One party down, one to go. Hosted at our house that is. A thought occurred to me: I don't really like parties. We had thirty people in our house, so it was a little crowded. I had intended to take photos but I couldn't get to my camera on my desk. People enjoyed themselves though, and that is what is most important to me. As a host I just want to give my guests a good time but don't really expect to have a good time myself. I love conversation but I'm not good at small talk. Small talk terrifies me and leaves me over-examining my missteps. People ask about me and my family or my job, those typical small talk conversations starters and I answer but always forget to respond, "and you?" There is a pause and the poor person stuck talking with me then launches into her own stories anyway as I mentally kick myself for not actually asking. I'm more interested in peoples' opinions on weighty subjects than I am in how their mother in the nursing home is doing or their dog with a flea allergy is coping. It isn't that I don't care about people and their concerns. If I'm one on one I will remember to ask these things before moving on to some intense philosophical discussion. But having to discus these same things repeatedly with thirty different people, not to mention repeating my own snippets of life is just too exhausting for me.
My solution to this is to get busy with various hostly tasks. I think this is why I like to have the party at my house. At someone else's house it becomes apparent that I don't mingle. I'm likely to get easily overburdened by the small talk and find myself someplace to sit and just watch the goings on. In my own home there is food to put out, put away, put on a plate for somebody. There are drinks to pour, ice to provide and coffee and tea to make. I can wash up a pan or cheerfully mop up somebody's spill. For the first half hour there is answering the door and hanging up coats. At the end of the evening there are the goodbyes, the finding of coats, arranging a bed for the guest who needs to stay overnight. And the best part of all is the next day. With the detritus cleaned up and leftover food in the fridge to graze on all day, it is like the day after Christmas, another of my preferences, a time to curl up on the couch with my book and my cat, drink coffee all day until it is time to open up one of those left over bottles of wine and review with my husband the behaviour of various guests and how things did or did not resemble last years' Christmas party.
It is just after five p.m. now. I hear the fire place crackling and since I've just finished my last coffee it must be time to let that bottle of red wine breathe.
(photos from Flickr are representative of the Greek food that we had at our party)