We were meeting friends for our monthly dinner. It was how we kept in touch with old classmates.
There was a new face at the table that night. He was the houseguest of one of our friends. He was relocating from the coast.
We were happy to see each other. We started with drinks and conversation. I couldn’t wait until the appetizers arrived. We ordered a bunch.
Eight of us settled in for the evening.
When the appetizers came, everyone grabbed what caught their fancy.
I had no sooner taken a bite, when I heard someone smacking from the other end of the table.
It was the new guy. Boy was I glad I wasn’t sitting closer to him.
He chewed with his mouth open. With each chew he smacked. I’m sure it could be heard from other tables.
Unbeknownst to him, everyone was squirming around the table uncomfortably.
I took a first look at him and tried not to look back. I certainly didn’t want to meet his eyes.
It was distracting. It disrupted the meal and hiccupped the conversation. I could sense how awkward it was for everyone.
The friend who brought him was red-faced with embarrassment. He tried to reignite the conversation, but failed.
I don’t think I was the only one who was grossed out.
Uncustomarily, we skipped dessert and asked for the bill.
My wife brought to my attention that I was shaking my head.
The check wasn’t coming quickly enough.