You almost forget where you are for a moment. But, a high-pitched laugh brings you back to reality.
You see food on a table. You hear some generic music. You see a gathering of people that will never be mistaken for a United Colors of Benetton ad.
You wonder if they still make those ads.
You are smack dab in the middle of a “party.”
And you probably haven’t said anything in fifteen minutes. People are beginning to look at you.
What the fuck do they want?
Oh, yeah. You are supposed to be funny. That’s your role here. You actually listen for a minute, hear your spot, and drop a moderately off-colour masturbation quip.
It gets some howls of laughter. One polite chuckle. One iffy look from Judgy McJudgeburger. And a half-smile/half-pretending to be shocked look from a blond. You shoot her a little smirk.
Well, you just do.
And then they all go back to whatever they were discussing. A woman’s right to choose, “The Secret” on DVD… or Swedish porn. You’ve completely lost track.
You turn to your left, hoping that the conversation going on over there might be more interesting.
It’s a group of women giggling at a story being told be a tall brunette. From what you can ascertain, it involves an early morning drive of shame, and a dude not being able to find “it” with two hands, a map and a compass.
You turn another ninety degrees.
A group of yuppy guys are complaining about having too many ivory backscratchers… or something. You hold back a “Sweet fuckin’ Christ” and a cock punch when one jokes that maybe he should have turned down his “huge” raise because of all the taxes he now pays.
You turn another ninety degrees.
Three couples — that look freakishly similar — huddle together. One woman cackles about forcing her husband to get a vasectomy, or he wouldn’t be allowed to touch “all of this” anymore. The other two women smile broadly, while the men sip their drinks in an uncomfortable shared silence.
You wonder if it is possible to will yourself to become stricken with temporary hysterical deafness. And then you remember that there is another ninety degree turn…
Over the top of the group of people that you are “talking to” you see her.
She is standing by the food table.
You are not normally one to notice eye colour, but hers are just that striking.
She catches you looking. She smiles.
You consider excusing yourself from your group, but “Meh” it instead and just walk over to the food table.
There’s some small talk. Introductions and whatnot. Not your favourite thing in the world, but a necessary evil.
“Are you a friend of the lady of the house?” she asks — her voice less pleasing than you had hoped.
“The man of the house?”
“Then what are you doing here?”
“I just wander the neighbourhood in hopes that someone is playing some Kelly Clarkson. That shit’s like the siren’s song to me.”
“The what’s what?” she asks.
Before you can answer, she “tsssks” loudly.
“She KNOWS that I’m on a diet.”
You immediately know where this is going.
Your eyes glaze over in the flurry of “carbs,” “hips” and “spin class.”
“Bathing suit season is just around the corner,” she chirps. (You’ve never hated a voice more.)
“Uhm… It’s September.”
“It’s never too early to start!” she says happily.
You grab her and start force-feeding her handfuls of salt & vinegar potato chips, while yelling “Embrace the curves! They are sexy! THEY ARE SEXY!!!”
OK. You don’t actually do that.
“Well, Shelly, it’s been nice to meet you. See ya,” you say, already walking away.
“That’s super,” you say over your shoulder.
You stand, by yourself, in the middle of the room.
Suddenly you are flashing back to being called that horrible high school insult “stuck up” in your youth.
You finally realize that “thinking you are better than everyone” probably looks a lot like “feeling like a man without a country.”
And so you leave.
You arrive home. A home that has never looked more inviting.
The cooling effect of naught but boxer briefs under a ceiling fan set to “absolutely fucking frantic” allows you to really relax for the first time all night.
You hit the power button on your remote control.
“This is Sports Center.”
Your phone rings.
You hate your ringtone.
You look at the screen.
You recognize the name, if not the number.
“Hiiiii. This is a VERY nice surprise.”
You suddenly realize that it’s been your favourite night in a long time.