Goddamn, the more I write the more I think that I sound like a raving lunatic.
I’ve got a pretty bad case of Party Hosting Paranoia. I think once, dozens of years ago, I invited folks over to my house and ran out of lemonade or Twizzlers or canapes or oxygen and the party bombed. I say “think,” because I don’t remember if this happened, but it’s the only reasonable explanation for my current hysteria.
So I invite people over to my place last night. Nothing formal. Just show up. We’ll eat some snacks and drink some drinks and play some games and listen to some musics. It’ll be a blast, this social gathering. So I tell a few people, who tell a few people, who tell a few people.
But then the PHP sets in: how many guests will arrive? Will I be hosting two or three? A handful? Several hundred? While the possibility that no one will show briefly floats across my conscious mind, I instead decide to concentrate on my personal Worst Case Scenario: EVERYONE, up to and including my second grade teacher, will arrive at Julie’s Apartment that evening, expecting food and drinks and plenty of breathable air and good times.
I’d already procured adequate provisions for an intimate gathering of five or six people, but as the party approaches I enter Party Survival Mode, which manifests itself into a frantic, last-minute trip to the Wal-Mart.
I have no idea what I will purchase, only that I know that I need something else. I pass a display of cheap plastic dishware. Cups! I think. I need more cups! And into the cart go four plastic tumblers for $0.75.
I continue to stalk the aisles in a frenzy. Fellow customers avert their gazes; I am wild-eyed and damn-near dissociated. I see cases of Natural Light. Beer! I think. I need more beer! But is 20 bottles of Bud Light a better buy than 637 cans of Natty? Always, I think, and into the cart goes the clinking cardboard prize.
Cups. Beer. What else? I’ve approached the groceries. Snacks! I think. I need more snacks! I see Cheez-its of every flavor. One box? Two? Three? I remember that I also have popcorn at home. And cookies. Did I mention I planned on baking cookies? Two boxes of cheesy baked goodness drop into the cart, and I manage to reintegrate myself enough to make it to the checkout lane.
Purchases paid for, Items driven home. Everything unloaded into my kitchen. Every single solitary food item in my refrigerator is then rearranged to make way for the beer, which was bought room-temp and cannot possibly be served warm. The shelf seems to be bowing under the weight of 240 fluid ounces of Bud Light. I rearrange some more. There, that’s better. Could I have refrigerated, say, half of the bottles? Of course, but I am in the throes of a PHP crisis.
Night of the party. I tell guests to begin arriving at 9:00. For several straight months, I’ve not worked past 8:30 on a Saturday night. For the past several weeks, I’ve barely gone past 7:30. Plenty of time to get home, change, sweep the floors, bake cookies, put away my laundry, and attend to all of the last-minute details that only matter to me, because my friends are not petty bitches and will not give a shit.
But it is 8:30 and I am still at work. There are absolutely no indications I will be leaving soon. It is an unusually busy evening, everyone is busting their asses, and to ask to leave would make me actually crazy.
So I wait. Nervously. It is 8:45. I am still there. Oh, God.
Never mind that my most-punctual friends already RSVP’d with regrets, and those who planned on coming indicated that 9:00 was just an ETA. I am sure there are hordes of angry, hungry, thirsty friends camped outside my apartment door.
8:47. I am told that I am done for the evening. I complete side-work with the swiftness of Kenyan marathoners and am home at 9:01.
Guests trickle in, we chat and drink and eat and all is well. One person drinks one beer. Approximately 1/4 of one box of Cheez-its is consumed. To my adrenaline-addled brain, this does not mean I over-prepared. It means I planned wisely. Half of my guests wanted to drink water, and I was able to serve them in brand-new cups, with forty-six older cups at the ready.
Overall, one successful party and one serious flare-up of PHP passed.
*Quote taken from an episode of Wings. What a good show.