Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pacific Club

Yesterday, I was graciously offered to join my family for lunch at the Pacific Club in downtown Honolulu. We were celebrating my niece's 6th grade graduation, and her family are members there. After lunch they were going to enjoy the pool.

I arrived on time and greeted and hugged everyone as we were waiting for our table. I was already looking forward to the smoked salmon sandwich I saw in the "Specials" board.

There was some discussion up front, and we were led to a corner table where I was motioned to sit in a specific place. I was planning to have my children sit on opposite sides of me (to keep them on best manners) and we indicated that to our host, but they were indicating
a different arrangement. I think Emily said, "If it's no problem we're going to have Rich sit in the middle". As I was sitting down I heard "There IS a problem. You're wearing jeans."

In that instant, I saw it all. No one else there was wearing denim. We were sitting in the corner-most table, and me and my boys were sitting in the corner-most seats. Quickly, we scooted in all the way under the table cloth and put our napkins strategically on our laps.
I was so embarrassed. I could feel my ears turning red. Here we are at a wonderful place to focus on and celebrate my niece's accomplishment, and because I wore jeans, we are routed to an outer-table, and a very uncomfortable "air" settled over our party. I wanted to scurry away, or turn invisible, or suddenly receive an emergency call from work and excuse myself. My addition to the lunch was sort of a last minute offer and in that moment, I wished I had
not accepted. I worried that perhaps plans had been made for a special table, but because of my attire, we had to sit elsewhere.

What can you do but muddle through in situations like that? I glued my butt down under the table cloth, tried to make some light conversation, and really did enjoy the meal and the company. It was all very good, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I had diluted the celebration.

When the meal was over, I thanked our host, said bye to my family, then quietly stood and slipped out, down some stairs at the back of the dining room, around the pool and workout area and out to the parking lot.

I pulled out and finally relaxed a little as I drove back to work (a little late).

A quick check of the Pacific Club website reveals that there is a very clear dress code and I really wish I had checked before I left home in the morning.

Peace, Love and Dress Codes,



Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that. After looking through the website, I wonder how an expensive and apparently selective business like that would suffer through miss spelling(s) on it's website.

"Enjoy the semi-causal serenity ..." (should be casual.

But, that's re-directing...

...anyway, the sandwich looked good!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it great that God doesn't look on the outward appearance but on the heart??? If God doesn't care whether you wear jeans, why should it cause you such concern if others care? Your heart is far more important and I love your heart----for wanting to be with your family and share in their love, for wanting to be close to your beautiful sons and allow their meal to be memorable. Don't allow another moment's stress come from this incident! In the overall scheme of things, it was nothing compared to the wonderful dad, wife, and friend to those you were dining with!!!! Love you, Mom

Rich said...

This experience makes me wonder how many times this happens in churches. How many times has someone overcome all their own misconceptions and obstacles to get up enough courage to step through the door of a church, only to be made to feel outcast on account of a tattoo or hair style or what's on their feet.

Those of us who are believers should remember how much courage it takes to walk into a church for the first time, and be sure to extend the love of God to every seeker, no matter what they look like on the outside. That way, no one will ever have to leave our church out the back door, wishing they were invisible. That person may NEVER walk into a church again.