So we've rung in the new liturgical year, the new Gregorian year, and the new Julian year, and we're closing in on the lunar new year and not only do I still not have a word for 2015, but I'm still thinking about issues related to 2014's word!
I came up with the perfect caption to tie this image to my post
. . . but had to reconsider it =P
. . . but had to reconsider it =P
Take this story from work, which made me wonder what you would do in the same situation. (Yes, you, dear reader!) Happily, I wasn't directly involved--so we'll be brainstorming answers in the combox together!
I work with a man who has an unusual way of celebrating his birthday at the office. About two weeks in advance, he tells his friends among our colleagues that he's going to have a celebration, and asks them to bring some food to it. An invitation would go like this: "My birthday is on Friday and I'm going to have a small party in the office break room. Would you bring some fried chicken for the party, please?"
Everyone was happy to say yes the first time . . . and the second time . . . but by the third time, it was getting really weird . . .
For one thing, his idea of party planning goes against the Philippine custom of you being the one who feeds everyone else. It's not unheard of for a birthday celebrant to bring ten people to a restaurant and then pick up the entire tab! And my friends and I giggled for weeks after the stingiest member of our circle organised his big bash by making sure each of his guests got exactly one slice of pizza, one buffalo wing, and one tall glass of soda: the perfect compromise between a cultural tradition and his personal values! LOL!
For another thing, this colleague of mine also makes a point to invite certain people whom he is otherwise unfriendly to (and snide about behind their backs) the rest of the year, because he is certain that they'll be so happy to be included that they'll bring whatever food he asks them to bring!
Anyway, this had been going on for five years when my closest friend in the office got her annual invitation last month. She had already been dreading it--firstly because she finds the celebrant's behaviour very entitled and rude, and secondly because she has been tightening her belt since her daughter in uni lost the scholarship they had been relying on. So when the celebrant (who knows about the daughter's scholarship) asked her to contribute the couscous salad that she sometimes sells for extra money in the office cafeteria, she tried to get away with a generic "Money has been really tight for me lately . . ." She didn't expect his reply.
"That's okay. You don't have to bring something expensive. Bring anything."
Totally flummoxed that he didn't accept her first answer, she tried again . . . and failed again. For he knew that she wasn't literally unable to bring anything, and kept reassuring her that even a single bag of crisps (the "budget" potluck contribution, I suppose) would be okay. At which point, my friend realised that the only way to continue to argue would be to say exactly what she thought of the way he organises his parties--and you know that a Filipino wouldn't do that. =P (She complained about him behind his back instead, which is how I know the story. LOL!)
And the plot continues to thicken, dear readers, for there was a second woman in the office who has been feeling turned off by the celebrant's behaviour for some time, though she didn't actually want to confront him about it, either. So when he invited her and requested her signature squid adobo for the party, she said:
"I'm sorry, but I really can't afford to bring anything. I'm on a tight budget this month, and I'll have only _____ in my wallet for that week."
What she named was a ridiculously small amount--so small that she was obviously lying. But by naming it, she also drew a line in the sand that would have been bad form for the celebrant to cross. And that really offended him, as he revealed to the first woman afterwards.
"There's no way I'm going to believe that she only has _____ to spare for that week. She moonlights as a caterer and I know for a fact that last month was great for her. It's unbelievable for her to say she can't cook something for my party when she has been doing well cooking for other people's parties. And it's not even as if she had to bring the squid adobo. You told me you couldn't bring the couscous salad and I told you that you could bring anything else, right?"
My friend was even more turned off by his reaction, but again, and for the same reasons, she didn't say anything to him. And on the day of his party, she brought a quick dessert that she whipped up at home with leftover graham crackers and a bag of marshmallows that I know the exact price of because she needed to rant to someone. (LOL!) As for our other colleague, she brought the squid adobo anyway, saying that she had managed to make room for it in the budget after all. (Another obvious lie, but I guess she felt that she had made her point the first time. =P I'm not too sure about that, though.)
So what do you think, readers? Let's back up to two weeks before the party. You're one of the celebrant's friends and like him well enough, but you're not thrilled with the way he celebrates his birthday--and you know you're not the only one in the office who thinks so. He swings by with the invitation. What do you say???
Image Source: Times Square ball 31 December 2014