November 16, 2007

Passive Aggressive Holidays at Nancy's House

"I'm very upset with the de Mourvailleaus," said Nancy, catching a glimpse of her chic hair flip in the hallway mirror as she walked toward the parlor. She paused for a moment and lifted her head, gently brushing the cross-hatch of fine lines on her neck with her ring-encrusted fingers. They looked a little worse this year. It might be time to call Dr. Alberundian down on Post Street.

"Because it's so hard to pronounce their names?" her husband replied good-naturedly, peering over the top of the Journal from his overstuffed chair. A plume of pipe smoke floated lazily toward the high ceiling.

"No, because they've absolutely refused to move the date for their holiday party. If anything, they've become more intransigent than ever. They know it's too close to mine, but they won't do a thing about it."

"Have you let them know how you feel?" her plump husband said soothingly. He was the picture of relaxation in his bulky cardigan and khakis. Nancy glared at him; he could be so irritatingly nonchalant.

"Of course I have," she snapped. "They know I can't force them to operate on my timetable, but a little common courtesy..."

"Frankly, they've never seemed like the kind who do anything out of common courtesy," interrupted her husband. "They're rather gauche, actually."

"So you always say," Nance retorted coldly. "But that's not how things should be done. I've extended the hand of friendship to them, but I've been bitten for my trouble."

"Fire a shot across their bow," her husband said playfully. "Disinvite them to your party."

"One can't do that," Nancy said. "Such barbarities are simply off the table."

"Well, then, I suppose you go ahead with your party as planned," he said, returning to his stock quotes.

Nancy slumped into the butter-soft leather sofa. She looked across the butler's table, through the bay window to the channel of the Golden Gate.

"I won't do that," she said. "That would give them too much satisfaction. No one is going to turn around and come to a party the very next night. They've ruined my plans."

Her husband rustled the paper as he turned the page. "Um-hmm," he murmured. They'd had this conversation five times over the last few days.

"I'm simply going to postpone any consideration of having a party at all until next year."

"So you'll wait till the holidays are over to have your holiday party?" her husband asked from behind the business page.

"Yes I will," Nancy said fiercely.

"That will show them who's boss," said her husband.

"I think so too," said Nancy, leaning back against the sofa and permitting herself a demure smile. "The de...whatever their name is will learn you can't mess with someone like me and get away with it."

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