Soon I’ll have another birthday upon me. It’s really no big deal but, this year, I decided to get together with some of my friends. Now, I use the word “friend” loosely because I don’t have too many REAL friends and most live out of state. I’m talking about people I went to school with who never even looked in my direction because I was ruthlessly profiled as a weirdo. Others are people I’ve met throughout the years at different jobs. Isn’t social media wonderful? You have a thousand friends which you would never contact and the only way to reach them was through a chance meeting at someone else’s birthday party . . . or at a funeral. Now, THERE’S the ultimate meeting place!
But let’s deconstruct the concept of birthday parties. You’ll never have one at your own house because (1) they may get drunk and never leave or throw up all over your floor (2) they eat you out of house and home (3) they’ll steal from you and finally (4) the post-party clean up. Next, we have the cost of throwing a party. Food and especially liquor can put you in the poor farm quickly. Other issues to consider are your neighbors and the noise, the lack of parking spaces, and the crappy gift you will receive if any at all.
So, that’s out of the question.
The other option is to have a “free for all” get together at a pub or bar. This is even more dangerous if you’re picking up everyone’s tab so they’d have to get shitfaced at their own expense. This also applies to the overpriced pub food. So, this is what you do: you tell them it’s just a gathering and nothing else. You request no gifts but you supply the cake. That’s not too bad considering I hate cake.
My birthday has always been a dilemma even when I was a kid. Eight-year-olds usually don’t have every schoolmate’s home address to send invites or phone numbers to verbally invite them. When your birthday falls in a month when there’s no school, you’re screwed. That would be me. My mother would end up inviting the defective neighborhood kids which you have avoided all your life. This is how I became an introverted weirdo who would rather spend time reading the World Book Encyclopedia in my locked room just to avoid talking to anyone who had nothing in common with me. Needless to say, I grew out of this phase but my conversational skills had taken a beating. This brings up the next problem with birthday parties.
As a host, it is standard to entertain your guests. However, in a pub environment, it is very difficult. The music is too loud, the guests are scattered around the venue and not all in one specific place, and, of course, you always have that one couple who wants to relive their high school days by having sex inside their car in the parking lot. Nine out of ten times, they will get busted by a cop and end up in jail for indecent exposure. You feel responsible so you bail them out. There goes all the money you saved on the party.
But, going back to the hosting, you realize that you have, let’s say, forty people there. Some know each other but you also have the ones that have deliberately been ostracized. You go talk to them and introduce them to others. Problem is, the ostracized crew is into butterfly collecting or ancient religions while the rest of guests are into David Lynch, mass murders, reality shows, and experimental crustacean cloning. You end jumping from one table to the other to entertain everyone. Running around is making you sweat. A droplet of perspiration from your forehead falls on one friend’s plate of French fries. You apologize and turn around to find the barmaid and order some new, uncontaminated starch sticks but she happens to be walking behind you with four plates of food in her hands (and arms). You smash into her and food flies everywhere. Some of the meatloaf falls on another friend’s wife’s dress so she gets up to go wash up but slips on the buttered baby carrots. You try to hold her up as she’s tumbling down but you also slip on the damned carrots and totally rip off her dress as you fall on your ass. It’s become a strip show because she isn’t wearing any undergarments. The loud music is drowned out by the explosion of laughter . . . until the cop that busted the butt naked couple outside in the car walks in.
You were the host of a party and you ended being the main clown in a circus.
I’ll stay home.
It’s safe there.