips are taken.

Penny: Thank you, C1, for the Scotch.

C1: I will admit, had you ordered the white wine I expected, you wouldn’t have anything to thank me for.

Penny smiles slowly and raises an eyebrow, cocking her head slightly to the left.

Penny: Do I look so uptight, then?

C1: Funny how perceptions change because now I couldn’t say what I thought of you five minutes ago.

Penny: And what do you think of me now?

C1: Beautiful with exquisite taste, I’d say you’re…

Colleague 2: Dude, Colleague 3 thinks that sanctions aren’t enough against Iran and that we should…

Penny: Oh, sorry boys. But my air space is a no-fly zone for politics this evening.

Penny smiles, a conciliatory gesture in the face of their incredulity.

Penny: Surely you get enough politics at work?

C2: Then what are we supposed to talk about? Politics are what happens in [OUR CITY].

Penny: Oh, I don’t know… Surely you aren’t implying that you haven’t read an interesting article or a good book or gone to an event lately? Or, at the other end of the spectrum, at least watched a little Honey Boo Boo.

C1 catches Penny’s eye, smirks.

C2: Actually, I did read this article the other day in Politico about…

Penny: Ahhh. Politico. Boys, I find it difficult to believe you’re of any use to your bosses at all if you can’t stand around at cocktail parties and discuss culture.

Colleague 3: But that’s what we’re doing! Politics is culture. Everything comes back to policy. Sure, I read that great Salman Rushdie piece in the New Yorker last week, but I can’t talk about it without violating your embargo on political topics. In fact, I can’t even make comment on Jenny Allen’s Shouts & Murmurs

Penny: …because it’s a satire ridiculing Ann Romney’s – and to some extent, Michelle Obama’s – campaign speech. Touché.

C2: What are you talking about?

C1, C3, Penny: Culture.

Circe: Pen, sorry I’m late! Gentlemen…

***

Evening on the town with Circe, reality

Early, as per her usual, Penny walks into the restaurant and over to the bar to wait for Circe. Taking in the company with a glance, she strategically chooses a stool just past the smaller group of male colleagues (each others, not hers), leaving the much larger, more boisterous group to its own devices. Surveying the liquor selection, she sighs resignedly and settles. 

Penny: Macallen 12, neat.

Bartender: Close it or keep it open?

Penny: Keep it open.

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