We had a party last night. For much of it, I think I was the picture of moderation in terms of eat and drink–but somehow when the time came to clean up, I lost all sense of proportion in the face of the prospect of incipient scarcity. As I scooped the chocolate from our loaner chocolate fountain to empty it, I was struck with the realization that “the magical melted chocolate will soon be gone,” and threw coated slices of apple, pumpkin bread and mandarin oranges into my mouth with a panicked abandon. In culling and packing I discovered I had not eaten a single sausage ball, and immediately remedied that fact, I sniffed enticing dregs from bottles of red wine, and discovered the tails ends of people’s contributions–gluten-free Nutella rice-krispy treats, home-made sea-salt chocolates and butterscotch chip cookies I hadn’t realized my mother had brought.
At a party, the dialogue after a person declares their intention to leave often tends to be the most animated, as one realizes that there are only a few moments remaining to establish the connection and intimacy that only hours’ worth of leisurely talk could actually provide but feels compelled nevertheless to cram what information and feeling one can into the final passing moments–the conversational equivalent of speeding-eating two dozen chocolate-coated mandarin oranges in five minutes.
Even as I drink my big glass of water, down two Advil and brace myself to go see the carnage, I have an overall feeling of satisfaction with the event, although almost all my conversations were like those described above–fast and distracted, conducted as one person was leaving or another was attempting to refill a cheese tray. The attendance was larger than last year–a sign of success I guess, and I was certainly thrilled to see every person come through the door, but the the cost was that I often did not see people come through the door, and I didn’t have the same ability to monitor how people were doing, or provide introductions for the ones who might not know people or be the type to introduce themselves. All a result of the fact that I want a party to feel warm and welcoming–but also I tend toward the BIG–or as big as my resources allow. I feel responsible for providing a variety and choice of food, of drink, of conversational partners, so I buy and invite accordingly.
And ask accordingly of the people closest to me, my mom spent much of the week, and the five hours leading up to the party, making five kinds of cookies, rolling sausage and spinach-balls, cutting and storing crudites. Paul spent two days moving furniture and stringing lights to create different atmospheres inside and outside our house. Like my niece at six years old nonchalantly mentioning that her birthday party will be princess-themes, with a jumpy castle and face-painting, I announce my expectations, and when I am lucky, people who love me move mountains to make them reality–and I am very lucky.
I also have a lot of cleaning up to do.
I leave you with this short educational video: