November 22, 2009 in Features

The Slice: Don’t ignore the realities

By The Spokesman-Review

The theoretical dinner party is a Spokane social staple.

Mulling the guest list, planning the menu and imagining the conversation are all time-honored steps leading up to the eventual decision to bag it.

Perhaps you are familiar with the expression, “We’d have to do a lot of cleaning up beforehand.”

Or, “Remember last time?”

In any event, the dream of hosting convivial home-based gatherings lives on. But The Slice worries that some of us have forgotten that there are key differences between imagined dinner parties and real ones. Here are just a few.

Imagined: Magical moments of bonding in the kitchen, sincere-sounding praise for your interior design scheme and spit-take funny stories over dessert.

Real: “I’m sorry. Do you have a toilet plunger?”

Imagined: You smile as you watch friends from different spheres of your life connect and enjoy one another’s company.

Real: You hear people who have just met compare notes on your personality quirks. “Oh, yeah, I know. He won’t shut up about that. And for God’s sake, don’t get him started on his bike riding.”

Imagined: Feeling encouraged and supported by a warm, good-hearted group of people, your most painfully shy friends relax and have a great time.

Real: Your guests assume the roles of predators and prey.

Imagined: You visualize your company achieving nirvana through the food.

Real: “This is, uh, interesting. Fish?”

Imagined: Clean-up is a time to bask in the afterglow and review the highlights.

Real: Haunting replays of things you wish you hadn’t said and finding hors d’oeuvres stuck behind cushions.

Today’s Slice question: What year was the zenith for office Christmas parties?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail For previous Slice columns, see columnists. In terms of square miles, Idaho is bigger than Washington.

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