Interactions – 3 part Series

plateI was speaking with a dear friend today who had attended a social gathering not long ago and was commenting on how the attendees were conducting themselves within the group. The comments he made were quite familiar to me as I’ve had similar experiences over the years when in attendance of social gatherings. It’s been a while since I’ve spoken or even thought about my observations at social affairs.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is an energy of sorts that builds withing a group and that force could either grow positive or negative. I’m sure nearly everyone has been to parties where they were considered a flop, a stormy disaster, or a delightful happening that you wished would never end. It seems I’ve encountered them all and some will always rest in memory never to be forgotten.

Let’s speak first about the flop gatherings. Everyone gets invited to parties or celebrations that seem tedious yet due to either the close familial relationship of the party-giver or gnawing sense of duty, we force ourselves to go. Long ago I was badgered by a secretary to attend a family celebration because it was going to be really fun and the food and beverages were to be off-worldly delicious. I likely wouldn’t have attended but I was continually reminded how much I would enjoy myself. The evening arrived and I decided to make an appearance. In saying this, I’m not being mean spirited or anything of the sort, but what I expected was not what I found. The food was likely all from a can or pre-cooked for re-heating, the tableware was plastic and the plates were the flimsiest of paper. Everyone was encouraged to fill their plates and go to the family room where there were folding tables and a big screen television playing a re-run of Dallas. Attempting to converse with someone was difficult due to the volume of the television and most were watching the screen and eating more than they were visiting. There wasn’t even glassware provided; you either had a can of soda or beer to choose from and it was straight out of the Coleman cooler next to the sofa. I conducted myself as a gentleman and endured the several hours I was there. While driving home I couldn’t help but think how different people are when it comes to entertaining guests; especially when they aren’t even related.

When asked the next day how I enjoyed myself, my only response was, “It was memorable.” She beamed with delight thinking her party was a success and I left it at that. My take on the makings of a “flop” party is when there is little planning as well as poor choices of people to invite. It’s not that any of us are better than others, but there are those who don’t particularly like feeling as though they’ve arrived at a family’s normal evening meal seated in front of the television. I used to wonder why I would see people buying paper plates during the winter months. I thought they were for camping and picnics. Well, I soon learned that paper plates are used frequently at homes for daily meals. I’m so sorry to confess I’m a spoiled brat and hate eating from paper plates. But on the positive/green side of being persnickety, I don’t have paper plates adding to the growing mound of garbage at the local landfill. To be continued tomorrow…