I don’t know about you, but I can make it through a dinner party with pretty much anyone. I mean, there’s food. There are very people I can’t put up with for a least a couple hours if the food is good.
Now, I’ve certainly thought about which literary characters I would invite to my fantasy dinner party. Somehow, though, I always end up with a character who I know is going to make me furious – or perhaps even make some attempts on my life and those of the other guests – on the guest list.
I’ve always wanted to know, for instance, what it was that sent Montresor over the edge. Perhaps if I had a couple casks at my party I could get him to open up. But seeing as I don’t know the answer to the question, a dinner party, in a public location, with the police on standby, seems the safest bet.
But if I’m trying to think of literary character who I would legitimately want to spend some time with, I nix the food. Instead I come up with a group with whom I wouldn’t mind being stuck on an elevator.
Elevators are awkward.
These tiny boxes where you’re forced to stand closer to strangers than you would normally choose. You can avoid eye contact and pretend like you’re totally alone, but that only works if there is unspoken agreement among everyone to do so. Once eye contact is made, that’s out. Then you need to decide on the half smile/half grimace combo or come up with something truly witty to contribute to the ride (‘Yeah, elevators. Right?”).
Ergo, a fantasy elevator break-down is, to me, a much better test of my affection for a character.
Now, I never do more than five. Because no matter how much I love someone, over six people stuck in an elevator is just too monstrous to conceive.
Making it on to my current list of characters I’d be willing to wait out the fire department with is:
- Katie Chandler – On the off chance it’s anything mystical that’s keeping the elevator from moving, I want someone there who can let me know what’s what.
- Remus Lupin – A gentleman with a habit of keeping his cool in stressful situations and always has chocolate on him? No brainer. Plus we can pass some time seeing if he can pull the wool over Katie’s eyes. (Caveat – Lupin would sadly not be invited if this breakdown was taking place during a full moon. He would still totally be able to come to the dinner party though.)
- Wes Janson – His over-the-top personality would be a nice contrast to Lupin’s more reserved demeanor. Plus he has countless stories and needs little to no prompting to share them. I’m always up for a good yarn, especially when I have to figure out which parts are true and which are, shall we say, embellishments. Plus, if he goes on for too long, Lupin can always break out the silencing charm.
- Hercule Poirot – It would just be really fun to watch his reactions to Lupin and Janson. I’m guessing he’d spend the entire time trying to prove that any spells cast are merely shams that he can easily figure out.
- Elizabeth Bennet – She strikes me as someone I could exchange sarcastic comments with, which is a must in such situations. She would totally call Janson out on his stories and probably be able to out-manner Poirot. And I think she’d handle the presence of magic better than most nineteenth (or twenty-first) century folks.
All in all, I think it would be a fairly entertaining way to spend an afternoon.
So, who would you be willing to spend a couple hours in an elevator with?