We just finished a fairly awful "birthday" luncheon for me and J had the bright idea of inviting the Director. Lovely. He mildly ridicules pretty much everything everybody says 'cause he's got a wealth of experience no one else has. As we don't make a gazillion dollars a year and travel world-wide on a nearly constant basis (usually paid for by others) for decades, there really is no speaking on a level playing field.
I mentioned our dinner at Fogo de Chao and it started a brief discussion. I made the error of mentioning the salad bar and El Directore goes, "No *real* Brazilian restaurant would have a salad bar."
*eye roll* Thanks for the hat tip, asshole. I'm done with contributing to the conversation 'cause I've rode this merry-go-round before, and it was no fun. And that was about 5 minutes into the lunch. As expected (when I realized J had invited him), the conversation ended up being about him and his experiences.
So, most of us (me, L, E and C) stayed quiet while those unnerved by silence (J) or ones with less experience with the Director (P) asked his eminence about his experiences about x, y or z. This time? Las Vegas and its plastic-ness and a bit about South Africa. Fine, whatever. When lunch FINALLY broke up, P and L wished me a happy birthday. Unfortunately, I was already in a foul mood.
I didn't say anything last year, but this year I asked J that in the future could we NOT invite the Director? 'Cause there can be no normal and relaxed conversations with him in the room. She apologized profusely and said she forgot how uncomfortable it was with him last year. Of course, that makes me feel a bit ungrateful. But it will be worth it if next year we could actually have a good time.