Not a “Seat Guru”


Seat Guru, today’s Daily Prompt, asks:

You get to plan a dinner party for 4-8 of your favorite writers/artists/musicians/other notable figures, whether dead or alive. Who do you seat next to whom in order to inspire the most fun evening?

Planning where people sit at a dinner party would be like a special kind of torture to me. I can’t help but shake my head at this type of contrived social stuff. I prefer a gathering that lets guests sit where they like. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails then meander to the table.

I understand why people might assign seating. For example, somebody’s Aunt Gloria and Cousin Martin argue which makes everybody miserable. Don’t let them sit next to each other. Fine. I figure those people will probably avoid sitting next to each other anyway, and if they don’t we’ll adjust as needed if there’s a problem. I don’t mind sitting next to anybody in my family. And I like sitting next to new people.

On the other end of that social spectrum, there are times you might want to seat folks next to each other because you’re sure this will be a good thing. Perhaps there’s a gathering of dignitaries whom you’re convinced will facilitate peaceful agreements if you give them talk time at a relaxed dinner party flowing with their favorite single malt. Go for it. You want to hook up Tim and Juanita because you’re sure they will really like each other. OK.

If I was having a high-level important dinner party, I might consider hiring somebody who loves to do that planning kind of thing. There are people like that. Maybe I’d ask a friend for advice.

What I’d really like is to have a buffet so people could sit and eat what they like and occasionally return for seconds thus allowing guests to shuffle seats so that they can talk to a variety of people. That sounds like fun! I want to talk to everybody and let them do the same. For that matter, since I’d want to have a variety of excellent food too, a good buffet seems like the way to go. People can eat what they like while sitting where they like.

So let’s say I’m having a dinner party, and we’ve established that I’m not going to stress over who sits where. I’d probably want to invite John and Hank Green and their wives. I’ve enjoyed vlogbrothers videos for years. John is a writer, and Hank, a musician. I love John Green’s writing. He seems like he’d be very cool to talk with at a party. I first saw vlogbrothers videos when Harry Potter Deathly Hallows was being released, and Hank sang “Accio Harry Potter.” It was great! I felt like there were like-minded people in the world! Other than Hank, I’m not really in awe of having musicians as dinner guests, so I’m probably not going to invite more unless they’re there purely for entertainment, they also do something else, or they happen to be somebody’s spouse. Don’t get me wrong, I love music. I love musicians.

I’d invite Samuel Clemons — he was great on Star Trek TNG! (Yes, I know he wasn’t really on ST:TNG.) But he really seems like he’d be a good conversationalist at a party.

Joanne (J.K.) Rowling and her husband. I’m a pretty big Harry Potter fan (see above), and she seems like a sharp lady. I’d probably ooze with fangeekness and embarrass myself, but I would not care.

Maybe John Scalzi and his wife because I’ve enjoyed his blog for decades (not actually decades, more like decade plus) and his books too. And I’ve maybe already had dinner with them before a long long time ago, but that’s another story. So then perhaps I shouldn’t invite them, but that would probably be wrong because I think it would be fun.

I’m at nine people and not yet done with my list. That was fast.

I’d like to invite Ray Bradbury. I’d question him on how not driving works for him because D doesn’t drive either. I’d like tips on making that work well. Also his were some of the few science fiction books on my high school reading lists, so I got to read him and get school credit. What’s not to like?

Do I have to count spouses in the 4-8 people limit? I mean, can it be 4-8 notable people and the rest are an unspecified number of other invitees? ‘Cause, if so, I’d invite spouses, and I’d like to invite friends and family who would enjoy this little shindig too.

If I’m strictly limited to inviting only 4-8 people total, then I guess I’d have to drop Scalzi and his wife because I’ve not met the other people before.

Hold on. Kurt Vonnegut. I forgot about Kurt Vonnegut. I’d like to include him. Would it be rude to drop some of the spouses?

I remember being a young teen or tween and catching the movie Slaughterhouse-Five on late-night TV. I was supposed to be asleep and every ten minutes or so I’d tell myself I’d watch for only ten minutes more, but I watched the entire movie. More recently, I read Vonnegut’s Advice to the Young on Kindness and more. I love that he can admire Jesus without being Christian. I wish everybody could appreciate the teachings of wise people without having to take sides on religion. I love Vonnegut’s take on kindness and forgiveness. I think more of both would go a long way toward making the world a better place. There seems to be too much eye-for-an-eye mentality, today, and, well, ever.

Wait! I just remembered another one to invite … And, what, I only invited one woman? That can’t be right.

This is not easy.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Daily Prompt Brings the LFN Fan out TyroCharm | TyroCharm
  2. Scott
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 05:59:47

    You’ve pulled this off. It reads so natural.

    Reply

  3. alightningbug
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 07:34:58

    Thank you, Scott! It was fun to think about.

    Reply

  4. Trackback: Seat Guru: Who would I invite to a party | The Bohemian Rock Star's "Untitled Project"

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