COVID “pods.” One couple is seated in each pod -- socially distanced, masked and alfresco -- but with no chance to circulate, except by changing seats with the other in the same pod. I prefer that one person per pod speak at a time, with all others remaining silent, and the “baton” move from pod to pod as conversation flows. When hosting, I encourage guests to speak and I remain silent while they are speaking. However, the socially distanced dinner party is a new form, in need of some order. It does bear resemblance to the round dinner table, where there is generally one conversation, but without the occasional opportunity for soft, side-by-side talk.