Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Affair Never Remembered

Quote of the Blog:

Scene: High School, Monday morning

Group of giggling girls run up to me in the hallway -
Girls: Oh my gosh! How was your [first] date this weekend with Sam E??? Tell us about the kissing!
Brook: We didn't kiss.
Girls: He told us you kissed when he dropped you off!
Brook: What!? That never happened!
Girls look skeptical
Brook: No really! He just gave me a hug and then a high five!
[ps. Really]


Scene: Art Show Opening. Upper West Side. Fall '10

My friend Pei had art show opening on the Upper-West side last fall. Quite a few of our friends came to on opening night and at one point during the evening we stood around chit-chatting. Richard said how he had recently returned from Switzerland after a family visit. I told everyone that Richard’s mom was so nice and had sent me a lovely postcard and chocolates two years before. Richard nonchalantly said, “Oh yes. That’s when she thought we were having an affair.”

My jaw dropped.

Everyone gasped. "What! What happened?" This was the first I had heard of it! I turned to Richard, "Yes Richard, tell us more. What are you talking about?”


Two years earlier Richard told me about his mother's love of peanut butter. He spoke of her evolving love - she used to prefer Jif but now she loves Skippy. She used to like chunky but now prefers smooth, etc. I hadn't even met her and we had already bonded. I think peanut butter is one of the best things on earth.

Since Skippy is so hard to get in Switzerland he would buy jars in the city and ship them to her (which is expensive). A few days later I was at Costco with my roommates. We stock up on peanut butter at Costco since it’s so much cheaper than the buying PB in the city (or anywhere else). I picked up an extra set for Richard to take to his mom. I also picked up a box of Reese's Puffs (I don’t know anyone who likes peanut butter and doesn’t like the cereal). The next day I gave them to Richard and told him they were for him to give to his mom. He had a trip planned the next month and he packed them over with him.

A month after he returned I received a beautiful postcard from Richard's mom with a picture of the Swiss Alps and a lovely note thanking me for the peanut butter and “dessert cereal”. She also sent two large packages of delicious gourmet Swiss chocolates. I told Richard that the gifts were far too nice for what I had sent – and was a little upset with him for telling her the gifts were from me. They were supposed to only be from him!

Back at the art show:

I was still standing, floored, as Richard told a part of the story I had never heard. Apparently when he gave his elderly mother the peanut butter and cereal he presented them as a gift from his friend Brook. Not knowing my mutual love of peanut butter (which would have obviously explained the gifts), she decided there was something romantic happening between this “friend” Brook and her son. Well, this new "development" didn't please his mom at all since she had another girl in mind for her son. She vented her frustration (who is this American Brook girl?) with his sister who would then tell Richard. Apparently a few weeks after Richard came back to the states she told her sister that maybe she should make an effort to get to know me - after all, if there was a chance I might become part of the family... (!). I got the postcard and chocolates in the mail a few days later.

Everyone couldn’t stop laughing and I couldn’t get over my shock! He had never mentioned his mother's motives in sending the thank you and chocolates. I think the moral of the story is layered, but maybe one lesson is that I shouldn’t be so nice and the other is that peanut butter is THAT powerful.

1 comment:

  1. Love this story! I blind-folded my mom once to taste test Western Family PB vs. JIF. She finally realized there was a BIG difference. We've been happy connoisseurs of good PB ever since.