I have a confession. I think I might be the most boring person at the party.
My suspicions started a few years ago, when I found myself watching a group of drunken revelers share the most heated and excited game of Jackass I’ve ever seen, while I sat quietly on the couch, reading the dictionary. Okay, I made that last bit up. But I was sitting there, not joining in, wondering how on earth they could enjoy a card game THAT much. And not only was I unable to understand their glee, I had NO desire to join them.
It happens from time to time, that a party or social gathering goes well, and I return home, sides aching from laughter, but these incidents seem to be getting more and more rare. Instead, I usually find myself wondering if I did a good job. Was I outgoing and friendly enough? Or was I boring? And if I’m being completely honest with myself, I usually land on boring.
It could be worse. I’m not the buzzkill. I don’t suck all the joy and life out of the room. And I’m not the obnoxious one (usually). You know who I mean, the loud one who only gets louder and unfortunately isn’t funny but sure seems to think they are. I’m more… like a piece of furniture. Furniture you can’t sit on or enjoy.
It’s not that I don’t try. It’s that I don’t drink. I’m that loser. The one on the chair in the corner nursing a glass of ice water, who might as well be wearing a shirt that says RESPONSIBILITY or DON’T YOU HAVE WORK TOMORROW?
I’m the one 9000 years ago who looks at the fermenting grapes or hops or barley or whatever and goes “Ew! These have clearly gone bad” and chucks them out without trying them. No buzzy fun times for me.
Travel back to the 1850s and I’m one of the casualties of the cholera epidemic in London, ignorantly drinking my befouled well water and shaking my head at the merry, beer drinking chaps, whose taste for hops would save their lives.
What makes it worse is that I can’t even relate to the coffee drinkers and their laments over needing caffeine or the tea drinkers and their blissful cuppas. I don’t like coffee or tea either.
It makes me an ideal dinner or cocktail party guest. Cough.
Not that I expect my host to invent some kind of mocktail for me. Between the vegans, gluten allergies, paleos, non-dairies and etc, I’m not counting on my host to also sit with a notebook in front of her, musing aloud, “hmm, but what if someone doesn’t like alcohol, coffee OR tea?” Nor am I going to make myself comfy on their couch, calling into the kitchen, “yeah, I’ll have a ginger beer, not too spicy, and if you could hit it with a splash of pineapple juice and bury it in limes, that’d be GREAT. Thanks.” Then sit back and wait for the invite to the next party that never comes.
So, I smile big and say, “water would excellent!”, as if I’m just so jazzed to get hydrated.
When people see you with a tall glass of water in your hands, they say one of two things. “Jesus, that’s a lot of vodka,” or “Is that all you’re having?”
Sometimes I take the easy way out, shrugging and saying “I’m the desi,” but at some point I have to explain that I don’t actually drink alcohol, followed immediately by the “but don’t worry! It’s not a moral thing, I just think it tastes gross, haha” speech, which of course leads to the “you just need to develop a taste for it” lecture. Which, yes, I’m sure is true but why? Especially when that road is lined with spit takes into the sink and currently my husband never has to rock, paper, scissors over who gets to enjoy themselves.
This conversation is usually followed by a polite exit line, something like “Oh is that Sharon? That bitch owes me money” or “Will excuse me? I need to go set a small fire.” Because let’s face it. You can’t play Never Have I Ever with a glass of water.
When you don’t drink, you don’t lose your inhibitions or the point of your sentences like everyone else. Winning Trivial Pursuit does not become all encompassing and you’re not all loosened up for that group death match of charades. You’re still your fully responsible and buttoned up self, wishing the person next to you would make it to the end of that joke they started and trying to think up a plausible excuse for why your turn at charades should never, ever come.
I’m the reminder of restraint and responsibilities, quietly pointing out that although streaking would be fun, it’s the dead of winter and I’m not particularly eager to have to go door to door, telling my neighbours that I’m now technically a sex offender. And yes, I’m sure you could do a backflip over that coffee table, but there’s really no need to show us.
So, yes. I’m boring. But I never have a wine hangover and all of my stories have endings. They’re not always good, but dammit! They’re there. And you know what, Mark? I might have spoiled your fun when I told you not to climb that tree in the backyard, and no, I didn’t give it my all at pictionary, but you woke up without any broken limbs this morning. You’re welcome.
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