You know it goes. You invite good friends over for dinner. You pour a glass of wine and sit down comfortably to enjoy whatever it is you’ve cooked. Maybe you’ve had a nibbly or two to start, though I’m finding as we age that the nibbly can turn into the dinner, if you know what I mean… no room by the time we get to the table!
The wonderful thing about dining with really old friends is the anticipation of catching up.
What are the kids doing? What are the grandkids up to? How is the part time job (as we coast to retirement)? Or the full time job? Or the big new volunteer position? What about local politics… that new development down on the waterfront? Did you get out on Kempenfelt Bay this summer? There are so many catching up questions to ask and they whirl around my head as I set the table or make the salad dressing or put the condiments in cute little dishes.
You know what I mean… it’s the anticipation of catching up, of exchanging information, of knowing more and reconnecting with what we already knew. It’s the joy of long friendships.
This summer we were able to reconnect for several dinners with good friends. Sometimes they came to us. Sometimes we went to them. But I’ve noticed that something’s missing at the table. It’s the notepad. And the pen.
In the give and take of conversation, one’s mind listens and links itself to a response, an addition to what’s being talked about, a useful comment that either moves the conversation forward or in a different direction. But this summer, I noticed that by the time the pause in conversation gave room for my comment, well, it just left me blank. I couldn’t remember what I wanted to say… I was way along thinking about another topic.
It’s made me realize that table settings for us older somethings likely need to include a device to record thoughts so we can participate meaningfully instead of changing the topic to something we can remember.
I guess we could all use the notes sections of our iphones or blackberrys… but then we’ve brought an electronic device to the table… not so good!
But like a cocktail napkin, it could be a tiny notepad, or a little square of sticky notes and each placesetting could have one so you’re not caught in the ‘blank’ when it’s your turn to comment.
What do you think? About what? What is it you’re asking my opinion about? Next topic, please!