I've been helping a sober friend plan his 65th natal birthday party. The guest list will be an eclectic bunch, befitting his colorful personality; comprised predominantly of sober friends but with some non-program people -- some drinkers in the mix.
He wants to be a good host, and it's not an AA party, so he will have alcohol there for those who imbibe. The layout of the house is such that it can be easily served (he's hiring a bartender) but will not be physically in the middle of the festivities. Subtle, but available, a nice way to make sure all his guests are both comfortable and able to celebrate with him.
We were chatting about food and how to serve it, refreshments, etc., when suddenly he stopped cold, struck by a thought.
"How much booze should I actually buy?"
I made a "dunno" face and shrugged. "How many people do you expect at the party total?" I asked.
He looked into space for a moment, scanning a mental list. "About a hundred, probably."
"Okay," I said, "and how many of them will be drinkers?"
"Oh..." again he consulted his mental list, "maybe 20 in all. They're not alcoholics, just, you know, drinkers."
"I get it. I get it." I waved my hand.
"And I want to be a good host," he continued, "but I don't know... I mean, how much booze should I get for roughly 20 drinkers? I mean, it's a party. It's Saturday night... I want everyone to have fun and all..."
I nodded. "Right. Right. But the success of your party is not about getting 20 people hammered."
"Right!" he nodded. "So how much do you think each person will drink? I mean, it's going to be high energy. I've got a DJ and it's Saturday night and while I don't want people wasted I don't want to run out, either. I don't want to look chintzy."
"Oh, yeah, no. I totally get it." I nodded again.
"So what do you think? How much will each person drink?"
Now it was my turn to stare off into space for a minute. "Each? Well, Saturday night, party... I don't know. Couple litres maybe? Or like... a gallon?"
He nodded in agreement, and then we must have simultaneously replayed the last ten seconds of the conversation in our heads, because together we burst out laughing -- long and hard -- at the fact that to both of us, without thinking too much about it, a gallon per person seemed like a perfectly reasonable guess.
The chuckles kept burbling up as he said, "I better Google it. You and I have no frame of reference..."
I myself hadn't completely stopped laughing, and through my giggles, agreed. "Can't argue with that."
There are more essays like this in "Mr. SponsorPants: Adventures in Sobriety and The 12 Steps for AA's and Others." Available as an eBook on Kindle via Amazon. Download the Kindle reader app for free on any device or platform, from PC to Smartphone.