Essays About

Only the Loner Can Study the Crowd

I enjoy going to wedding receptions more, the fewer people I know there. My own wedding, where I knew everyone, was such a blur of congratulations that, for all the planning I put into the evening, I scarcely got to see how it came off. But at a friend's wedding with whom I share few mutual friends, I can watch the night unfold from a well-chosen table, interrupted only by the waiter who comes occasionally to refill my wine glass. I would rather watch a conversation than listen to one; I prefer observing mirth and merriment to making them myself. A groomsman with too much to drink is flirting badly with a pretty bridesmaid; the sweating photographer is lumbering under his hundred gadgets through the crowd; the disc jockey is trying third-rate jokes on the captive audience. Chatting would interrupt this study of types. A good sociologist must be a recluse.