Several months ago my friend Adele invited a mutual acquaintance to join her for lunch at an Indian restaurant she'd discovered. Marcia met her there and announced offhandedly that she'd actually been there the day before to check the place out. Adele was nonplussed: You didn't trust my directions? Or, worse yet, my taste? Not a big deal, but I sympathize; there's something vaguely galling about spoiling a friend's incipient delight by pre-empting her introduction to a new place or experience she thought you'd enjoy and was hoping you'd enjoy together.
Last week my friend Jackie and I found ourselves in Chinatown, hungry. I'd parked on 4th just off Burnside, by a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant I knew (thanks to Adele, coincidentally) and figured would do just fine. As we entered Jackie caught sight of a sign up the block. "Ping!" she said, simply delighting in the name. She's from out of town, and had no way of knowing how hot and hyped Andy Ricker's new place is, let alone that several of us, Adele included, were planning to meet for dinner there the following night. Later, I emailed Adele saying "Hey, I could've taken my friend to Ping for lunch, but I didn't want to pull a Marcia." She replied that she was proud of me.
Today I pulled a Marcia. Adele is a thrifting buddy as well as a restaurant pal, and we'd talked about including Village Merchants on SE Division in our next lunch-and-cheap-shopping tour. But I happened to drive by the shop this morning en route home from a dim sum breakfast with Libbi, and stopped in, spur-of-the-moment-like, just to check the place out. The first item that caught my eye was a book that, almost literally, had Adele's name on it, along with a $2 price tag. I confessed my transgression, and I think I am forgiven.
In the grand scheme of things, pulling a Marcia is a mere peccadillo, I'm sure. Especially when it's not premeditated, and you discovered the venue, and you bring your friend a prezzie. I wonder, though, if other, more subtle and advanced cultures, have a phrase for this vaguely awkward social situation, or if we're the only civilization neurotic enough to care.