That's right. A retirement party.
(P.S. - the story of thanksgiving is coming, but it involves pictures that I have been too lazy to download)
I have a friend; we've been friends since first grade. We hated each other for a year or so in middle school, and again in high school, but have remained friends through college, our twenties, and now our thirties. She's married and has a 2 year old. And lives really far away. She's not a phone talker, or an emailer, so honestly, we don't really keep in touch, unless she is here or I am there. So, maybe once, twice a year. Sometimes not even that. Oh, and we have virtually nothing in common except our bad perms in 1987.
Despite that, I feel like part of the family - at least during the holidays. So, when they threw a retirement party for the parents, of course I had to go. And be tortured.
The thing is, you can't really hang out with the people you want to hang out with at an event like this - it was in the banquet room at a restaurant and they had invited 30 of their closest friends. I was stuck most of the night talking to my mom and the parents of a kid I went to high school with. Parent, whose son is now a dentist, thought I was absolutely delightful (which I am, by the way) and said several times something about how cute I was. Good for my ego, for sure, but being that delightful with someone you don't know takes considerable effort. Particularly when your mom is sitting next to you telling stories about your Brownie years (1981-1984, in case you were interested).
Had some awkward conversation with friend too, while we both tried to entertain the toddler and keep her from playing with knives (I was encouraging her to play with forks though, which may have been too pointy for most people to let kids play with. Not me though!) I love her, and she will always be my friend, but man, she just is far removed from everything that is happening in my life. How do I answer the question "So how are you??" "Uh, I'm sleeping with my ex-boyfriend who I have no future with; my dad is a handful, wants to stop dialysis and I'm not real sure how to have end of life discussions with him; work is stressful....yadda, yadda, yadda..." I told her some stuff, but not much. Maybe just enough to let her know that stuff is happening and its not all good, despite the happy face I had on.
After two glasses of cheap red wine, some fruit, cheese and small talk, I was ready to GO. I felt guilty about not heading back to their house with them to hang out a bit (invited by the parents, not by friend, for what that's worth) but another hour of chitchat wasn't going to catch anyone up on anybody. So I declined and headed home, relieved.
FYI - number of single guys at the retirement party: Zero. Not that you are surprised by this, but add retirement party to the long list of places that aren't good for meeting men.