A few weeks ago, I got invited to a networking event. For the first hour, there would be an open bar. Of course, there was no liquor, which is my weapon of choice, but red wine would do. I needed to meet people.
The end of the hour drew near. I made my way back to the bar. The bartender had gone missing, but I noticed two glasses by the register—a glass of red and a glass of white.
A friend drew my attention. By the time the conversation ended, the hour had passed. The bartender asked for my credit card. I spotted the two glasses still there.
“Are these free?” I asked. I assumed the bartender may have poured them right before the end of the hour and then left them up for grabs and no one had taken them.
“They’ve been there a while,” is all he said.
Now I wasn’t (that?) drunk, but I am never one to pass up free things. I picked up those glasses of wine and returned to my friend group. I offered the white to my one friend. I wanted the red for myself because it has higher alcohol content and more antioxidants. My friend gladly accepted and began to drink as did I—until she remarked that there were lipstick stains on her glass.
“I’m not wearing lipstick,” she said.
“Oh,” I said.
“Where did you get this?”
“I just…” I shrugged. “They were just by the bar and up for grabs.”
“This is someone else’s wine?”
“Possibly,” I said and gulped mine down.
You think I would have learned my lesson from this experience, but then I would probably not even be writing this blog post. Last night I found myself at happy hour with several friends. The bar was busy, so only half of us managed a seat. I stood between my friends nursing a mint julep. Two women sat off to the side eating a full dinner, complete with appetizers and a bread basket.
My group was on their second drink when the women left. We hadn’t paid much attention, but my friend whispered, “Grab their seat before someone else takes it.”
They hadn’t moved their plates before leaving, but they were mostly empty except for a cornbread muffin. I noticed the muffin when I shuffled the dinner plate on top of the other one. The knife and fork slipped off the plate as I picked it up and clattered onto the floor. Oops.
What to do about this muffin though…
“Should I eat it?” I posed to my friends.
“I wouldn’t judge you,” my one friend said.
“I wouldn’t judge me either,” I admitted. “I mean, it’s totally untouched. It’s just going to get thrown away.”
I plucked it off the plate and returned to chatting with my friends. I only ate half before offering it to my friends.
We had been talking for about five minutes more and I had been in the women’s seat for at least ten minutes when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
It was the women.
“Oh…” I said.
“We’re still sitting here,” the woman said.
“Oh… Oh, I didn’t know. I’m so sorry.” I hurried to get up. “Here. Sorry! I moved your stuff. I’m really sorry.”
“It’s fine.” The women really did seem unbothered.
I resumed standing between my friends when I spotted half of the cornbread muffin my friend had eaten. My eyes swung to the women’s plates—all empty, but now especially empty, robbed of their uneaten cornbread muffin.
“Do you think…”
“I thought they were gone.”
“I mean, where did they go?”
“They’ve been gone for 10 minutes.”
“I mean, their stuff was still there.”
“I didn’t see that.”
“I mean, I just saw now.”
“Do you think they know…”
“Will they notice…”
“They definitely know.”
My friend buried the muffin beneath her dinner napkin. I burst into laughter. I wanted to act cool and suave, but the absurdity.
I watched the women redistribute their plates. I couldn’t tell if they were looking for the missing muffin. The bartender approached and asked if they were done with their food.
“Yes,” the one said.
And I mean, they had nothing else to eat.
She said something else. I couldn’t tell what. I wondered if she was telling the bartender I ate her muffin. He definitely knew I ate her muffin because he had been preparing a cocktail when I announced to my friends my intentions. Was there going to be a scene at this bar? I laughed more and tried to bury it like the muffin in the napkin.
“Stop, they’re going to see,” my friend prodded me.
“If they hadn’t eaten it before they went wherever, they probably didn’t want it,” my other friend reasoned.
“I agree,” I nodded. I also agree I shouldn’t have eaten their muffin.
Then this morning I went to get my hair cut where I learned that when my stylist and her coworkers showed up for work, they found a bag of dinner croissants on their stoop. Twenty-nine dinner croissants to be exact. They counted.
“What do we do with them?” my stylist pondered while snipping away.
“I’ll take them,” I offered.
She frowned into the mirror at me. “Cazey, no. You don’t know what’s in them.”
Apparently, I haven’t learned my lesson.