Tuesday, July 04, 2006


My wife forced me to be sociable this weekend.

That's not something I do well. I'm not a party-animal type of guy. I deal with people well in a business environment, because I can claim work pressures and go away. But for the most part, I'm just as happy not dealing with them.

My wife, on the other hand, has some strange, twisted pack-animal mentality that makes her want to be around other people, no matter how loud, annoying or unavoidable they are. What she has never really grasped is the fact that most people are ignorant. She doggedly assumes that people are worth knowing, rather than avoiding. I don't understand it.

But that's the way she is, and I've pretty much gotten used to it by now.

I was at least fortunate in one respect. She managed to assemble some relatively intelligent people for this party, instead of the usual gang of idiots. No children - there were a couple of teenagers, who we easily kept distracted by dangling shiny objects in front of them, and by setting up video games in the living room.

And the rest of us stood outside and drank, grilled large amounts of meat, made plenty of stupid jokes, and embarrassed the hell out of one lady's teenaged daughter (she didn't like video games, so she came out to join the adults).

We had, for anyone under twenty-one, lemonade, homemade raspberry lemonade, iced tea, milk and water. This, of course, made the teenagers unhappy, because we had our legal drug of choice (alcohol) and they didn't have any of theirs (caffeine). So the ungrateful bastards actually got up en masse, cadged money from whatever adults were nearby, and walked a half-mile to the corner store to buy Coke and Red Bull. Go figure.

As for the adults, my wife made a spectacular white sangria (it involved cheap boxed wine, apricot brandy, a lot of fruit, and some other stuff that I'll just mysteriously call "ingredients," because I wasn't technically paying attention when she told me what was in it). Plus there was wine, brandy, rum and beer. One of our guests brought Bud Light, but consented to drink real beer after I made fun of the carbonated water in his hands.

Another guest brought Mike's Hard Lemonade (actually a variety box, with a range of brightly-colored bottles), which I didn't properly make fun of because I didn't have any at the time. But I found an unopened one in the cooler the next day, and made the mistake of drinking it.

I don't think that I approve of Mike's. It tastes like Koolaid, and you can't even tell that it has 5% alcohol. This undoubtedly makes it popular with teenagers: because you can't tell it contains alcohol, and because only teenagers can drink that much high-fructose corn syrup without puking.

Trust me on this, if you see a Mike's drinker puking in pretty rainbow colors, it's because their stomach finally rebelled from all the crap, and not because of the healthy, life-sustaining alcohol in it.

But all in all, the whole thing didn't work out too badly. I was in a crowd of people all day, and I didn't kill anyone. And now my wife owes me, for putting up with all of this.

To keep balance in the universe, of course, the next day I had to cover for a coworker who was sick. I had to answer phones and do Customer Service-type work.

I suspect that it's because God hates me.

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