I thought I was cool. I really did. I believed the hype I’d been hearing about myself – that I am a fairly happening person – and that I can hang with the kids and be counted among the hip. But last night I proved, I am not only the least cool person on the planet – I also made it crystal clear to everyone who knows me – that I don’t get out enough.
I was invited to a Halloween party at a friends house – which I have now learned is called a House Party – which I have now learned has very specific cool rules when it comes to “when to arrive.” Now I am someone who hates late. If I am supposed to meet you at 8 – I’m there at 7:59 – unless there is a horrible problem – like someone died, or I have dog barf on me, or there’s traffic or I can’t find the right lipstick. So if you tell me a party starts at 9, I will get there fashionably late – like 9:01. So when my friend said – get there at 9 – I got there at 9. Not only was I the first person there. I was there before the host. If you want to know the absolute definition of nerd – be the first to arrive at a Halloween party in a Twister Game Board outfit – complete with hat and matching handbag and roll in to an empty house. Empty. No one. The fog machines weren’t even on yet. But I went with it. I didn’t think that much about it. I put my Near Beer in the fridge, went outside, lit up a joint and waited. At 10 pm I was still waiting for people I knew to arrive. I made some new friends. No one discussed the early elephant in the room – aka me. Even the host didn’t call me out – so I thought – I guess people are just late tonight. At 11 pm some friends finally arrived. I asked what took them so long – and that’s when I found out – I’m a loser.
“What time did you get here?” my friend Carolita asked. The look on her face when I said 9 o’clock was the saddest face I’ve ever seen. She recoiled in horror and shame. “Don’t you know you never come to a party at the time they say it starts?” No people!! I didn’t know that!!! My friend Rene said – “Everyone knows that whatever time the party says it starts is the time for you to just get in the shower.” Fuck. Shit. Dammit. I need a redo. I tried to hide my shame. Carolita said – “Here’s how parties work. If it’s a black friend throwing the party and it starts at 9 and you show up at 10:20, they’ll be nowhere near ready and you’ll end up helping them set up. If it’s a white person and the party starts at 9 and you show up at 11:30 – that shit is over.” Carolita needs to write a party book. She couldn’t have been more right. I guess if I’d thought about it longer – I’d remember that parties never start at the time they say but even then I would have shown up at 9:30 at the latest and I still would have been an hour and a half before anyone else arrived. I had blown it – big time – and now everyone knew it. The chick in the twister dress – not cool.
At 11:50 I thought – I should go. The two people I was waiting for still hadn’t shown up. I figured they weren’t coming. So I snuck away like a dorky thief in the night. I stopped at the supermarket and got some ice cream and some pirate booty and went home for the real party – in my bed – high as a kite – wondering how this whole – “come late to the party” thing started. I mean – who actually wants to be LATE TO THE PARTY? If you want me to show up at midnight – put that on the fucking invitation people. I don’t have the kind of party math skills it takes to figure out what time I’m supposed to be there if you don’t just say it up front. Maybe someone should hand out a schedule, or give me an atom splitter or whatever it is that does the calculations that lets me know when the cool kids hour of arrival is. And for everyone who didn’t see me at 9pm when I was freshly dressed and ready to party like it’s 1999 – you missed it – I was amazing. Ask the guy in the kids Pterodactylus onesie. We had a blast. I rolled up to my house in my jeep at midnight with my ice cream and my cheese doodles just in time to see my friend Christian walking his dog. He literally fell over laughing at the sight of me. And that almost made me feel better. Then I told him what happened and he hung his head in shame – for me.
I really don’t understand the concept of showing up late. You can have just as much fun at 9 as you can at 11. And most people are just sitting around their houses waiting to go to the party or driving around the block until it’s an acceptable time to go in. Maybe they’re the fucking nerds and I’m the one forging a new path. Who knows. All I know for sure is – I’m gonna be so late to the next party I’m invited to – it’s gonna be the next fucking day. Deal with it.