What To Do At A House Party: Not This

A couple weeks ago, I was in a real house. My friend had invited me to tag along to a summer barbeque, and the host and her roommates, all our age, lived in a house. An actual adult house with rustic wood wall signs that made brave statements like “sweet dreams are made of cheese.” A backyard the size of my apartment. Heavy-looking furniture in a clearly demarcated living room, not our bare purgatory where I’ve lightly considered the idea of getting a couch if only so I can help the area decide whether it identifies as a living room, dining room, or hallway.

As I was running through the steps of how to escape my life and take the host’s place—I’d get corkboard coasters and she’d get my all-consuming fear of existence—she walked up to greet me and my two friends.

Friend: I love your house. It’s so cute.

Host: Thank you!

Me: Thanks for letting me come with Friend! What’s the occasion?


Host: I mean… just ‘cause? Celebrating summer? There isn’t really one.

Maybe it was better that this wasn’t a specific party to commemorate, say, Host’s getting a new job, because then the two bags of tortilla chips Friend 2 and I brought in seemed a bit lackluster. I mean, if we’d known, we’d have at least brought some napkins, too. Maybe it was also better that we weren’t celebrating a new job for Host because, the state I’ve been in recently, seeing any person’s rosy future potential makes me want to shrivel up and die. Maybe.

Or maybe it wasn’t better, because after Host wrapped up that conversation, I didn’t really know what to do from there. There were 20+ people and I didn’t know anyone else besides Friend and Friend 2 and I’m an introvert. Every time I struck up a conversation with someone who looked equally as uncomfortable as we did, I’d watch the interest flagging in their eyes.


So I resorted to my usual method of hanging around the dining table to munch on the snacks. (It shows vulnerability, you can talk to people one-on-one, and you can get what you really came for.) A burger and a hot dog later, people started heading out to the patio. My friends and I followed the tide.

Several people were already seated at a long wooden picnic bench. The only room available was on the bench’s left. Friend 2 and I slid in, and Friend walked around the other end so she could sit across from us. She placed down her paper plate of chips and guac and sat.


The bench immediately sunk a couple of inches as the wood splintered. Heads snapped toward us. I immediately broke down laughing at Friend’s mortified expression.

Friend: Oh, my God. I am so sorry.

Host: Nooo, it wasn’t you! That bench was broken long before you got here. We just never fixed it.

Me: *laughing* Sorry, I—

Me: *incomprehensible*

Friend: I didn’t think I was that heavy!

Host got a couple guys to inspect the wood. The support was completely severed from the leg. Unsalvageable. Friend decided to just stand. I was still laughing, determined to milk as much amusement out of this kind of thing happening to someone else and not to me this once. My stomach started aching, and I finally found the strength to calm down. I straightened my back.


It was the sound of the left side of the bench completely caving in, of Friend 2 and I literally being knocked down a peg. It was the sound of immediate karmic retribution.

I just can’t win with parties. Of course all the free food was too good to be true.

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Last post: An Easy Pots de Crème Recipe, But Add Idiocy

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