© Bruce Goodman 18 May 2015
Natalie was a social climber. She had dined, sumptuously, at various friends’ homes. These friends had gorgeous things in their houses; beautiful furniture and paintings and ornaments and carpets. It was with this in mind that Natalie purchased an extravagant dining table and chairs.
All that was required was to show it off. She had to make it look casual and normal, as if to say “Oh yes! I have had this dining table and these chairs for years. I use them every day with the silver and bone china.” The dinner invitations were posted.
Natalie was nervous because there were only eight chairs and table settings. She needed one person to say they couldn’t come; else they couldn’t all be seated. And, oh the relief! Mrs Thelma Slater-Hirst couldn’t make it. That made eight guests. Thank goodness! Thank goodness!
“My word, Natalie, what a magnificent dining table and chairs!” exclaimed each guest upon arrival. “And the beautiful cutlery! And the exquisite dinner set!”
“Goodness,” answered Natalie, “one gets used to things when one uses them every day.”
It was time to be seated. All eight guests took their places. It’s an ancient story, I know, but Natalie had forgotten to count herself. The shabby plastic chair from the spare bathroom was brought out. Natalie ate from an umatching chipped plate with tatty knife and fork.
In fact, with pride removed, it made for a very convivial evening.