I went to 4 parties* this weekend! I don't mean to brag, but I'm pretty sure this means that I am popular, or at the very least more popular than you. How can I be so sure of that when I hardly know anything about most of you? Well, I know you've got nothing better to do than read my crappy blog. Q.E.D.
Party #1 was a baby shower for a gal friend of mine that I had long ago put into the Will Have A Child Over Her Dead Body category. (Hopefully I didn't just jinx the delivery). It was a baby shower, so there's not much interesting to tell. Probably the most amusing part was when one of the party hosts asked us to take turns telling everyone how we knew the mother-to-be and what our birth-date was. I found the birth-date part of the exercise baffling, but just assumed it was the kind of touchy-feely nonsense that chicks do at baby showers. Hank, on the other hand, assumed it was part of a game and committed each person's birthday to memory, so that she could dominate at some future imaginary quiz. There was, of course, no such birthday quiz, but she reeled off the list of birthdays for me as we drove home.
Yes, she's competitive.
Party #2 was a birthday party for a friend of ours who just turned 50 years old. As a conversation starter, we all played a game where each person was assigned the identity of a famous person, but you weren't allowed to see who you were assigned. Instead, the person's name was taped to your back so everyone else could see it. Then, you spent time at the party asking people questions about your identity to figure out who you were.
I was given "Mahatma Gandhi" and I launched into a line of questioning with some woman I never met before. When I paused for a moment, after learning that "I" had written a book, the woman leaned in and said, "And most people would be surprised to learn that you're an anti-semite, but it's true."
Whaaaa? That set me off on the wrong guessing path for a while until some other person pulled me aside and urged me to ignore that fact. Regardless the first thing I did when I got home was to google up my Gandhi Anti Semite facts. I think I've decided that he's not a Zionist, but I wouldn't equate that with anti-semitism. I mean, it's Gandhi! If he hates the Jews, then they should just throw in the towel.
Party #3 was a cocktail party that was thrown as a fundraiser for Daisy's school's PTA. I bounced from conversation to conversation in noisy rooms only able to pick up bits and pieces of what people were saying. Noisy rooms kill me. I did find a quieter spot at one point, but that limited my conversational partners to two people. The first person, a nice woman wearing a dress that showed a bit of cleavage, kept clutching at her wrap during our conversation, repeatedly covering up her chest. Note that I was on my BEST behavior this evening and during my entire conversation with this woman, I concentrated very hard on looking her on the eye and not in the boob, so to see her self-consciously covering up while chatting with me was rather distressing. Was I boob-staring without realizing it? Or did she just realize that I was telling myself the whole time not to look at her boobs?
The other guy I chatted with had a job that was vaguely similar to my own, so we discussed the idea of using computerized simulation software to overcome the problem of over-fitting your data sets. This was as big of a crowd pleaser as it sounds.
The moral of this party story is that you should invite me over too, so that I can stare at your boobs and bore you.
Party #4 was Daisy's book club. This was the book club meeting where, at my suggestion, the hostess had agreed to add margaritas and word games for the parents.
Hank and I, as I may have mentioned before, are big word game nerds. We play a lot of Scrabble, Boggle, and Bananagrams in our house, but we have a hard time getting our friends to play with us. The fundamental issue is that we've memorized a bunch of word lists that give us a big advantage in most word games. Many of the words that I'll play in these games are words that I can't define, that I only know from the lists. So, when I kick someone's butt playing words like "qaid" and "xu", it tends to short-circuit any enjoyment they may have been deriving from the game.
So, Hank and I took a different approach this time. We decided ahead of time that we'd limit ourselves to words that everyone knows. We played numerous practice games of Bananagrams this week only using "normal people" words in order to make sure that we could pull this off. It was really hard! I don't know how you people do it. After days of practice, however, we got to the point where we could play a passable word game, mortal-style.
So, we get to book club today, with margaritas and word games in hand, and nobody wanted to play. :( I suffered through a few conversations about jobs and kids and crap, until finally the hostess convinced people to play the one non-word game we had brought as a back-up: Apples to Apples.
Anyway, I guess it all worked out ok, but for the record, I think I still would have kicked butt even dumbing down my game. Or playing left handed.
And that was Mike's big party weekend.