I’ve probably talked about it before, but I’m not so good with the parties. Oh, I’m sometimes A-OK with going to them and occasionally I’m utterly hesitant (I’m sure many of us experience those similar moments of agoraphobia (or more specifically, demophobia) where we really would just rather not be amidst the throngs of people, unsure whether we’re in a chatty mood, and not feeling our oats enough to be comfortable meeting new people), but that’s not what I’m really talking about. No, my party-itis is in reference to throwing parties.
I get anxious, and stress…or “anxtressed”, if you will. I have many issues, one being this rooted concern that nobody wants to come. Another is the mixing of different circles, like work friends with social friends… like Elaine trying to mix Jerry, George and Kramer with Kevin, Gene and Feldman (the “Bizarro” friends), like matter and anti-matter, like your parents with your in-laws… it’s stressful thinking about how they’re going to relate to each other. Can they even relate?
There’s also that aspect of ensuring everyone has a good time. There’s perhaps going to be someone who doesn’t know anyone else there, so then you feel responsible for their happiness, or if there’s someone who, like me, you know can be awkward in a group setting. These are the kind of things that plague my mind. I want my parties to work, I want everyone to have fun, and I feel like I must ensure a good time is had by all. I’m a nervous and stressed out wreck leading into these things… and I do know why.
First, well, when we moved to the other side of town when I was in grade school I didn’t feel very popular, I was self-conscious and felt like an outsider. The school I went to was small (one class for every grade, about 25 people per class) and I don’t think there ever were big parties to go to, and if there were, I wasn’t invited. Around that time, I stopped having birthday parties, and it wasn’t long after that I stopped caring about my birthday (much to my mother’s perpetual chagrin).
Second: high school. I had many friends in high school, some closer than others, but still, I wasn’t exactly rejected right out. Still self-conscious, growing into my body, oversized glasses and a bad side part in the hair, a fondness for extra large t-shirts and zero fashion sense… a prize, oh yes. You know high school, it’s all cliques: jocks, nerds, geeks, bangers, skaters, smokers (usually bangers) etc. I’m a pretty nice, and fairly congenial guy so people generally liked me, and I had some good friends in each of the cliques, and I was convinced that these clique people wouldn’t mesh together well. I never put it to task, mainly because I knew the result… My sister threw some great parties which a close friend or two would piggy back on, but it wasn’t my thing.
And third: well, I’ve tried a few times. I’ve tried to throw bigger parties, you know, of the more than 10-people sort, and few people came. I certainly appreciate those who did, but when you have a guest list of 20 and only four decide to come, it crushes the spirit a little.
And, pretty much since then I’ve given up. I like spending time with my friends, but for me, throwing a party is agony, like electrodes on the gonads: sure some people enjoy it, but not me.
Thankfully, this one went well, in part because I left much of the grunt work to Rooms.
The people who I’m sometimes good about keeping in regular contact with, sorta, will know that Rooms and I have been “planning” this party since we moved to BOBTown. We’ve had it scheduled anywhere from four to six times now, but for one reason or another we couldn’t stick the date, like Dragulescu didn’t stick his landing in the ‘04 Olympics (wow, that was left-field).
The first was too close to moving in and things weren’t settled. The second was a Christmas party that we couldn’t prep for because I was in London for two weeks. The third was further in December, but then we knew no one would show up. The fourth was early Jan which was too soon following the holidays, the fifth and sixth were the end of January, one changed due to a prior commitment, the other because it conflicted with another party.
Jeremy finally committed us to a date which shortly followed his birthday, and I saw no reason to object to it (but leading into it, I realized that if Rooms hadn’t fixed the date, I would have cancelled it due to fatigue… or malaise… or sheer lazyness… so good job Jer). I assembled my guest list and gave it to Rooms to send out the Evite. My thoughts were divided, as I was trying to decide if I should invite people I would think show up only, or if I should invite people who I know won’t show up but at least give them the option. I did put some on the list who I knew wouldn’t come, like people from out of town but perhaps coming into town that weekend, and a lot of people who I knew might come but probably had other plans and I realize now I missed a few people (those who don’t read my blog and thus were otherwise unaware), but I think I put a pretty full list together. Added onto Jeremy’s list I think there were over 60 Evites branched out with at least another dozen “plus ones” possibly expected.
Some people we both would have liked to have seen were unable to make it due to parental responsibilities, and I do feel somewhat guilty about not having a youthful component to the evening… but I also realize with just brief thoughts looking around, BOBTown is extremely far from being child safe (open staircase just one of the many danger zones). On a similar topic, I was concerned for a little bit that Aden wouldn’t be able to make it as she usually has her little one on Saturday evenings, but the wee one was able to venture out to daddy’s a night early.
