Sunday, December 16, 2007

Teddy Bear Tea

I took my daughter to the Ritz-Carlton's Teddy Bear Tea today. $184 for a few dried-out finger sandwiches and a bunch of chocolates, a teddy bear, some singing, and a chance to get pictures with... a person-sized teddy bear. I couldn't help but think of how tasty a $184 dollar dinner can be. Or how fun the local production of "'Twas the night before Christmas" had been the day before.
Children of all ages gather for a favorite family tradition at The Ritz-Carlton. Guests enjoy a fun-filled afternoon in festive surroundings featuring a storytelling Teddy Bear, a pianist, hot cocoa, tea, a selection of tea pastries and mini finger sandwiches, and a Christmas candy and sweets buffet table. Each child takes home a teddy bear and photo as souvenirs. $75 per guest, $65 for children 12 years and under, exclusive of tax and gratuity. For additional information or reservations, please call (650) 712-7040.
I could wonder how the Ritz-Carlton could end up serving crud for such an expensive lunch. Stories from Teddy may have happened before we got there, 10 minutes late. But why bother with these specifics? A more important question is: how did I ever end up in such a travesty?

I did ask, several times before going, what exactly this "tea" entailed. Martha was nonspecific. Since the other folks going were all in one of Martha's mother's groups, I knew essentially no-one. I'm antisocial as it is; dropping me into a mother's group without something to specifically contribute to the proceedings turns me into a stone wall. I went because I was led to believe that the event had already been paid for, Martha could not attend as she had a cold, so, I might as well see what we paid for. Instead, I got a 3-digit bill. I think the lesson here is to (a) ask for specifics beforehand, which I did, but then (b) refuse to go when specifics are not provided.

From Kathleen's point of view, there was: (a) nothing to climb on, (b) nothing to legitimately squish with her fingers, (c) nothing with which to draw on herself, nor stickers, fake tatoos, or dress-up clothes, (d) no pool, and (e) no kids singing or doing something else to be emulated. Even a desert wasteland would at least have had rocks to turn over.

If anyone from the mother's club reads this, let me get in a last word: it's not you, it's me. Given something specific to do and at least some semblance of DIY flair, I can have a great time with y'all. But I'm never going to convincingly pull off an hour of small talk.