Saturday, December 9, 2017


I'm feeling nostalgic for the time, a few years ago, when I was so "into" the ideal of hospitality--host and guest coming together authentically with recognized (or not) reciprocal roles and duties.

Now, after having read Susan' Cain's Quiet quiet-book-softcover

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 I'm rethinking how exhausting it is to be committed to hospitality.
Case in point...a periodic gathering of acquaintances for which I prepare something really special and receive praise for my culinary contributions.  And that's where it ends.  I never seem to have as good a time as everyone  else seems to be having. I can't appreciate the inside jokes. I fail dismally at small talk.  I feel awkwardness mount to anger and a genuine feeling of injustice.

I return home, vowing not to return but find myself going back.

I could catalogue the perceived snubs and feel mighty indignant. But then, I always come back to my observation that everyone else seems to be enjoying themselves--a lot!--and that, despite my strategies to keep my conversation light, not be sensitive to perceived slights, and listen attentively to others' stories, complaints, and jokes, nothing works.

Why do I care so much?  Well, all those studies say that I'm better off with a slew of friends.  And there's my sincere commitment to hospitality.  Plus, I can't shake the hope that I'll soon be accepted.

So is it genuineness or pride that keeps me returning?

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"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - from A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf