Afternoon tea at the Drake Hotel is a Chicago experience that has been on our to-do list since we began our move here nearly two years ago, and yesterday we did it.
What a scene. Carolers in Victorian threads circle the dining room expelling “Fa la la’s” at every table. A harpist plucks away at “In The Bleak Midwinter.” Children gulp hot chocolate and make quick work of a three-tiered tray of finger sandwiches and macaroons while parents in dresses and ties clutch cocktails and tell each other with a little too much effort to be believable, “This is nice.”
There was a party of mothers and daughters seated near us, the girls all under 10 and in darling dresses, running around the dining room and the hotel lobby like Junior Ninja Warriors. Each time one of them sprinted past our table I slid my water glass closer to the middle. I noted with mounting judgment that the girls’ mothers were enjoying a wholly unperturbed time to themselves, and I congratulated my wife and I that our daughter was not given to such inappropriate antics in a setting as elegant as this.
That’s when my daughter’s water glass slipped from her hand and shattered on the table, sending ice and spiky shards across the carpet and issuing a bloody spectacle for teagoers’ viewing. Not to worry: the cut was minor and was easily plugged by a band aid supplied by hotel management. The cleanup was quick and inconspicuous. Daughter held herself together admirably.
It’s not just that the afternoon’s blood and glass came from my kid and not the out-of-control urchins zig-zagging the dining room whom I had only moments before audibly condemned. It’s also that, in daughter’s telling, she only dropped her glass because I bumped the table while leaning in to issue said condemnation so as not to be heard by the condemned.
Judge not, people. No joke.