Step into my clogs for a moment, and consider the situation.
You live in a place where the winters are long, and to mitigate cabin fever for yourself and your friends, you have organized a salon that meets during the non-gardening season.
One Sunday a month people come to your house, shake the snow off their boots, and settle in for an afternoon of wine and talk. Each time one of you speaks informally about work that you feel passionately about–sheep herding, art, writing, politics, early music, bee-keeping. And for a while, as you sit together, the weather seems more clement, the season less dark.
The salon, about to start its fourth season, has not bombed: by now, the mailing list has grown to twenty. Not all twenty, of course, come to any given salon. But they could. And because your living room can reasonably seat only a dozen at most, and people listen best when they\’re sitting down, you worry every month that there won\’t be enough room.
Clearly, you have to find a way to limit attendance. But it has to be a kind and gentle way: these are your friends and neighbors, whom you wouldn\’t for the world offend or depress, especially in this tiny community, especially in winter. Various ways of doing this have been suggested to you. The most promising is to close \”admission\” after twelve people have said they\’re coming. If one of these must later cancel, his seat can be announced to the group that didn\’t make it, again on a first-come, first-served basis. This seems fair enough, but you worry about how the ones who don\’t get in may feel.
The first salon is scheduled for October 30. What do you do?