Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hostess and Guest

My 22 year-old nephew Walker and his girlfriend Caitlin, both UNC students, came over for lunch today. She had never been to our house.

From 9:30 until 1, Bob and I madly scurried, getting ready. Mostly that meant near-renovating our house. He took more than a wheelbarrowful of papers and books out of the kitchen and den, that all might have a place to sit.

I wouldn't call it hostess anxiety, but it was definitely host-and-hostess hurryup.

And I realized that when I was that age and going to visit boyfriend's family, it never occurred to me, while obsessing over what to wear, that BF's family might be engaged in the same minor uproar.

Similarly, when I was teaching at Duke in 07, I was nervous before class fairly often, very much so at the start of the semester. When I was a student at Duke in the 60s, it never crossed my mind that a professor might be scared. What a ridiculous idea!

I find it calming now to flip the situation around, to remember that the other person may also be in a dither.

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kenju said...

You're right; the reverse of our own situations seldom make themselves known to us in our youth.

Greta said...

Peggy, I'm grinning about your "scurried" housecleaning. It reminds me of the times we've had the annual Christmas party here for the school where I worked. Others would say, "Doesn't it make you nervous? Don't you worry about getting it cleaned." If they had looked behind the shower curtain or in the laundry they would have found all the things we hid to give the appearance of an organized, clean house.

It also brings to mind my public speaking classes in college. A professor told us (as speakers) to just imagine that we were dressed and all the people in the audience were naked. It worked.

mamie said...

I am reminded of a few weeks ago when I had to do announcements and a prayer at church. I was a wreck trying to compose the prayer! Finally I asked myself how many prayers that others have done could I remember. When I came up with the answer (a big fat zero) I felt more at ease and was able to breeze through the composition. We do so like to use our personal anxieties in an "I'm the center of the universe" way!

billie said...

Peggy, you have just given me a revelation:

we need a wheelbarrow inside the house!!


Peggy Payne said...

Billie, an indoor show shovel is good too. (And I often have thoughts of a forklift-with-operator to help me get out of bed.)

It would certainly make high school easier, Kenju, if everybody assumed that others had the same stuff going on.
Greta, I wish that I were as comfy with house stuff as I am with public speaking. Maybe the trick is to visualize the guests arriving naked.
Mamie, I love your solution. I've used it for house stuff--asked myself when was the last time I noticed whether my host's counters were neat.