Monday, September 14, 2009
Some People Send Christmas Cards
I throw the annual Fisherstyle Luau. In the past, I tried to do most of the work with just Cindy and I, but it's simply too big for that now - over 350 people showed up this year. And it's truly a family affair. Alika and Brittney postponed a hunting trip to help me prep the night before. Kuhia also postponed a hunting trip to make the haupia (which is legendary) and run a grill station. My sister decorated, including putting together pineapple centerpieces. B, Jon and Delena, Benson, and many others pitched in countless ways to help us pull it off. This year, we managed to avoid any trips to the emergency room, which allowed us a little more time for setup. It also decreased the stress level by several orders of magnitude. B and the Hansons showed up and setup started in earnest at 4:00. Ben was there shortly after and took over the first grill station in order to get the first round of chicken out while I ran the second grill station with sausages and kalbi. The pork was already holding as it had come fresh from the ovens. Kuhia showed up as we were finalizing the initial preparation and took over the second grill, leaving me to run the finishing station and to keep an eye on the line. The official send off was at 5:30, mainly because there weren't very many people there at 5:00. And then it was on. For the next two hours the three of us furiously turned out food as fast as we could. At any given time at least three of the four main proteins were available, with one of the four occasionally running low or even temporarily out while we scrambled to cook more. We kept up the pressure and managed to survive the rush, which started to taper between 7 and 8. Since I'd been head down and hammering, I had a tough time telling how it was going, but it seemed like people had a good time. Despite running out of plates (we had well over 400 plates to start) and rice, I think the luau was a success. But I saw for the first time this year signs that the luau was becoming a victim of its own success. Or at least that some people were willing to abuse my good will. For the last six years, the luau has been a time for me to bring together my various groups of family, neighbors, classmates, cycling friends, and coworkers to share a meal and for the various groups to catch up amongst themselves. I've always told people to bring others within those circles that I may have overlooked or for whatever reason didn't know about the party. Until now, all of the people who showed up had at least one of two things in common: 1) they knew me, Cindy, and/or one of my siblings well enough to pick us out of a crowd before the event and/or 2) they were appreciative of the effort. For the first time, some invitees took the liberty of bringing friends who were neither. It was disappointing to have someone I didn't know, nor could I immediately figure out who they were with, give my wife a strange look that almost questioned what she was doing there. Later being able who that person was with didn't change anything. It was also frustrating to be treated like a caterer on the line (by someone I didn't know) by something more akin to a demand for more of a particular item rather than a request. This didn't sit well with me at all. Some of these same people wandered off with all of the centerpieces, leaving me and those who helped out without the much anticipated pineapples. My immediate family, given that it's as much their luau as it is mine, have always had and will always have carte blanche to bring whoever they want. From now on, I'm going to ask everybody else to bring only people who 1) know me or my family and 2) can avoid boorish behavior. I don't think that's too much to ask.