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Manners Redux

Around this time last year I put a post up on this web log (which has yet to be restored) regarding manners. Specifically, we’d sent invitations for our Christmas party out to friends three weeks ahead of time with “RSVP ASAP” on them.

One week beforehand, we had to chase all but a handful of the thirty-odd people we sent invitations out to just to find out whether they were coming or not. From that post: “One or two have said they'll see if they can maybe make it, as they have other things on, and if they do deign to turn up, they'll be late - like near midnight.”

This time, we sent our invitations by mail and e-mail, and we gave our invitees a month’s> notice and an RSVP date of two weeks before the event. Thankfully, things were better in terms of replies this year, but we still had to chase some people, still getting a few maybes even by the RSVP date. As of last Wednesday, we had fifteen people confirmed attending. Based on that number, we went shopping for food and supplies.

Of the fifteen who told us they’d be coming, nine showed up last night. Two of the other six had unfortunately taken ill. The remaining four told us “What, it’s tonight? Oh, I/we can’t make it.” (Of those, only one was good enough to get in touch of their own volition; the rest we had to call and nag.)

Now, Vickie and I know Christmas is a crazy time of year; everyone have conflicting family commitments, work schedules, all sorts of shit going on. But is it, and I mean this seriously, too much to ask that you organise your schedules when we give you a month of notice and two weeks to let us know one way or the other?

You may think we’re asking for some sort of special consideration here. After all, it’s our last Christmas in Sydney, our last chance to get all our Sydney friends in one place at once.

But think about this: When Vickie and I organise a party, we spend a significant amount of time, effort and money in order to ensure that all our guests (plus any extra who might suddenly turn up out of the blue) are fed. We believe in the true meaning of hospitality; we care about you and we like to see you leave our house with a full belly and a smile.

In case you’re wondering, let me spell out the investment Vickie and I made for the party in terms of what we have left over after last night:

  • Non- or semi-perishables: an unopened bag of chips, an unopened container of dips, an unopened box of cheeses and almost an entire slab of Tooheys New that I bought today because we’d forgotten to put “BYO” on the invitations.
  • Perishables: almost half a leg of ham, enough of two chickens to make almost a whole one, antipasto veggies, opened bags of chips, pretzels and mixed nuts, an opened container of dips, an opened box of cheeses, opened jars of olives and cocktail onions, not to mention all the food made at home by Vickie: a loaf of bread, a large bowl of salad, a container of fruit salad and a quarter of a large ice cream Christmas pudding.
  • On top of that, two of our guests contributed sweet biscuits.

A couple of friends are dropping over tomorrow afternoon to share some of this excess food and spend some quality time with us, but most of the food, and therefore most of the money and time we spent on it, will go to waste.

Vickie and I seem to get the short end of the stick from some of our friends when it comes to our parties. Let’s face it; we’re not party animals ourselves and have turned down a few invitations this year. But we’ve always done so promptly.

No, we don’t want special consideration. We just want to be treated as we think you’d want to be, in our position.

Is this too much to ask – again? Even for the last time?

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If I had of known there was more chicken, I'd have eaten more chicken... You can never have enough chicken...