|Argh! Permanent coffee stain.|
The little incident reminded me of the great schmear incident of Jim Thorpe, PA, back about 5 years ago. I quickly scanned my blog posts and realized I hadn't yet shared that little gem with my readers.
John and I often go up to Jim Thorpe, PA, to get away for the weekend either hiking or mountain biking. The sleepy little town sits wedged in between two ridges in the Pennsylvania Poconos. It has a bustling little tourist industry and has historically been called the "Switzerland of America" due to the sweeping vistas and scenery of the Pocono Mountains. Jim Thorpe, of course, is also known for taking the name of the Olympic athlete of the same name in his honor. It's his final resting place.
Not many people know this, but it is also the place where yours truly embarrassed himself once before a well known photographer. Don't even ask his name as I won't be mentioning it.
There are favorite shops, galleries, and stores that John and I always hit while we are there. One of them is a wonderful gallery called Dakota Ridge. The owner always has up and coming artists and photographers who exhibit there. John and I were in Jim Thorpe that weekend there for their Victorian Christmas weekend.
All of the businesses were open during the evening with food and drink to celebrate the annual event. The gallery happened to be at the end of Broadway, the main drag of Jim Thorpe. Between the place we were staying and the gallery were about 6 other shops, bars, and boutiques where I could get my holiday drink on.
By the time we got to the gallery, I was feeling a very nice holiday buzz. The photographer was working the room taking compliments about his large scale photographs adoring the gallery walls. I loved this guy's photographs. Just incredible. The Giclee prints were each at least 3 feet by 4 feet not including frames and were of landscapes, cityscapes, or abstract designs.
I started to head over to tell him how much I enjoyed his work when John stated that there was food and booze in the back room. I stopped and made a hard left towards the bar. I figured I would look classier with a cocktail or glass of wine in hand. Plus, I had noticed a lot of moochers (OK, besides myself) had arrived behind us. I figured John and I had better make a little plate of something something before the masses hit the food table. Did I mention I had hit 6 others places prior?
Ooooh, the food! There was a cheese and charcuterie platter and an antipasti tray and I love love my crudite' with various dips! And there's hummus and pita! HELLO dinner!!! I poured myself a healthy glass of red wine and made a plate of ...everything. This was so good, I was in "gallery opening" heaven!
After noshing for about 10 minutes, I decided to schmooze the photographer. I had two things in my favor. I have a father who is a photographer and artist. I also have a minor degree in art history. I was set to get my schmooze on! I knew what buzz words to use to sound vaguely well spoken.
John had mentioned something to me about getting too excited when I first speak to someone and to breath between thoughts. Whatever does he mean??
So I went over to the photographer who was with someone else. During a break in conversation (and them awkwardly glancing at me), I introduced myself, saying that my father was a photographer and I was really enjoying viewing his work. He responded, "Thank you very much" and turned to speak to the other person.
At this point, I launched myself into their conversation (whether they appreciated it or not). Luckily for me, the other guy seemed to back off suddenly and it was just me and the photographer to talk about his photographs. As we were chatting away, I noticed he kept glancing at the center of my chest. As soon as he looked across the room, I quickly looked down. To my horror was a huge SCHMEAR of goat cheese clinging to my shirt.
OK, OK I thought, I will just wipe it away discretely while we are talking. He won't notice and all will be well! So I kept talking to him while coolly and confidently maintaining eye contact. With my left hand holding my wine glass, I went to wipe the schmear off my shirt with a napkin. Well, as Steinbeck famously wrote, "The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry." It was not goat cheese as I had thought, it was ranch dressing. As as soon as I went to wipe it away with the napkin, I proceeded to further schmear it down the front of my shirt. It was a schmear of epic proportions!
The photographer stopped in mid sentence and abruptly stated, "Um, well it was nice talking to you. Enjoy the exhibit!" and made a beeline to the backroom of the gallery.
"Um thanks...." I said quietly.
And there was John in the corner of the art gallery dying from laughter after having watched the entire epic schmear unfold. "John, do you think he noticed?" I whispered.