Walnut and imperfect, waxy to the touch, it was where we ate. Get too close, and you could see (really) dinners past, hear conversations past. It was just a table. But it was The Dinnertable. More than that still, the dinnertable was a time for reporting in on tests. (How was the math test? Well…) It was a time for brothers and sisters to live up to tests. (I can finish mine faster that you. And other competitions.) But the dinnertable is also a place for prototyping. A place to test.
Sometimes when beaten down with a baffling decision — when long-term metrics and pros-and-cons-columns have failed — I think of the table. Not what my goals are 10 years out, not how this decision might work out with my long-term strategy. Those can seem too esoteric, not real. Instead, I think of a future table 10 years out with friends and family, and the story I’m telling. What do I care about then? What do I want my story be?
This is the dinner test.
Someone once said to me, and I paraphrase, that “everything can be solved over dinner.” Perhaps it can. Perhaps we can tell something (or everything) about a future scenario in a few seconds. Perhaps everything can be solved over the dinnertable, and if we know the stories we want to tell, I would only add, “solved, prototyped, and predicted.”