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The Christmas Party | crookedman's Blog


Pre-Party

Red wine and silence.  Sigh.  Though it’s all too easy to have too much of both.  Mostly a bit bored with myself.  I’ve tried all the usual distractions but I seem unable to piton my way up to a creative peak.  Pity on me. 
 
Marquis de Carano, 2007, a wine so good it was in a bottle with a cork. 
 
The silence didn’t last long; I had to play my guitar because I was thinking too much, again.
 
But back here now, with the quiet roaring in my inner ear, and my heart thumping in the other.  Red sounds; the smell of salt and penicillin clings to me like a peppery pox, warning people off.  And it’s midnight.
 
Couldn’t be more contrived.
 
I should just put on a Lou Reed album and get it over with.
 
Worrying.
 
There’s the threat of having to attend a party hanging like a bad smell outside my front door, where tomcats gather.  I am reciting poems to myself in case a party piece is required, on the basis that I need to find something I can do without smiling.  They can’t have invited me for witty repartee and my physical presence; I kill parties, stone dead.  I lose things and have to find them.  I get sick and lock myself in the toilet for hours.   I’m every party’s worst nightmare, believe me.  I must practise my selection of Christmas cracker jokes and decide which side to choose for the obligatory ‘kiss’ for those women I haven’t seen since the last party I attended… a long time ago.  Were we introduced?  If so why can’t I remember your name?  Oh yes, because I’ll have had to be wasted beforehand to even pluck up the courage to leave the house and walk in the general direction of the party…
 
Hmm.  It’s not sounding good to me.
 
If I think of the party as a continuum, from the mild ‘let’s play canasta, drink lemonade and talk about children’ kind of event, right through to the cocaine fuelled orgy that turns into a whiskey fight and a police raid, there’s nowhere even in between that I think, ‘Oh yeah, that sounds like fun!’ 
 
My friends who are throwing the party were teasing me a few weeks ago with setting me up on a date with a mutual acquaintance, Jane.  Tomorrow, she will be present at the party.  I’ve never been ‘set up’ before, it’s rather intimidating, and a bit pointless as I know this woman and there were no sparks.  Even approaching 50 I’m not particularly enamoured about a ‘convenience’ relationship (well, not unless Nastassja Kinski ever needs a UK passport… sorry, that’s just the wine talking).  Being ‘set up’ is like giving up hope that I won’t bump into the woman that’s right for me by some happy miracle.  I know that’s draconian thinking, probably rationalising a fear of relationships, or women, or anything that would mean I’d have to take more baths and smile occasionally, but these days I think ‘When I’m well enough I might consider a relationship but in the short to medium term it’s better I just keep myself to myself’. 
 
So, not only have I got to worry about a party but there’s also this added concern.  Even with my glass half full (of wine, in this case) I’m finding it hard to be optimistic.  So, let’s try a few reframes to see if I can improve my cognitions.
 
It might be fun.
 
If I imagine any fun at a party it involves MDMA and the LCD Soundsystem.  When I try to imagine a party without either, I’m hitting a blank. 
 
So much for the reframing.
 
It’s not them it’s me.  I’m like a draughts piece in the middle of a game of chess.  I’m a 7 inch single at an iPod disco. 
 
I should go but be myself, be congruent.  But if I was being congruent I’d stay at home in silence drinking red wine. 
 
Listen to some 303 music.
 
*
 
On the day of the party I ended up spending the day with my eldest daughter, on a shopping expedition to a faraway town for a cheap Peppa Pig rocket; and she came with me to the party.   Partly this was to protect me from this potential future wife – ‘we come as a package, he’s my Dad, I’m checking you out’, she could say – but partly it was to get her to meet some proper arty types I’m associated with, via history.
 
I’d texted them for ‘What time should I arrive?’ advice and got a terse reply that just said, ‘Sherry @ 8.30’ so I just snorted and figured we could get pretty drunk and turn up about an hour after that.  Unfortunately, when we arrived, (I was expecting a collection of random drunk musicians huddled in corners around the house listening to jazz), there was occurring a sit-down, fairly formal, dinner party with mostly nice people, or at least people behaving normally.   The horror.  So we started in an excommunicated place and worked our way up from there.  We did good, I think.  She was more socially astute than me, often warning me that I was too loud when talking about people, especially people only a few feet away, but I don’t say bad things about my friends anyway.  She’s young and a bit sensitive.  They know what I’m like already, and yet they still invite me.
 
And then, after I’d put her in a taxi, out came the cocaine.
 
Who knows how I was from there on in.
 
A bit inappropriate, apparently.
 
Hold on to your hats.
 
Earlier in the evening…
 
Before going my eldest daughter and I spent an hour getting wasted and swapping youtube songs. She’d been telling me how things were going since she’d split with her man.  Apparently she’s turning down six shags per week.  We got laughing about this, me being mock outraged, not at these threats to ‘her honour’ (or whateva) but at the idea of blokes just saying ‘Fancy a shag?’  She didn’t seem offended at all and thought that obviously I’d been doing it wrong, throughout my whole life.  I couldn’t help thinking that maybe she’s right.  To torment me (she combined my love of 303 tunes with her teasing me about my naivete and shyness) she made me listen to this song before we went to the party, in the hope of getting me in the right mood for my first meeting with my future wife.  I was a little ashamed that I hadn’t heard it before, or seen the video.

 
 
It’s possibly just as well that my ‘intended’ didn’t show up.

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