I love giving parties, always have. But as soon as I send out the invitations, the event swells to the size of a Macy’s Thanksgiving balloon. Planning for it blots out the sun.
One reason is that I’ve been to too many parties where I’ve wished I were somewhere--anywhere--else. Just when I’ve talked to everyone who looks familiar and am thinking about how to escape, the host announces that he’s started the coals under the barbeque and we will be eating in just two or three hours. How can you walk out before dinner is served?
I never want people to feel marooned that way in my back yard, so I try to have interesting things for them to do, and plenty of food and drink as soon as they arrive. More than that, I want them to have a memorable experience. Hell, I want it to be the most exciting party they’ve ever been to. The more time I have, the more I think up ideas to try and make it so.
There are the more mundane concerns, of course, like the fear of leaving something crucial undone--forgetting to buy ice or clean the guest bathroom, or running out of the dessert everyone really wants. It goes back to when I was growing up and would hear adults (my mother) whisper things like, “I didn’t want to say anything, but did you notice she used paper napkins?” Oh, the shame!
The worst party I ever went to was an annual Halloween bash that most other people, it appeared, had wisely stopped attending. We sat down to eat and were lightheartedly served food meant to resemble things like eyeballs and intestines; in the middle of dinner, all the lights went out, plunging us into blackness. Heh, heh, heh.
Maybe you can over-think parties.
Just to keep on topic, last week when I had an extra hour I cleared off my computer desktop and reduced my email messages from 1,586 to 510. I'm sure I can cut them down more. Moving into an increasingly digital world gives us more places to try and keep clutter-free.