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Dinner Party from Hell

Last week we went out to dinner with 4 other couples.

After a lot of arguing about who liked to eat what, and where, we picked a restaurant we could all live with. We arrived to find a crowd of people standing in line at the door. We were offered the option of standing in the lobby or going to the bar and finding a seat. It’ll be half an hour, they said, or maybe 45 minutes, depending. The bar was full of televisions blasting tonight’s game, and we were expected to buy a drink.

After an hour, we were ushered to our table. Service was sporadic as the place was full and one waitperson had called in sick. Televisions still featured the game, but it was close captioned, so people had to stare at the screen for a while to get the gist of it. Everyone was talking, or laughing, and the decibel level was high. Two people at our table are fairly deaf, so they couldn’t hear our conversation. They stared at the televisions instead. The table was wobbly and a glass of red wine fell over, splashing onto my new silk pants.

The food arrived 45 minutes later, minus one person’s French fries. One person was given the wrong dish. The food allergies had been misunderstood, and one plate had to be refused. We skipped dessert but hung in for coffee, at $4 a cup.

This week I hired a chef to come to our house to serve his signature dish. No one argued about the venue. No one challenged the food choice. All their allergies and sensitivities were accommodated. The room was quiet. There was no television. There were no loud people at the next table. The deaf couple could participate in the conversation. We had lots of wine, and my table doesn’t wobble. Dessert was included. Coffee was pretty much free.

Guess which dinner party was more successful.

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