I am not a party person.  I'm not a people person. 

I like people, and I *love* other people's business, especially the minding of it, but I'm not what you'd call a social butterfly.  I'd be happy to watch and listen to people invisibly from the sidelines.  I do not usually enjoy the interaction myself.  It's painful. Sometimes people are surprised by this, if they don't know me very well.  These are the people that, for whatever freakish reason I cannot explain, I instantly felt comfortable with and so they were spared the awkward getting-to-know-me-like- you-would-a-badger-phase.  I can be quite normal if I feel comfortable.  Most of the time, however, this comfort level can take weeks or months.  During this time I can better be described as 'odd' or 'furtive'….someone who laughs at the wrong times and can't complete a rapid fire sentence without switching topics on her own often inappropriate stories.  I've grown up like this and though I think I've improved with age, and not giving a shit, it's still there and worse in certain situations than others.  Parties. 

Last night I went to Jodi's office party. Colleen also went.  It was held in a big heated tent in the middle of the botanical gardens Winter Wonderwhatever Thousand Watt Nonblinking Light Extravaganza.  Jodi and Colleen and I spent most of our time outside, drinking and eating over a barrel fire.  We spoke to small groups of people who wandered by. We laughed, we walked around, we talked briefly to strangers in the dark….It was perfect. I had a great time. I didn't accidentally say anything clinically insane the entire time, except insisting at one point that the weather service had predicted 15-20 feet of snow in the mountains, when it really was inches, and so everyone figured I'm just phenominally bad at math.  I woke up this morning with little to cringe about.

Now my friend Cindy wants me to go to one of her many Xmas parties.  

Cindy knows and struggles with my hatred of cozy parties in fabulous homes where soft music plays over white carpeting and the guests comfortably use words like 'dollop' in everyday conversation, spoken in muted tones.  I tend to LURK at these events, like a sore in the corner of one's mouth.  I apply alcohol.  I don't know what to say to these people who love their imported Yak's head nightstand ("Isn't it ironic?" No, it's not; look up the word) and living Festivus Bush, their charitable holiday giving of live animals to impoverished third world countries,

"I gave a hive of bees to a village in Africa!" one woman chortled last year,

"I'll send a case of Benedryl then," I replied, to no one's amusement. 

I have known Cindy FOREVER and she is very social.  She has many friends, but the parties I usually get invited to are the ones she needs moral support to attend. Her Doctor Friend parties.  These are the ilk who drink wine worth more than my car and really consider anyone with our jobs and lifestyles to be more like clever farm animals than social equals.  They are patronizing as Fuck. Really.

"Sissy! Come here! You HAVE to hear this: Tell her, tell us that story about you taking your dog to the farm (AN ACTUAL FARM, SISSY!) to run around and nip at the creatures! What's that you called it? 'HERDING' … yes, Sissy, like the poor people we sent bees to last year…they were herders! Of course it's different…you have shoes, yes? Do you stay in your car?  Let ole shep slip out and do his dark business…It must be hideous!"

I hate these events.  What do you wear, when you know these people dress up for everyday things…like getting the mail. They have actual outfits.  Fall Postal and Spring UPS.  Sure, I also have two wardrobes: Clean and Dirty. 

I'll go. I always do.  I'll laugh like a hyena at all the wrong times and children will be sent to bed when I accidentally say something that will require counseling with an anatomically correct stuffed bear later. ..but I'll go.  I'll wear a bee keeper suit.