Table Manners

When she eats pizza at the table, pizza on a china plate, knife and fork ready, her
fingers twitch

When she eats a piece of pizza, she cuts it too big, too big for her small mouth,
which absorbs it bit by bit, like a snake eating a bull frog
When she eats with a knife and fork, she holds the knife and fork inelegantly,
awkwardly, without finesse, as if she has to kill the food before eating it,
eating the food so inefficiently, I get a stomach pain just watching

When she has finished eating, her plate sort of clear, she scatters her knife and
fork haphazardly across the plate, showing no neatness, no respect for the
aesthetics of fine dining which probably means that she is crude and
uncultured, probably unworthy

When she eats, I try not to look at her, I avert my eyes, I discuss weighty
philosophical questions, transport my mind to some imaginary paradise,
look out the window, or at the ceiling, concentrate on my own well
nurtured taste buds, and try to forgive her her sins

Try to remind myself that she did not have the benefit of my own good breeding

That she did not have the benefit of long hours surrounded by my excellent
family dedicating time, their precious time, to instructing the wayward me
on proper deportment, sitting with a straight back, speaking properly
without any class defining accent, remembering to only speak when spoken
to, holding the knife and fork at the proper angle, using the right
combination of fingers, holding the instrument loosely but firmly, finishing
everything that is on the plate, knife and fork placed at a neat angle on the
plate, folding the serviette when finished, and always showing a proper
appreciation for the finer aspects of dining

Poor woman, she did not have the benefits of my upbringing, she knows no better

And do I want to spend all that energy on instructing her on proper deportment,
the placement of her utensils, using her hands and fingers and elbows the
way they were designed to be used, to enlarge her cultural enlightenment

Reducing an evolving relationship to a list of rules and regulations

Or should I just accept her, as she is?  As she accepts me, in spite of my many virtues.

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Copyright 2017© by Peter D. Goodwin