A Little Cream in the Coffee

Mike: Maryland is for… lovers. Bumper sticker?
Sue Claussen: Virginia. Virginia is for lovers. Maryland is for crabs.

Management (2008)


The other night I attended a Crab Feast that was held over at Martin’s West.

This is notable for a couple of reasons: first, because it was the first time that I’d attended this annual event, since it was the first time that I was a member of the school system’s administrators’ union; and second, because I’d never been to Martin’s West before. This, for some reason, surprised many of my co-workers. Then some of them decided that it was because of my skin color.

Maybe it’s because I’ve never been invited to an event that large since I moved down here. I will concede, however, that I did feel a bit like the inside of an Oreo.

I got to the event and, despite getting there only about ten minutes after the scheduled start, the place was hopping. There were lots of principals and several of my counterparts there, and there was a DJ up front playing music. Let me tell you about this DJ: he was terrible. If I’d been in a crappier mood, I’d have gone up to him to get his card specifically so I could tell you “Don’t hire this guy”.

Believe it or not, I say that rather reluctantly. I used to be a mobile DJ and I know what a tough job it is sometimes, especially when you get groups of varying types of people. When I did, say, birthday parties? No problem because everyone’s the same age and has similar tastes in music. But when you get those multigenerational groups, you get complaints when the music is too modern, or when it’s not modern enough, or the older people think it’s too loud and the younger people think it’s not loud enough, and you wind up playing the same few songs at these events and it just makes your brain hurt. So I know it can be a tough gig.

However: when you have a group like this, who are mostly of similar demographics, the job becomes stupidly easy. From that standpoint he did okay, but he had no sense of being able to go smoothly from one song to another (dude, it’s called a “segue”). He also found it necessary to play several songs more than once. I was only there for about two hours or so, and in one case I heard the same song three times. I’m kind of pissed off that my union dues paid for this guy.

For those of you who are white have also never been to Martin’s West before, it’s a pretty typical big Wedding Factory kind of place. Big, gaudy chandeliers, columns all over the place, sweeping staircases, heavy draperies everywhere and relatively dim lighting. On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a catering hall with a terrazzo floor before, so there’s that.

The food wasn’t bad: it wasn’t just crabs that they served; there was an assortment of non-crab food out there, and they had a kind of “crab station” where you picked up your crabs three or four at a time, set up whatever condiments you liked for them (e.g. extra Old Bay, drawn-butter-flavored grease, etc), and an array of desserts, plus hot and cold beverages, including beer (which, everyone knows, goes fabulously with crabs).

The most amusing part to me, however, was the little tent cards that were propped up pretty much EVERYWHERE throughout the place:

PLEASE UNDERSTAND OUR PROBLEM: Our food is served continually and the amount is unlimited as long as you eat it here. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TAKE ANY FOOD OR BEVERAGE OFF THE PREMISES. ALL BAGS WILL BE EXAMINED

One of my co-workers saw that and remarked, “That’s so ghetto.” I don’t know if it’s that, but it’s certainly something. For what it’s worth, I left with a cup of hot tea in my hand and nobody challenged me.

One thought on “A Little Cream in the Coffee”

  1. The DJ we had at my son’s Bar Mitzvah party was spectacular! DJ Jared rocked da’ house…too bad you missed it.

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