EVERY YEAR IT'S THE SAME AND EVERY YEAR SOMEHOW OR OTHER A SOLUTION IS FOUND TO THE EXTREMELY COMPLICATED MATTER OF THE CHRISTMAS DINNER
WARNING: WHAT FOLLOWS ARE ACTUAL EVENTS. FOR AESTHETIC REASONS, IDENTITIES HAVE BEEN ALTERED OR DISFIGURED.
THE MUSWELL HILL FREE THINKERS' ASSOCIATION MEETS EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY, OR NOT, AT AN UNDISCLOSED LOCATION TO DISCUSS THE MORE WEIGHTY PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONS OF THE DAY AND TO CONSUME VAST AMOUNTS OF ALCOHOL. IF YOU STUMBLE UPON THIS GROUPING IN A PUB NEAR YOU, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ATTEMPT TO ENGAGE THEM IN MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION
HAPPY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!
DANTON: The season of non yo ho ho is pressing fast on us. If we can avoid the turkey fest and equivalents, can we not be convivial with some 'meat' as well as drink? That is moderately priced.
THE PROF That veggie Indian on Chapel Market, Islington - was it OK, and worth going to?
JERRY: Can I put in a competitive bid for the India Club, next to Waterloo Bridge, also reasonable + you can take your own alcohol (and serves meat as well as veggie).
MONIQUE: I would very much like to come, but can't make Wed 13th - I wondered if it was possible to be radical and make it either Mon 11th, Tues 12th or Thurs 14th? But if this makes things too complicated, don't worry!
BIRD: Count me in. On either Monday 11th or Thursday 14th. But definitely not Wednesday 13th.
DANTON: The India Club is fine by me - and the 11th, 12th, and 13th all OK right now.
DIRK: Mon 11th would suit me.
JERRY: Currently, I can do any of Monday to Wednesday that week.
REMINGTON: I am almost sure I can make that Monday, at least from 7.30 onwards. I remember walking round and round the Aldwych one evening in vain a few years ago, however, trying to find the place, so idiot-proof instructions for how to get there would be appreciated.
KURT: I could do (I think) Tuesday 12th or Wednesday 13th, but unfortunately not Monday 11th.
LILY: I can't make Monday or Tuesday I'm afraid, only Wednesday or Thursday.
DIRK: I'm now probably pretty flexible this week. Thursday looks OK. Is anyone keeping record of the vote?
THE PROF: Can make Mon, Wed and Thurs. The Indian in Chapel Market was good and so was the India Club in Strand. It's difficult to find because its entrance is a door that leads up to the restaurant.
DANTON: I can't do Dec 13th but Thursday Dec 14th is fine as well as Monday Dec 11th right now.
JERRY: Can you collate numbers and majority date, and book, and confirm?
HELENA: We've created a spreadsheet of everyone's availability. See attached. In the spreadsheet, we've put a tick for when people have said they can make it, a cross for when they've said they can't and a question mark for when they've not mentioned the day. The two days that are still open are Thursday and Friday. Friday is still a possibility because most people have not mentioned whether or not they can make it on that day. Please can you fill in the spreadsheet for yourself by replacing the question marks under your name with a tick or cross? You can copy and paste the ticks and crosses. Bye for now.
PAT: Everyone who still attends our meetings now seems to have responded. I am free any evening and am quite happy to go to the place in the Strand (for the benefit of Remington it is on the same side as the river). However, the problem appears to be which date as everyone has responded differently. Perhaps one of our IT experts can work this out using AI.
THE PROF: My preference is Friday. I've had quite a few late nights in the first week of my new job and Friday is the only evening I know for sure that I can get away in time. However, I suggest everyone simply fills in the seven cells in the spreadsheet under their name (or indicate in some other way) and we can decide early next week. It's not that difficult. I've attached a new spreadsheet with Pat's, Dave's and Birdy's preferences. Bye for now.
JERRY: I am sorry, I can't cope with a spreadsheet this morning. My week has changed - I can no longer do Monday, but can do Tues to Thurs. What about Rodders' availability?
DANTON: Clearly it's not possible to keep everyone happy all of the time, and for all to meet on the same night. Here is a perfectly elegant yet refreshing alternative to a spreadsheet, with all the excitement of not knowing quite what might happen on the night. It is a rough and ready solution of course, but that's in the nature of an everyday never-ending saga of ordinary urban folk - this could be the substance of a new genre - online farce - but:
a) Each and everyone next week goes to a favourite Indian restaurant of their choice (on one or more evenings);
b) Each e-mails or posts their whereabouts for each night to a centrally accessible location - perhaps the blogspot, or their own blog/web site/notice on their front door
c) everyone then consults each other's whereabouts, and entirely at their option and without any obligation, decide whether to join each other on the night in question, or in the other case not
d) the object teams, as you will appreciate, is to use our combined and formidable intellectual powers to attain an utter state of confusion, mental exhaustion, and provide copious material for a broadcast saga, I'm Sorry I Still Am Not Getting It, as well as endless discussion at future meetings of the (dis)organization.
THE PROF: I've added Remington's and Rodders' preferences to the attached spreadsheet. Thursday is slightly ahead of Wednesday at the moment.
DANTON: Thursday generally is a little ahead of Wednesday. There may be circumstances when it gets delayed, but usually not for very long. Rarely is it slightly behind. Invariably it is six days before.
RODDERS: Thursday it is, then. 7.30 Chapel Market N1?
MONIQUE: Goodness, having been away this weekend I've missed all the excitement. Have found am allergic to spreadsheets (can't even open it), but Thursday is good for me. Look forward to it.
THE PROF: The people have spoken - and Thursday it is. The Indian restaurant in Chapel Market is an all-you-can-eat buffet. Therefore, it does not matter if people come at slightly different times. We'll need to know numbers so that we can reserve space.
RODDERS: I make it 13. Who wants to be Jesus?
REMINGTON: Ah. But who wants to be Judas?
DANTON: It won't, I hope, be our Last Supper.
RODDERS: I believe there was nothing wrong with Judas that couldn't be solved with a good Samaritan and a bit of cognitive behaviour therapy. I've just booked for 13 in my name at 7.30pm on 14 Dec. Or at least I hope I have.