My sister and brother-in-law planned to be out of town yesterday, which was fine by me, because I had rented The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Maltese Falcon, and The Big Sleep from the library. December 25 was Humphrey Bogart's birthday so I decided to commemorate him with a movie marathon. I would have rented more, but Anna invited me to accompany her to some party. And don't worry, I gave Troll 2 to my sister, before she left.
Anna had called me two days previous. "Ray, I've been invited to this party and I don't want to go alone. I don't really know very many people who are going and I'd like someone with me. Lester's got his family thing, everyone else has their family things, so I thought you might do me the favor."
"I don't want to go."
"I knew you wouldn't. But I need you. Everyone else is busy."
"I'm busy too! Do you have any idea what day that is?"
"Humphrey Bogart's birthday."
"Uh-huh." She was unimpressed.
"Okay, I'll come."
"Thanks, Ray. It'll be fun!"
Anna picked me up and we drove to the house, which looked too nice, even on the outside, two-stories and all, and I began to get nervous. Anna brought a bottle of wine which we found, as our coats were taken from us by the young and attractive husband, would not be needed as the young and attractive wife offered us mulled wine or eggnog. I felt even more out of place as more people formed, all with clean, not-too-bright (got to be safe!) shirts and blouses, clean facial hair, and great smiles.
While I concentrated on navigating through the stylish furniture and eating the brie cheese topped with a brown-sugar-and-walnut syrup, gingersnap cookies with real fresh ginger on top, and crackers with cream cheese and red pepper jelly (all of these I felt weird eating, trying to figure out if I really liked them or not and just waiting for chips to appear that never did), Anna worked the room like a champ. As I pretended to study the abstract paintings hanging on the wall, my hands folded behind my back to make me look smarter, I watched Anna chat with people she didn't even know, making them laugh and smile, pressing her hand on their arms.
Between random people sitting next to me on the couch and asking questions like "What do you do?" and "How do you know Ivan and Audrey (the hosts)?" I watched the son of one of the young couples play in the middle of the living room. He was two-years-old and had this trick where his dad or mom would ask, "Henry, what is your middle name?" and as everyone watched, all smiles, Henry would squeak cutely, "Danger!" And everyone would laugh and ask, and the parents would answer proudly, "Yes, his middle name really is Danger!"
Oh, you clever young professionals! I didn't like answering their questions very much because I didn't have a cool position title (like Media and Technology Specialist)and I didn't bring any fancy little food dish, and I didn't make any clever one-liners in the midst of the conversations that made everyone laugh.
I just hope Anna didn't regret that she invited me, but I didn't dare ask.