A couple weeks ago I had a joyful opportunity to hostess a small dinner party for a few friends. Once the wine was gone and the candles has been blown out, I settled down behind the laptop and spontaneously fired off the e-mail below to a dear friend… I hate it when people leave, but I love the silent hum and hush that fills the house after a happy evening with people you love. I spent my childhood sneaking peeks at my parents’ parties, trying to figure out where that magic comes from. To this day, I still haven't been able to find the right word for it, but I know what it looks like. Empty wine bottles, corks here and there. Layers of plates stacked on top of one another. Plate, wadded up cocktail napkin, utensil. Plate, wadded up cocktail napkin, utensil.Â Â Stacks of dirty dishes in the sink - and for just one night, nobody cares.
It leaves the empty spaces between walls and floors, foundations and ceilings radiating with life.
It's hard for me to imagine many other moments in life when I feel more acutely aware of the passing of time than in the hum and hush. These moments leave me feeling deeply blessed, wishing for a bigger dinner table...and more minutes, more years, more dinners, more cheers, more refills and popped corks and cups of coffee (I won't drink) with dessert.
If I ever write a cook book, I'm going to call it "The Joy of Dirty Dishes."
And I will mean it.
That night, something unusual happened. For hours upon hours, I didn’t think about updating my status, checking in or tweeting. I don’t even know where my phone was, but I can tell you it wasn’t at the dinner table.
Real life happens offline. The people and things we love cannot be reduced to a series of ones and zeros shuffling around in cyberspace, any more than the value of our connections can be quantified by our Facebook fan count.
When I tell people I work at a place called “Brains on Fire” – they perk up. It’s not like saying I work for [name of regional bank] or [big name retailer] or [law firm of So-and-So and So-and-So].Â Usually there is a brief moment of silence as they try to process what they’ve just heard. Inevitably, following up with something along the lines of “Um…what is that?” Which ultimately leads into a conversation about what we do.
I think the dinner party model says it well.Â On a very basic level, what we do at Brains on Fire is bring people together. And not just any people – passion people. The kind of people you would invite into your home to sit at your dinner table. The kind of people you want to share a meal and a conversation with. The kind of people with whom you share relationships that make you completely forget about the noise of the latest technology trends. The kind of people who inspire you to be present and passionate in the moment.Â The kind of people and relationships and conversations that leave a resounding hum in the hush long after the chatter has stopped.
Whether you're a brand, a fan or just someone who stumbled across the blog googling dishwashing tips, give it some thought today.
Who would show up for your dinner party?