I was invited to a potluck. I have new people in my life that see me as a potluck participant. Sometimes you learn what other people think of you via a simple invitation. It’s easy to be a potluck conformist; you just accept the invite and whalaa: a whole new identity.
Problem is, I don’t cook. Well, I do, but only once every 3 years and this isn’t that year, which is fine, because I wouldn’t want people to SEE what I cook. My presentation skills are in the low range. My lasagna, although a taste delight, looks like it could hold its own in a bare knuckled street fight. When I feel like people are being mean to me, I invite them over for dinner so they know who they are fucking with. Intimidation through chicken chunks skewered hard. I do make a lot of food you can eat with your hands, or, as most people call it, finger foods. Finger foods are great intimidation props. There’s nothing like squeezing food through your fingers while having a “conversation” or rapidly plowing through 4 or 5 Swedish meatballs while somebody is trying to explain why they told your secret to the neighborhood drunk. But I wasn’t going to the potluck to scare people. I needed food of attraction. I want to keep these new friends. Who knows where they will invite me next. Point being, I had a contribution problem on my hands.
As the date drew near, I hesitantly asked the host “Hey is it cool if I BUY something for the potluck?” I was ready with a lie if I got any grief. I was going to say I had a broken stove, which wasn’t that big of a lie because for all I know, it could be true. I haven’t turned on my stove in a while. MAYBE it is broken. I was happy to hear, I was not the only person breaking the rules. Others were bringing purchased items as well. Not only that, she told me what to bring: a pie; an apple pie or pumpkin pie or pecan pie, a season appropriate pie. I felt like an undercover spy whose mission had just been spelled out for her. I was eager to get to work on my assignment.
That very day I passed a bakery. I went in. I’m no health inspector, but I’m pretty sure they were over capacity. There were at least 35 people in a bakery, gawking at cupcakes, cookies, cakes, and pies! They had pies. “Hey do you guys always have pies?” I shouted out to one of the bakery personal who was enjoying a lot of personal space behind the baked goods barricade. “Yeah, as long as we don’t sell out”
“How often does that happen?” I was liking this. I was learning about the pie business.
“Um, I dunno. Just get here in the morning”
Why mention the possibility of running out at all? Instill panic on the pie buyer?
A week later I went back at 8 am on a Thursday. There was nobody in the place but me and the employees.
“Good morning, can I help you?” a cheerful young man called out.
“Good morning, I want to buy a pie” I’m pretty sure I have never said that before in my life. I felt like I was reading a script.
“OK, I can help you with that. What kind of pie?”
“Ok, that’s gonna be 28 dollars. You can pay over there while I box it up for you. Have a nice day”
“Thank you. You have a nice day too”
I was thinking to myself, this is fun. I like buying pies. The people are nice. Not only that, I have something to look forward to with this purchase. I’m now a pot luck- ian. I’m happy.
Then I saw the cashier. She looked like a polish Sumo wrestler who hadn’t had her breakfast. She was looking at me like I had just said that description of her out loud, to her face.
“What did you get?” she asked, like I was buying shit she considered hers.
“Apple pie” I tried to sound bitchy and confident but I didn’t
She sighed so hard her jowls shook “Individual size or regular size? What SIZE apple pie?” I almost left. I was afraid to get close enough to hand her my credit card. What if she snapped my wrist so quick there were no witnesses? But I needed that pie.
“Normal size” I said already dreading the payment interaction.
She banged the price into the register. I felt like I was watching a Planet of the Apes character dressed in a white woman costume. Her arms moved like an animal. She could have split the cash register in half with one smack.
The nice guy came over with the boxed up pie. He smiled at me but in a way that I thought he might be saying “I gotta get a new job. I’m not REALLY happy here”
I took my pie and left. A block later, I started to get mad. Who hires a bitch to sell pies? And why would a bitch want to be around pie people? Its pies. Everybody should be on a pie high. If I ever had a pie shop…I’m going to call the manager…I hope she doesn’t bully that poor kid …blah blah blah.
I didn’t do anything. I didn’t act on my delayed anger.
I didn’t even tell the story at the potluck. People said “Great pie! Where’d you get it?” and I didn’t say “oh, some bitch sold it to me”
After all, I am a girl who shows up to a pot luck with an apple pie.
I just don’t talk that way.
Thanks for listening!
Kendra is a stand-up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed. She spends most of her time wondering where the hell her sugar daddy is and hoping he didn’t settle.