What Happens at the High Table
In a social event, the people who make it to the high table are those whose pockets are loaded. The heavy weights. The crème de la crème of the society. You hear titles like: The Chairman of the Board of xyz; Professor Dr. Madam Mrs xyz; CEO of Nwachukwu and Sons conglomerate, founder of…
As the MC calls out their names from a list, if you’ve observed, these big men delay their response. MC says, “Is Chief Justice Ogbunike Ogaranya in our midst? Is he here?”
When the name has been called out like five times, they then indicate their presence. Ushers will rush to their aid as they take all the time in the world to reach the high table.
The organising committee may throw in names of a few poor men, just to make everyone happy, after the rich have taken their different spots at the high table.
Before the poor man’s name is mentioned, he is already on his feet with his two hands up, extremely grateful for recognition that feels like a ‘national honour’. Do you know the elation he gets from being raised to the rank of CEOs, even if it’s only for a moment? Life goals, baby! You see the spring in his steps as he makes his way to the elevated platform.
While the poor man is seated amongst the upper class, still basking in the euphoria of the recognition accorded him, the thought of ‘shifting’ one of the wine bottles on the table crosses his mind. But looking at the stone-faced chairman of the board of trustees who’s seated opposite him, he’ll be forced to comport himself.
Poor man is flanked on each side of his table by notable figures, rich individuals decked in gold. Their neck folds alone is a collection of fat and excess money. Unlike the floor section, everyone seated at the high table has an air of superiority. Nobody says something nice or complimentary to the next person, just a slight nod of acknowledgement. You know, the big man mind-your-business syndrome.
These high class folks will seem not to care for any of the drinks and small chops at the table. Their body language will give off signs that can best be interpreted as: “Can’t you see that we’ve had better things to eat all our lives?” While they pretend to have no need for the edibles and drinks, poor man’s eye is chooking. E dey hungry am die. But will he be the first to pop the bottle of Amarula that has been seducing him when the honourable Minister of works that he shares a table with hasn’t made any move?
Or maybe its all in his head. There’s really no need to be terrified or feel socially awkward. After all, everybody at the high table is entitled to everything served there. He assures himself. So, poor man bravely grabs a bottle wine. Fuck em!
As he guzzles the content greedily his eyes meet that of the female Managing director of a certain federal medical centre seated at the far end of the table. The look on her face depicts: Ehen? Longa throat. You couldn’t wait? Glutton of the century.
They all cast quizzical stares in his direction. Stares which speak volumes. Silent judgements are passed with their eyes. But surprisingly, at the end of the event, not one bottle of wine is found on the high table.