Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dinner for How Many?

Not long ago, you hosted a dinner of the sort inspired by your late, dear friend, Digby Wolf, who wrote, produced, and directed a memorable prototype of such dinners. His version, called Dinner for One, featured a regal, elderly lady and a butler of equal age but none of the substantive bearing.

This dinner for one had the grand dame presiding over a full-course meal, with settings for all of her most cherished former lovers. Your hosted meal was in a large, filled-to-near-capacity restaurant, where your setting was the only one visible. The decorations were a small pot of flowers, asters from the look of them, a bottle of Heinz ketchup, and a bottle of Heinz mustard.

Instead of a butler, your server was a comely, smiling Native American, probably still in her twenties, name of Lianna. 

Unlike the Wolfian prototype, your guests were aspects of you, in particular, aspects you may at times have not been willing to be seen with in public, due to your regard for them and their possible regard from you. 

You began with a welcoming toast to all of them, ahead of the civility curve at least to the point where you recognized how, whatever negative traits you may have attributed to them, they had a hand in shaping you in your role as the literal and figurative host of this meal and, even more to the point, the entity of which we are all component parts.

"Could have picked a place with a better view," The Critic said.

"Not an imaginative menu," The Editor said.

"Could have been closer to a door or emergency exit," The Panic Button said.

"No need to tip twenty percent in a dive like this, El Cheapo said.

"Good choice," The Image said, "no danger of you being spotted here."

"Nevertheless," you said, then went on to tell them how glad they were all here, making a special call out to The Cynic, who was prompt in his assessment that this attempt at solidarity had less of a chance at success than a man or woman of Muslim faith being selected for a cabinet role in the Trump administration.

Each of these selves, along with a number of others who, in individual ways, caused you to think twice, indeed overthink, possibly not think at all, possibly not act at all or overact, or doubt, or lash out in uncritical response to some event or trend in your growing self, all of them contributed at length to the person you are now and the person you hope to become for at least a day before the time comes when you are no longer able to be a person, but must return to the component parts and design from which you sprang forth, bawling and fussing, these many years ago.

Like many things in the Reality of life, the meal was a negotiated success rather than a boffo hit. Someone--you don't call names in a situation like this--tried to make off with a souvenir fork, and someone got ketchup on your shirt, causing a brief argument about the best way to remove the stain and fear that tomato-based stains don't wash out.

There was also the last-minute reminder, "This is what you get for taking us to a place that serves ketchup."

All things being equal, the dinner was a success and you are now resolved to try another such meeting, this time at Trattoria Victoria, where the sea bass is excellent, or Gianfranco, where the osso bucco is superb.

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