I Went to a Party (No, Really!)

I’m like Thomas Pynchon. People know me by name but no one has really seen me. I’m also not like Thomas Pynchon because there’s no mystery to my invisibility: I hardly ever go out and I let no one in. So, duh. Probably also unlike Thomas Pynchon, I recognise that social isolation causes craziness in sane people and boosts craziness in already insane people. The latter being my case, I sensibly decided that I shall bravely go where I have never gone before and will attend a party to which my acquaintance inexplicably invited me, probably acting in a fit of crazies.

After double-checking that the invite wasn’t a drunk misclick (I’m sure it was, but the party person took pity and assured me of his undying friendship acquaintance and his being okay with me coming), I dressed up and ventured out. I assumed that my acquaintance, like me, had no friends and that the party wouldn’t be a big deal. Feel free to imagine in unflattering visuals my surprise (like eyes popping out and tongue lolling from the open mouth) when I arrived to find half the village at the spot. I knew next to no one there, so after presenting my strikingly original present of a bottle of wine to the party leader, I sat down next to the nearest random person.

I had asked for water to start with, so I set my plastic cup in front of me and proceeded to introduce myself to my neighbour. The neighbour probably told me his name, which I didn’t forget—because I didn’t even hear it to start with. I wonder whether it’s a sign of egoism that I never listen to people when they’re introducing themselves. If it is indeed the case, consider me sufficiently punished because the longer you’ve known a person, the more awkward it gets to ask their name. My conversation with the random unknown party goer was more than disastrous.

The stranger showed me a wound on his leg, which was bleeding through the bandage. I spontaneously attempted to summon a deity in which I don’t believe (“OMG!”) and inquired what had happened. “It was at work,” he says. “Oh,” I say, more or less successfully feigning interest in the bloody blotch, “what were you doing?” He says, “Working.” I see. I don’t see, of course, but I don’t want to pry. So I try something different: “And what do you do?” He looks at me and says, “Same as everyone else.” Oh. I’m puzzled but choose to assume that I’m doing it wrong.

IMG_20180609_164450-01.jpeg
The party took place at the yellow river

After a while, the stranger bends over and unties my shoe lace. Somewhat taken aback, I’m waiting for what it’s gonna be. The stranger resumes his seat and does absolutely nothing. So I say, “Okay, that’s it?” He confirms. That explains everything. Not. I tentatively express my disappointment, “You know, I was waiting for a point to it…” He says nothing. After a bit, I go on, “That was a token of affection or an act of hostility?” The former, he says. Instead of yelling, What the fuck are you, four or what?, I practise the Buddhist teachings of acceptance, honour and respect, and say, if somewhat insincerely, “Oh, that’s nice.”

Because I didn’t have the balls to tell the stranger that I was worried that idiocy was infectious, I said, though quite frankly, that I needed a drink and moved on. I didn’t grab a drink until much later and went on carrying around my cup of water, causing many eyebrows to raise. The ultimate havoc I wreaked was however when I politely refused the pot that was being passed around, laughing that I was a bit too grown-up for that crap. I should’ve kept my trap shut. Though I’ve meanwhile become a village legend (the village equivalent of the urban legend) because I genuinely can’t speak the colloquial variant of my mother tongue, which raised major suspicions.

Against my better judgement, I eventually had a few shots, but managed to stay the most sober person around, second only to the dogs and kids present. I recently decided I was too grown-up to get stupid drunk. Shrug. I tried my hand (tongue) at some more conversations. I was the most successful with someone’s mother, who was twice my age and apparently found herself at the party by mistake, like me. I totally killed it (in the bad way) when someone was explaining that they sought to be awarded invalidity pension and I thought they were joking, so I joined in, “Haha, a good one, who’d want a pension, right?” Except they weren’t joking. They thought I was joking when I attempted to explain my view that it takes an exceptional person not to get uselessly wasted away once they’re on pension and don’t have to do anything.

When it got dark, cold and people started slurring beyond comprehension, I took the liberty to leave. I went depressed and despondent. How do I never fit anywhere? Like, it’s probably me, right? How do I literally and figuratively, on all planes, don’t speak the same language as everyone else? And, are there people who do speak my tongue? If so, where the fuck are the suckers hiding? I do wonder what the other party goers’ interpretation of my presence at the party would be. Provided they’d remember anything of it or bothered to care about it in the first place. I’m sure it’d be totally different from mine. I’m stumped.

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Author: Mara Eastern

I'm a sardonic blogger, snapper, scribbler and rhymer; a virtual space invader who indulges in cheerful negativism, morbid self-deprecation and bleak humour.

19 thoughts

  1. Well, hell. I’m stumped, too. Did they even open your bottle of wine? I think you are better than these people, Mara. I hope you tied your shoes and left. cross them off Christmas card list Oh, realizes Mara doesn’t have a Christmas card list. Damn.

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    1. LOL, no, I don’t have a Christmas card list, I don’t do Christmas. Or cards, for the matter ๐Ÿ˜‰ I read that the etiquette is not to open the wine you get because a) it’s likely not chilled, b) it looks like you were waiting for what the guests would bring and didn’t have anything to offer them. shrug

      Well, the thing is I have this problem with feeling superior / being intellectually arrogant, so I’m trying to avoid it. It’s rather hard. I wonder whether I might, after all, have legit grounds for feeling superior ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Not very helpful in social interaction though.

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  2. You’re braver than me. I would never go to a party if I was invited. Not even if I got paid ๐Ÿ˜€ I avoid chit-chat situations like a plague.

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    1. Oh, that would be awesome if I got paid for party attending! It did feel a bit like work. Trying to fit it a bit (and failing) and experimenting with social interaction…

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  3. Parties can be like that I find. Sometimes I get the impression that I have arrived late, even when I haven’t, and conversations are occurring as if they have been doing so for hours. Its that feeling of being an intruder and realising you just don’t fit and so the best solution for you and them is that you go home where at least you understand yourself, even when you don’t speak a lot of sense. I also understand that moment when you say something you wished your mouth had thought out for a least a second before uttering something that should be best kept yourself. I would never have considered untieing a shoelace as a sign of affection, or have I lived on a foreign planet far too long?

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    1. You said it so nicely. I speak to myself all the time but you’re right, at least I understand myself. I think I understand what my cat says much better than I understood what some of the party goers were saying.

      Shoe lace untying, hair pulling and dirt throwing are classic actions signifying affection – when you’re in the kindergarten.

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  4. WTF?! What can I say … and how unfortunate that the very first person seemed to be the biggest weirdo. Maybe he was stoned?

    If I were invited to a party here, I’d go. Back home … not so sure.

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    1. I only went to the event to get out among people – not with the expectation that I’d genuinely enjoy myself. It was, uh, a teaching moment, I guess ๐Ÿ˜€ I think everyone was stoned/drunk, so maybe they’re perfectly normal people when sober.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, interesting is the word! Well, I’m struggling with my own view of myself and with how others view me: I don’t know, maybe where I would say “I went to a party and there were weird lazy idiots”, others would say “there was this weird girl at the party who acted all posh and superior like she was better than us”. So where’s the truth? shrug

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