12:30—Guests arrive. Apéro: lots of crunchies and a glass of Lillet
1:00—Lunch starts. Huge chunks of foie gras. Two glasses of Sauternes.
1:30—Smoked salmon. One glass of Sancerre. I’m getting full.
2:00—Main course: magret de canard, sautéed potatoes, and green beans. Two glasses of Pomerol. My head is spinning.
2:30—Salad and cheese. I eat salad but I can’t even look at the cheese. I try to take interest in the table conversation without contributing anything, for fear of laughing hysterically. I try not to nod off.
3:15—My mother-in-law tries to get people to sing. I run to the kitchen and do dishes.
3:50—Dessert: chocolate and chestnut bûche. Champagne. One glass, I think, but I can’t remember.
Sometime after 4:00—Coffee and chocolate. Coffee has no effect. I go back in to the kitchen and dry glasses with my mother-in-law’s friends. Start telling jokes no one wants to hear.
Later—Some guests leave “early.” Others stay and my inlaws put on a DVD. I can’t bear watching yet another movie with Gerard Depardieu. I finish my husband’s Armagnac.
Even later—I’m hiding in my father-in-law’s study. My son is playing Adibou on the computer and I’ve discovered my father-in-law’s massage armchair. If all goes well, no one will notice I’m gone until the movie is over…but then it will be time for dinner…