[note: the following post is overly-long, and has terrible pronoun slippage issues. please attribute to my delicate condition].
one day, i might decide that life is too short to piss away an entire day by slobbing about the house in my pyjamas, cringing at any sudden moves, and sitting stupidied in front of Spy Kids while your son attempts to engage you in play. "honey, mummy doesn't feel very well. ok?" [read: honey, mommy can't really function right now, as she has a raging hangover. ok?"] last night, we had a houseful of guests for what started as a concept for an elegant italian-themed dinner party, and ended up as the raucos "Dago-Fest 2006!"
some friends and i have been reflecting lately over "wow, remember when we were totally wild in college? how did we shift from nightclubbing to potlucking so seamlessly? could we ever do that again?" and then we realized, while the context for getting together and, uhm, having a tipple (or 5) might have changed, much still remains the same. let's take a closer look.
In college, planning an evening's entertainment involved a simple process of drinking vodka and cokes in one's flat (why pay pub prices?) while you and your flatmates vye for use of the bathroom in order that you can each get tarted up like utter slatterns. this process would take much of the evening, with each of you ready (and adequately lubed up) to hit the town, oh, say, at about 11pm. there will be some consternation over whether one really needs to hamper one's self with a coat or handbag, or if one is willing to risk hyperthermia to parade the streets in a vest top and jeans, with lipstick, cash (and perhaps something illegal) wedged down the side of your platform boots. you the proceed to dole out for taxis, nightclubs, and drinks, and, after at least two trips to the cash machine (being sure not to get a balance receipt--who needs that downer?) end up spending what is the equivalent of your monthly budget for food and "necessities." after an evening of teetering about town and in clubs, you fal/l out of taxi, fall into bed, and spend sunday in front of the EastEnders Omnibus (and other mindless shit) and nursing your hangover by consumng large quantities of tea, galaxy bars, and cheesy wotsits.
As an adult and a parent, i immediately notice that the scene of socialization and debauchery quickly shifts from the town to one's own home (or the homes of others). before preparing for such and evening, one vital issue must be addressed--do we make this a family thing, or do we arrange for sitters? an ingenious convention that occurs in my neighborhood is the "off-site" child play area. kids get dropped at one house (we *do* get babysitters) and the parents then trot to another for an evening of fun that kicks off at 6pm, and must end at 11pm, sharp.
let me tell you, there is nothing quite like a group of thirtysomething parents who are quite unfettered of parental responsibility. (sidenote--remember in the late 80s when Hope, Micheal, Elliot, Nancy and all those from Thirtysomething looked old to you?? that's you and me now, baby).
so, replace the vodka and cokes with about 15 bottles of italian plonk, and for entertainment, instead of a d.j. enlist the skills of your amazing chef-friends who make fresh pasta dishes before your eyes, which you get to eat all night long.... our musical backdrop is provided by dick cheese, who croons sinatra-style covers of songs like "me so horny" (2 live crew). (picture also groups of people giggling inanely over cheese's version of beastie boys' brass monkey. we're sooo bad).
at some point, someone asks "what time is it??" you look over at the clock and say "it's only 7:45!!" and you high-five each other. by 8:30, you are thinking, "wow, it's only 8:30, and I am buzzed." by 10pm, the FM radio has been switched on and a couple of folks are (I shit you not) getting down and groovy to NPR's American Routes. At 10:55pm there is some discussion over whether to ask the sitters to stick it out a bit longer, and if so, which hapless spouse to send over to break the deal. At 10:59pm, we decide to quit while we are ahead, and I walk (carefully) with the other parents to retrieve children.
sunday morning. 7am. you awake to son bright eyed and bushy tailed, and immediately begin plotting as to how to make this day as devoid of all activity and motion as possible...
Hey honey, want to watch Spy Kids??"
Now, where's that bag of cheeto puffs...?
[p.s. to our dago-fest comrades. awesome...!]