November 2012: Party Hardly!

By Timothy H. Kepple

I’m not a party animal.

I’m sure that comes as a surprise to absolutely no one. When it comes to gatherings, I enjoy the company of two or three other people at the most; any more becomes a nuisance. I do not care for noise nor do I care for unnecessary chatter and parties seem to combine the two in excessive amounts.

Unfortunately, sometimes I have to make the sacrifice and attend a gathering whether I wish to or not.

It’s an adult thing.

(Okay- lots of times I’ll go to a party for the same reason I go on a yearly date- to remind myself why I don’t do these things.)

It’s no secret that I’m not great at social interactions. At parties, I liken myself to the housecat that hides under the bed when its home fills with strangers. Unfortunately, just like the poor cat, people seem to seek me out. I don’t know why- I’m not cuddly.

I don’t really hate people – I just hate being around people. They’re louder than I like, and talk about things that aren’t very interesting to me, and sometimes they smell funny, or look at me like I’m talking loudly about things that aren’t interesting while I smell bad. And the more people there are, the greater these things seem to increase.

Considering it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to fit underneath a bed (roughly 40 years and 240 pounds)(plus, the cat is already there) I usually bide my time at parties by finding a drink to hide behind, a dark corner to stand in, and then I watch the people come and go, talking about … whatever people talk about at these things; I’m not actually paying attention. And then I simply wait for the night to end, or a good excuse to leave.

Drinking alcohol at a party doesn’t make the night go any better. It takes a lot of alcohol to affect me, administered in a short period of time (whether true or not, I’ve always blamed it on having a ‘super liver’ that neutralizes alcohol quickly and before it can take effect, unless my liver is overwhelmed by massive amounts. Which is not fun.)

Sometimes, people take my solitary nature as shyness, and decide that they’ll “make small talk” in an attempt to “get to know me” so that I’ll “fit in better”. If nothing else, I admire their courage, even if it is coming from a bottle after an hour of being at the party. While attending a Halloween party, I was cornered by a girl (I think … it was Halloween.) She asked me if I had had anything to drink yet. I told her so far, I had drank four cans of beer, four jello shots, five mixed shots, and 18 pudding shots. She asked me if I was having fun. I replied that I really wasn’t. She asked me why, and not really wanting to continue, I told her I had been born without a pleasure center in my brain. “That must be terrible,” she said.

“It’s all I’ve ever known, so I’m used to it,” I replied with a sad shake of my head, then dodged past a werewolf throwing up on the floor and hid in the bathroom until she was gone.

I suppose it doesn’t help that I just really don’t relate well to other people, and don’t always pick up on the subtle nuances of human interaction. At another party I attended, as the night progressed one of the attending women started falling onto my lap whenever she was near where I was sitting. The frequency increased, as well as the length of time with which she sat, the length of her giggling, and the uncomfortable roaming of her hands, as the night progressed. She blamed it on the amount of alcohol she had been drinking, which I grudgingly accepted until eventually I realized I hadn’t seen her drink anything at any point during the night. At that point I decided it was time to go. She got angry (and suddenly sober) when I said goodbye and left the party.

That one had to be explained to me by the host at a later date.

Going to a party at someone else’s house means putting up with people you don’t know, listening to music you don’t like, and the choice of either wearing your coat the entire evening or tossing it on top of a bed to mingle with the coats of everyone else in attendance that you’ll have to waste time searching through when you try to escape.

The other option is to host parties at your own house … where you can control the music and coat placement, but when you’re done with a party, you don’t get to leave and you can’t just throw everyone out without being frowned upon, which, I’m told, is a bad thing. Plus, you have to clean. Before and after.

This is why I almost always take the third option, which is the most sane one, in my opinion: just don’t attend parties.

9 out of 10 housecats under the bed agree with me.

The tenth one hasn’t yet come back out.

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