Make A Wish
Coworker’s birthday at a local pub. I am overdressed. Low-key by city standards, but too done-up for here. Enough so that I’m offered a gin and tonic while everyone else at the table has beer. I decline. We talk work and foreign language pronunciations and how we came to be here. Either you were born here and you’re gonna die here or you needed a job. Those are really your only choices. I feel like I have to justify my reasoning. It’s not permanent. It just happened. Yeah, I miss X, Y and god yes, Z (where X, Y and Z could be any combination of people, amenities or foods that are now a million miles away). I say it with a smile, aware of the thin line between displaced ingenue and graceless snob.
Coworker decides we should all switch places so the transplants and locals can mingle. We gamely oblige, simply shifting down a seat and taking our conversations with us. He seems satisfied. I snag a strawberry from the top of the birthday cake as I button up my coat for the long walk to the car. Coworker thanks me for being there. On Monday, he will apologize for the tipsy slip of the tongue where he called me his wife. I will laugh it off and tell him that his subconscious recognizes that, in this context, I am one hell of a catch. And I will know that my graceless snob is showing again.