Some time back I had occasion to host a small party – not a big deal, just a get-together tea party for a few women who I wanted to get to know a little bit better. I sent out e-mail invitations well in advance of the date. After all, this is the 21st century – we don’t use the Post Office any more, do we?
I waited for responses. And waited. And waited. The date got closer and I had no guests yet. Did the e-mail fail? I sent out a follow up.
I got a phone call from one invitee. She would have to be a little late, was that ok? Fine, of course – and at least I knew the e-mails had reached their targets.
I waited some more. Maybe these ladies don’t check e-mail. Let’s be retro – I sent out snail mail invites with a return address label and a handwritten “Hope you can come!” ten days in advance of the date – just so they would have something to put on their refrigerator to remind them, I told myself. After all, this is the 21st century.
On the date, I had had just the one response from the invitee who was going to be late. Maybe the others thought “RSVP” meant “Regrets only,” I told myself. I bought some pretty little cakes, polished the ancestral silver coffee spoons, set out the cups and saucers and little plates and put on my earrings.
Right on time, the doorbell rang. And rang again. And again. My guests were arriving! My invitations had been received! The party was actually rather a success, despite the initial nerve-wracking uncertainty whether anyone would show up and several no-shows. But where had I gone wrong in asking for acceptances in advance?
I talked with a few younger family members and learned I had gone about the thing all wrong for the 21st century. US Mail? “We NEVER check our mailbox – well, if I happen to remember when I come back from walking the dog. We don’t get anything by snail mail anymore but ads and catalogs, so why bother?” E-mail? “There’s so much spam and junk, I just filter out anything that’s from someone not in my contacts already. If I don’t know you, your e-mail is in the Junk file, sorry!” RSVP? “What’s that?”
So what should I have done to lure people to my house? And to find out how many would show up?
I could have Tweeted: “Polishing silver for tea 3 PM October 16, 2014 at 123 Mystreet Los Altos – Hope you can come -Let me know if you can’t make it #AllysonTeaParty” . But I don’t have a Twitter account, a handle, or know anyone else’s Twitter handle – complicated!
I could have texted: “Kum 2 T 101614 3pm 123 Mystreet Los Altos – BCNU! I wondered if anyone would really understand this cryptic message. IMHO anyone who knew me would LOL at the idea of such a message from verbiage-besotted me. And would they have texted back? I noted that “RSVP” is NOT one of the top 50 text abbreviations listed on the Internet reference to help out puzzled parents. Maybe people really don’t know what this means any more. Abbreviations can be tricky. The same Internet reference says LOL could be either “Laughing Out Loud” or “Living On Lipitor”. IMHO anyone who knew me would LOL at the idea of such a message from verbiage-besotted me.
Undaunted, I’ll be sending out my Christmas cards as usual this year, by snail mail, with a printed-out picture at the top of an annual Christmas letter, 20th century style. And of course, they will come in a SASE, SWAK. LOL.
(POST HOLIDAY UPDATE: Don’t get me started on Thank You notes!)