A New Year’s Resolution – Think of Someone Else

Right From the Start

When you are invited to dinner at someone’s home, do you regularly bring a bottle of wine? Of course you do. You like wine. But did you ever stop to think that the homeowner – someone like me for instance – might drink single malt scotch instead of wine. I mean, maybe even dislikes wine because it tastes like dirt to him.

In forty years of marriage and visiting friends in a dozen states, we have dutifully carried the obligatory bottle of wine to such gatherings. Only once in all those years did guests invited to our home ever bring a bottle of single malt scotch and then only because I wined (whined) about it the week before. Wait there’s more.

When you invite others to dinner at your house have you ever encountered a vegan who whispers sweetly but emphatically that (s)he doesn’t partake of meat, or for that matter dairy or eggs? And do you dutifully prepare a separate vegetarian dish for your guest – going so far as to assure the guest that not only is it meat-, dairy- and egg-free but that the pan in which you have cooked it was recently purchased and has never touched meat, dairy or eggs? And when you were invited for a return visit to the vegan’s home did (s)he reciprocate by fixing a separate meat dish for you because you are a dedicated carnivore? Of course not. [You might want to consider that if a vegetarian meal is so satisfying that you find veggie burgers, tofurkey, and Sizzlean bacon substitute in a vegetarian’s refrigerator but never a ground lamb tomato in a carnivore’s.] Oh but there’s more.

Have you ever had the misfortune, while at the movies, to have a pair behind you carry on a running commentary (usually a soliloquy) about the movie – apparently the companion must have limited intelligence because (s)he cannot, seemingly, understand what is occurring in movies such as Skyfall or Schrek II. Invariably the orator has a voice trained by a lifetime of cigarettes and cheap whiskey.

Or an evening out at the neighborhood grill when the people at the next table announce that they are going to start their conference call with Joe or Sally or the Yorkie left at home with the dog sitter and then proceed to talk in loud voices because it really is a “long distance” call and digital technology cannot be “that good.” Invariably the conversation devolves into bickering about something like whether Jane’s date is “just a friend” or a “new boyfriend” while the whole restaurant become intimately acquainted with a table of strangers who they will never see again in their lifetimes. Yes, there is one more.

You are strapped in your seat in a full plane which is delayed in taking off. The person next to you whips out his cellphone and begins a lengthy and loud conversation about the accounting errors in a recent shipment of widgets to Two Dot, Montana. On and on he rails about the complexity of coding numbers for widgets, holding up his hand palm out when the attendant tries to tell him to end the call and finally, in exasperation, closing the cellphone and immediately launching into a diatribe to you about the “a**holes in accounting.”

There’s a common thread here folks. You might want to think about it when you are making your New Year’s resolutions