When I told Steve the story I am about to tell you, he had a one word response and it was in Yiddish. As is so often the case, Yiddish words don’t have an exact translation, but the Yiddish word is usually spot on perfect. Steve’s response was, “Chutzpah” and he said it in a state of total disbelief. Tell me what you think about this…
Last week Steve and I were at a horse show in Lexington, KY and after the show we ran into some people we knew. There is certainly nothing unusual there. Often after the show, we will gather with our horse show buddies and dissect the show. Was the judge correct in choosing Georgie’s Angel over Lovely Lola? Maybe we would question Joe Schmo’s horse who wouldn’t canter and the judges missed it entirely. How about when Bottle Rocket was just flat tonight, he just didn’t have his usual flash, that sort of thing. AND WE DO IT FOR HOURS. It’s a horse show thing.
Occasionally we will get around to talking about other things, but not often. Usually the rest of the world ceases to exist while we are in our horse show bubble / heaven. In fact, in 1999, my dear friend Lili and I were completely unaware that John Kennedy Jr. and his lovely wife Carolyn died in a plane crash off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. In 2005 we were totally oblivious of the fact that Hurricane Katrina was about to turn New Orleans into hell on earth. This year I missed the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman verdict until the day after. Such is our focus during horse shows, particularly the big ones. Not much else crosses our radar screens.
With all that in mind, I was surprised last week when someone brought up Steve’s and my wedding. The guy that brought it up is not someone we regularly see, he is certainly nice enough, but that’s as far as it goes. Let’s call him Jack. As I said, Jack seems like a nice guy, but we don’t talk in the off season. We don’t email… ever. I have neither made a call to him, or received a call from him. I know what state Jack calls home, but I cannot tell you a town or city. I can’t tell you if he is a liberal or conservative. I can’t tell you if he is rock and roll or country. We are not close friends. Heck, we’re not even Facebook friends. That’s how well I know Jack.
Last week Jack was in the stands at the horse show, when he asked me about our wedding. Jack wanted to know where we are getting married and upon hearing my answer (Barboursville), he looked at me in disbelief and asked, “why?”. My answer of course was, “because that’s my home town”. The conversation went further with dates, times, degree of formality etc. all being discussed. Just when I thought the conversation was over, Jack hit me with a surprise left hook. He said, “Well, we’re really looking forward to coming and we can’t wait to get our invitation.” At first I thought he was just kidding, but now I don’t think so, since another friend told me how he crashed her wedding. Seriously. I stood there there mouth agape in complete and total shock. I finally said, “Jack, it’s a small event, probably around 75 people, I’m sorry”. He said, “oh… well, we still want to come, it sounds like a great time and we’re a lot of fun”. I was blown away and I hate having my boundaries breached. So I politely responded, “Gee Jack, as I said it’s a small event, probably around 75 people and I have 23 first cousins, I’m sorry”. I really thought that would end the conversation. But, no, it didn’t. Seriously. Then Jack said, “Hey I want to meet all your family, all 23 cousins. Be sure and get an invitation to us”. Really? As I stood there completely dumbstruck I was thinking, “Although you’re saying this politely , this is anything but polite. Please stop bullying me”. What I said was, “Jack, I’m sorry you’re not invited.” Then I turned and walked away. That was the only way to end it.
I wish there were a better ending to this story. Truly I wish I had volleyed back a speech stopping response, but I didn’t. I can’t say I lost my cool, but I was heating up. All I kept thinking was, “we’re not even Facebook friends.”
So dear readers, this is chutzpah.
What would you have done in this situation? I really want to know.