Here at Angle 33 we like to think of ourselves as advocates for living the good life and we know that doing so almost never comes easily. Happiness requires a lot of work if a person can even figure out what their version of happiness looks like in the first place. We believe in routines that 1) nurture relationships, and 2) practice gratitude are steps in the right direction, so today we’re expressing our gratitude for the humble, understated and overlooked dinner table.
The dinner table is the nucleus of the home and the embodiment of family. It’s the difference between eating food and dining: A group of people eating and watching television are doing just that and nothing else. Put them at a table exchanging eye contact and passing plates, and that meal is an interactive ritual, a dining experience.
The difference between eating food and dining together.
Mind you, when I say the embodiment of family I use the word in its entirety, from catching up on others’ lives at holiday visits to resentfully passing the peas while chewing slowly, silently obliging despite still harboring a grudge. Like death and taxes, eating is one of humanity’s great unifiers, so when too much history has made family look like adversaries, the dinner table can remind us that we’re all still humans.
Not only are we thankful for the dinner table on a personal, family level, our gratitude extends to its social significance through history. Throughout humanity, significant events seem to happen when people gather to eat. From the Last Supper to the Knights of the Round Table, to Odysseus’s return home, the dinner table has shown itself to be a recurring cultural symbol over time and across culture.
Of course, one possible explanation would be the difficulty in doing much of historical and cultural significance on an empty stomach, and that’s almost certainly a contributing factor. But to believe that is to dismiss the dinner table as nothing more than a flat surface, the dining experience as nothing more than eating food, and gratitude as nothing more than a response to someone being nice.
And that doesn’t seem like much of a good life to us.
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