I never went to many parties when I was younger. Ever. In fact, I didn't even go to my senior prom in high school. I really should have gone to prom. I get lots of strange looks when I tell people I didn't go. Truth be told, I had a totally awesome girl ask me to go, and I'm pretty much an idiot for not going, but my girlfriend had broken up with me not long before, and I was being Capn' Sadsack. I didn't do break ups very well. I was also pretty bad at science for those of you keeping score.
Parties didn't offer me very much socially. I don't want to come across as the lonely guy who sat in the corner of the cafeteria every year crying into my swiss cake roll. I had friends. I was well liked in a variety of crowds thanks to my humor. I really did have a social life. Parties just didn't contribute to that. The thing is, I wasn't a drinker because the majority of alcohol tastes bad to me. I really like to cook with wine, and even beer sometimes. In recent years I've become a fan of scotch, but I rarely drink it. Back in my high school and early college days my brother tried very hard to get me into beer. Maybe it was a brotherly bonding attempt? Every time, he'd say, "This is the one you're gonna like. Trust me, you just need to keep drinking it and eventually you'll like it." That's some pretty dumb reasoning. "Here, eat this. It tastes like the smell of the diaper genie bag when it rips open on accident, but in time you'll find it better then all the peanut butter cups in the world*." Then there's the smoking. Never something I even tried, and hanging out in a cloud of it for any length of time was not of interest. Of course, there was the actual social aspects of it all. As I am about as shy as you can get around new people, walking into a room of 30 and knowing 3 people left me with the problem of trying to constantly explain why I needed to leave within 5 minutes. I mean this was before I had a cell phone, so faking an emergency phone call became rather elaborate. Props to me.
When we moved to Idaho we were joining a long established tradition of "get togethers" which is old people talk for party. Not that any of us are, or more specifically, were old, but the party dynamic switched quite a bit. The alcohol was still there, but the level of "drunk" people had been getting to in a period of 30 minutes was starting to be something that took several hours. The smokers moved away from the crowd to light up, and instead of a house full of strangers, it became a room full of friends. Maybe that was my problem. I was ahead of the age to party-style ratio. So for a couple years Melissa and I were free to go hang out with our friends. We'd stay out late, and watch people go from drunk to sober and back like the gentle waves on a shoreline.
We knew that our attendance and general attitude towards these gatherings was going to change when we had kids, but I get the feeling our friends sometimes are puzzled by our new and less flexible system of party attendance, which brings me to this:
An open apology to anyone who has thrown a party in which one or more of those in attendance had children of a young age.
It is with great regret that we inform you that we are leaving your party. Please rest assured that at no point did someone offend us or make us uncomfortable. We are not leaving due to a lack of bottled water or an abundance of bad food. We are, frankly, leaving because we are tired of trying to have fun and keep an eye on our children. You may have noticed that when we arrived this morning/afternoon/evening, that we brought with us what seemed like the contents of most of our house. You are not far off as most of our current possessions actually belong to our children. Those bags contain every toy and movie Disney has ever made. They also contain every diaper product needed to change up to 50 diapers, as the actual needed amount is impossible to predict. While we appreciate that you have offered the use of your office, bedrooms, extra bathroom, game room, and tree house to temporarily store all of these belongings, our children have systematically thrown most of the items into the front yard which seems to be causing a disruption to those who are trying to play "beer pong." Despite the presence of every toy they actually own, our children have decided that it wasn't quite enough and have thusly proceeded to investigate your collection of rare books with their hands and mostly their mouths. Again, please know that we appreciate your invitation to this occasion. We hope by this note that it's clear that our early departure has nothing to do with the level of enjoyment we perceive most people are having here. We're sure that this is a lovely gathering of friendly people. It's just that as we've been slowly wandering from room to room saying, "NO! Put that down!" we were left unaware that it has been almost 35 minutes. Due to the very lengthy 5 minute drive back to our home, we must depart post haste to ensure our children have sufficient time to wind down before their 7:30pm bedtime. We find that if the children are kept up much past their bedtime when they've been hyper for any period of time over 2 minutes, they often wake up several times throughout the night screaming for things like water or nothing. So we humbly thank you again. We hope you will consider us when your next event occurs, and we'd like to apologize once again about the front flower bed. While potty training has been a difficult process, he should not have dug that pee troth. We were at a baseball game last month and he's been fascinated by group urination ever since. We hope this explains that he really wasn't trying to pee all over your pants and shoes and dog, he was trying to get others to join him like he experienced at said baseball game.
Your Friends with Young Kids
*I love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in a rather obsessive way....add that to list of people who should sponsor the blog.