I’m a little late to the game on this one. I had my memo sitting in my Palm Pre. It was only when I lost the phone that I remembered this thought about social gatherings.
We’ve all been there before: you’re invited to a party, and get this, there’s going to be GIRLS THERE. Douse cologne, pop collar, shine shoes, puff chest. Showtime.
You walk through the door and there are about twice as many people you were expecting, maybe 25-30 in all. You know about 10 and the catchup is quick and easy. But what about all the others? Some are friends of friends, others friends of friends of friends, others generally unsociable and smelly.
New Year’s Eve.
Now I’m there (I’m switching back to the 1st person because I’m in love with myself and will always be the first person as far as I’m concerned), standing in the kitchen doorway, perusing over scraps from the seafood feast prepared not in my honour; the feast I was unable to attend due to the tiresome yet necessary evil of employment.
I look around. An ocean of unfamiliarity. Where are the people whose names I already know? I need a smooth transition here.
Mercifully a friend emerges from the other room, which is clearly the bastion of my dear known associates.
“Everyone, this is Baumer!”
He’s excited because he hasn’t seen me in a year and yes, I’m a hot commodity.
I semi-awkwardly make eye contact with those sitting around the kitchen table, sprinkling a “Hey” here, a “How’s it going?” there.
Ok, introductions mostly made.
It seems like a good time to make my way to the living room and ultimately the patio where my friends await. Navigating my way through the crowded kitchen, disaster strikes.
Some chick emerges from the bathroom!
What do I do now? I’m already on my way out and I’d have to make a personal introduction now, my hype man is gone.
9:oo P.M. and weary from travel, I do the only sensible thing: I ignore her entirely and exeunt is I.
I know already that I’ve made a dreadful mistake, even as I happily embrace the ladies and gentlemen that I so adore. I’ll now have to dodge that girl for the rest of the night. A nearly irrevocable social decision.
I proceed to be inundated with sore eyes, truly being a soothing sight, reacquainted with old friends and acquaintances alike.
As we chat and laugh and make excessive noise, more people enter the house, more people that I know not, nor do I have a strong desire to know. There are enough people here already.
Ok, that’s mostly the end of my story and brings me to my point!
You have a point, Baumer? Occasionally, people.
Any time you’re in a social situation with new people, you’re forced to make the same old introduction, the same old summation of school and success, the same tired talk, the smallest of the small.
And you don’t have much of a choice. You pretty much have to. You may otherwise be branded as hostile or rude or racist or Mormon.
To make matters worse, if you do not engage in the trite introduction, you’ll have set a precedent that there’s no coming back from. For the rest of the night, you’ll have to:
A) Ignore that person entirely, further
B) Avoid that person entirely, gracefully
C) Become so saturated with guilt for not having perpetuated lame social conventions that you’ll need to make that introduction, regardless, but now having to
i) Make some excuse for having ignored them
ii) Acknowledge your rudeness and blame it on your medication
iii) Accuse the person of having stolen $40 and totally topsy turvying that shit
Conclusion: society would be far better off if everyone ignored everyone and no one talked to anyone.
No more awkwardness, just calm, silent apathy. No small talk = no social woes = the terrorists don’t win.
And those are some things that bother me.