A few emails back and forth between the busy BOBTown boys was all that was necessary for the pre-planning stages. We just kept things to a minimal affair. Food and booze with some music and videogames for entertainment meant people could mingle and play games and eat and drink at their own discretion which would also allow me to ease up on my hosting neuroses… get some liquor in people and let them sort themselves out was kind of my motto.
Rooms and I had started collecting food a few weeks ahead of time (well, primarily oodles of 1litre cartons of chocolate milk, because, yes, we’re 8-year-olds in men’s bodies) but really, to spoil the mystique, most of the work was done on Friday night and Saturday morning. Food and disposable plates and cups purchased, furniture moved, things cleaned, playlist made, booze assembled, fruit and veggies cut and arranged, plates and bowls of food dispensed, the house lights bumped up, Guitar Hero at the ready, and a second TV with the in-dire-contention-for-the-final-playoff-spot Leafs’ game over the fireplace.
Aden and L helped out where they could, and after a quick jaunt out for dinner and some more liquor bought, by 7:00 we were in ready-for-the-8:00-guest-receiving mode. We had two guests arrive ahead of time (though one had already seen the place numerous times in its previous disarray, so that was completely kosher), and they helped ease the pre-party anticipation tension as nobody else arrived until ten minutes before nine! Let me tell you there were actually a few minutes where I thought it’d be great if no one else showed up. Rooms and L were up early for Arnis practice, Aden was up at 7 with the wee one, and I was up at 8 with pre-party fretting going through my brain. We were all kinda tired.
But the seal broke just before nine and until about 10:30 it was a steady stream of people into BOBTown. Going up and down the stairs, letting in friends and strangers alike, I was giddy. I was also a little drunk, but with each additional guest I was more and more delighted. People came to our party. They came. Bless them they came. People also left the party, and that was okay too. Everyone has their tolerance levels, I’m just so delighted that everyone who came out came out and made the effort to come out. I’m tickled pink.
I’ll have you know that I ignored Room’s Evite almost immediately after he sent it. I didn’t check to see who replied beyond the first day. I knew a half dozen people who were coming, one or two who weren’t, a couple maybes, and the rest a mystery, and I needed to keep it like that. I thank everyone who responded and said they couldn’t come, and those who even replied and said yes or maybe… you’re infinitely better than I for I am the worst Evite respondee… he who will look at it and rarely make a reply. So now you know, and I’m sorry. To my friends who sent me a direct and highly apologetic email about not being able to make it, that was very nice of you. Just so everyone who couldn’t comes knows, my sister didn’t make it either, and I’ve forgiven her, so there’s no hard feelings anywhere. I literally am just so incredibly happy this party went off so nicely. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, I was drunk as a skunk and blathering wildly to whomever would listen, and it was my genuine pleasure to have everyone who came in my abode.
But, as I said to Jeremy, “Great party my friend, now let’s never do it again.” If anything, this post is here to explain to my roommate just exactly what I meant by that statement.
the day (Captain) America died: the mourning after
Yes, I did get ripped, and because whenever I drink too much my sleeping habits are affected, I only got four hours sleep (the time change didn’t help any either. @$#% you George Bush and your half-assed energy saving theories). It’s this odd thing where I can sleep soundly for three to five hours after an evening of imbibing and then I wake up and can’t get back to sleep. This Sunday, I felt dizzy when I awoke and it was minutes later that Aden woke as well, both of us in a twirly, unsleeping haze. We began to talk and joke and then the headaches kicked in. Though we were both extremely tired, sleep was not happening.
We got up and showered and Advil’d ourselves up and then went back to bed, sleeping for an hour but having to get up for a noon-time rendez-vous with Aden’s family for a Sunday brunch/birthday meal. It was hard goings for a while but after eating copious amounts of foodstuffs, we could manage our day quite nicely.
Upon returning home, I from visiting my old next-door neighbours (since I was in the neighbourhood for lunch) and Aden from a crappy Sunday workday, we napped for two hours, waking up just in time for the Amazing Race. Eating our leftover foodstuffs from the party, we weren’t exactly in prime form, but the hangover had relegated itself to very minor annoyance status and we had a much needed evening of relaxation… of course, somewhere along the way we lost track of the fact that the time change had happened (the only clock in BOBTown to see change was my alarm clock the night before), and got to bed much later than we had anticipated.
I realized about a year ago I no longer wanted hangover Sundays in my life, but occasionally you have to have one to remember why.