|Our view of the festivities, from the table in the corner (and via our non-focus-friendly camera phone).|
It's exactly the sort of gathering at which I fare very ill: large masses of strangers in a room acoustics forgot. I keep thinking, I should like these parties. I should want to meet the parents of my child's schoolmates, and see him at play with his friends, and perhaps even arrange a future playdate or two.
But, as I was telling Steve, I think a better option for us would be a much smaller gathering — for instance, maybe just the parents from the afternoon class he attends, rather than parents from every variation of classes, and perhaps in a more intimate setting than a community center gym.
Not that I'm complaining about the organizers; I'm just complaining about myself, and my lack of sociability.
Steve and Corin and I arrived late and did first things first — piled up some plates with food from the potluck tables. Then we found a seat, at a table that held other people's belongings, but at which no one else ever joined us. I always tend to pick empty tables at potlucks and thought this time I would force myself to sit with someone — but, no.
There was a very good children's musician performing, but Corin refused to get near.
They set up bouncy castles afterward, but Corin won't go in bouncy castles unless they're devoid of other rugrats — or, at the very least, girls. We tried explaining to him that there was no way we could persuade fifty giddy youngsters to exit the three bouncy houses so that he could have his alone time, and he started shouting helpful instructions at us: "Yell at them! Yell at them!"
But when we tried to leave, he insisted he loved the party and had to stay. Sigh.
I noticed other kids standing by their friends. I wondered why our kid had none. And then I remembered that his parents were sitting by themselves at a table to the rear. Apple, falling, tree, all that.
I always feel conspicuous for being a social reject at these shindigs, so at one point I looked around at the other tables. Wouldn't you know it — we weren't the only ones. Probably a dozen other lonely people shifted their eyes away from contact and pretended they were engrossed in drinking from their water bottles, or tapped their toes determinedly to the music, as if to broadcast "Sitting by yourself is FUN!"
So I felt better. If we were going to be loners, at least we were doing it with a crowd.
|Corin insisted we swap nametags, because clearly mine had an "A for Apa."|
Steve and I filled the time till the party ended talking big about how we're totally going to transform the downstairs half-bathroom — for reals, this time. New paint, new tile, pedestal sink and updated faucet to replace the hip 1980s model, eco-friendly toilet (not a composting model, though; I have to draw the crunchy line somewhere), chair rail for charm, and a round mirror hanging from a ribbon, because won't that be dainty?
And then, instead of driving to the paint store to finally, finally, finalize that stupid yellow we're searching for (antique! pale! why don't you exist!), or to Home Depot to order our sink, or to home to schedule the handyman to come give us some estimates or a floor place to locate our tile choice (1920s black-and-white chic, which strangely enough is not easily found in the twenty-teens), we merely dithered as we always do about cost, clearing clutter, our dismal track record at installing anything properly, blah blah blah, and ended up doing nothing. And so it is.
But at least we had partied. Hard.