Wednesday, 7 April 2010


My friend is about to celebrate her 32nd birthday. We decided to make it our April activity (we gather friends for a common activity every month) and share the organisation tasks. Now I’m involved and responsible.

Somehow she tries to compensate for the fact that she never had birthday parties when she was little. I never felt any need to compensate for the lack of my birthday parties, so I don’t understand her at all. My birthday is in August, right in the middle of summer vacations. Most of my friends were spending their time at a camping, seaside, summer camp or elsewhere, but not anywhere near me and my birthday. Each year I ended up having a party with a couple of not so close girlfriends or a bunch of (almost) total strangers until I quit having birthday parties. Close family (nowadays basically limited to my parents) is welcome. If they are not around, I celebrate my birthday with my partner. If I have no partner I find one.

But that’s not the way my friend wants it to be. She compiled a list of twenty-eight (!) people. “What do you want to do with so many people? They won’t even fit in your house!” – I was still in a state of shock after I saw the list.
“Well, I thought we could have a dinner for a small group of friends at my place. Then the rest will come for a piece of cake and a drink. Then we can go bowling all together. And afterwards we will go dancing at La Bodeguita. A smaller group (the same as for the dinner) will gather again at my place for a brunch next afternoon.” – she announced.
“Are you insane?! Do you realise how much work it is?! You will be freaking out every twenty minutes because of stress! You will be exhausted and broke! Besides, you cannot ask your friends to spend so much time of their weekend on your birthday!”
“It sounds like you are jealous and don’t want me to have a great birthday.”

After long negotiations we agreed to skip the bowling and forget the brunch. We’ll keep it to dinner, ‘reception’ and dancing. The next shock came when I found out that the ‘small’ group of friends to be invited for the dinner consists of twelve (!) people.
“You will spend the whole day cooking! You don’t have so many chairs! Your table can hardly host eight people! How are you going to do this?”
“Oh, don’t worry. I would love everyone to come, but I’m sure some people will cancel. It’ll be ok.”
There she has a point. Experience shows that if you want to have eight people at your table, you should invite at least twelve.

We gathered e-mail addresses of everybody on the list and I sent out the invitations. I must admit – I felt relieved every time someone said they wouldn’t be coming. Today we assessed the situation. “Three people are not coming for dinner. So I invited three other friends!” – she declared with great enthusiasm.


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