T McD emailed me last Thursday, shortly after I made my last update. I replied with this:
Hi [T McD...name edited to purposely],
Thanks for emailing and asking about the opera. As I think I told you,
opera is one of my things. I just love it and wanted to share this passion
with my friends, which is why I asked Laine to make it a group thing. The
opera company gave us a group discount but that had to be 10 people or more.
Knowing how people sign up for things and don't show up, I felt it would be
a challenge to get 10 committed people.
When we met at dinner I asked if you had gotten your ticket and you said you
had, but were reconsidering. Again, trying to do this as a group thing and
get a group discount I explained what I knew to see if you would reconsider.
I had previously asked the opera company how long the show was and they said
2 hours with an intermission, so that is what I passed on to you. I was the
messenger, not someone trying to trick you into making a commitment.
According to my watch (and yours and mine are at least 5 minutes apart from
each other...dunno why, but I set mine according to the world atomic clock)
the show started 10 minutes late. As soon as they dimmed the house lights I
checked my watch. Marie, sitting next to me saw me do that. I did it again
at the start of Act 2. According to my watch the show ended at a little
after 4:40. So it probably wasn't going to be enough time for you to get to
work anyway, if you had stayed for all of Act 2.
You asked for half your ticket value back and I was not wanting to get into
any debate or argument, since Act 2 was about to start, so I told you I
would give you half your ticket value back. I am willing to do that,
because I am an honorable person and do what I say I will do. But, as you
can well imagine, the scenario was discussed at length on the way back to
Winston Salem. The majority of people in my car were of the opinion that
you are not owed anything. Furthermore, I heard from the woman sitting next
to you that you were upset and told her "that guy lied to me", meaning me
lying to you about how long the show would run. All I did was tell you what
I was told and you made a comment on my character. That does not sit well
with me, but does not keep me from doing what I said I would, because I am
NOT a liar and AM an honorable person.
So I want to suggest a few things to you.
1. This is a good group of people and every person in the group is
responsible for themselves. If someone doesn't like where we go or what we
do, or how much it costs, it was their own CHOICE to attend. If you were a
passenger in my car and told me I could go forward because an oncoming car
is far enough away, then I stepped on the gas and got hit by the oncoming
car, would it be your fault or mine? After all, I would have made the
choice with the given information. So, in the future, realize that you make
choices, and please don't hold anyone else responsible for those choices.
Since I passed on to you what the opera company told me, you hold me
responsible. In the future, if time is an issue, go directly to the source
to get the information. You called them to order the ticket and you could
have called again to validate the performance time.
2. If money is an issue, then this group may not be the one for you. A $12
membership fee may seem like a lot of money to one person and next to
nothing for another. After all, it represents $1 per month. One can attend
as many or zero functions for that $1. But WITHOUT paying that membership
fee, the money would eventually come out of another person's pocket (higher
dues) to maintain the website, membership list, etc. Meetup.com CHARGES for
the service..it is not free.
3. If you do decide to join the group, you may wish to keep talk about money
in check. At the dinner at LoneStar, you kept a running joke with the wait
staff regarding "comping" your meal. Things like that (even if just joking)
weigh against you later on when asking for half your opera ticket back, or
asking to waive your annual dues.
4. If you do join the group and come to more functions, print out the page
and bring it with you, should you want to assert that a time or location was
listed incorrectly. I went back to the page regarding Lone Star. The time
was listed as 6:30 and the location did not say anything about being on Mall
property. It says Hanes Mall Blvd, which is absolutely correct, but that is
not IN the mall. ALL of our dinners, with very few exceptions are at 6:30.
And if there is an exception Laine [ed: Group Organizer] does everything in her power to get the
word out. Not everyone has access to their email all the time, but imagine
if you were the organizer and having to call a dozen people, if that is how
many signed up. Meetup.com gives her the tools to communicate, people sign
up using those tools, and they should continue to monitor functions using
Having said all that, I will answer your questions.
The opera was beautiful. It is my favorite opera and it brought me to tears
in some places. The two main tenor solos were excellent. The basso buffo,
"Dulcamara", was a wonderful portrayal and I think that guy will eventually
have a distinguished career. The sets, costumes, lighting, performances,
and orchestra were all fantastic. After the show we all got to have light
snacks and meet the lead performers, evidenced by the photos on the Meetup
web site. That was really cool.
Yes, I like Rachael Ray. When I first discovered her I was smitten and
quickly learned she had done some sexy photos for FHM magazine. As if I
ever had a chance...she married shortly after and my crush was pretty much
over. But I do like her style and the fact that she looks like a healthy
woman. I like her energy and that she is a common sense person without all
the high airs of a classically trained chef.
So, I hope you're well and happy. Please feel free to provide your mailing
address and I will send you a check for $12.50.
Her original email to me was simply:
"so how did it end? somebody likes rachel ray huh?! lol"
It has been nearly a week since I sent that reply and she has not answered. Maybe she got the message. Fingers crossed. She has left a bad taste in the mouths of several women in the dining group...particularly Laine.
Your comments on my response are (and will be) appreciated. I tried to address her like I would to my son...trying to teach responsibility, honor, and owning your words.