Friday, December 02, 2005

It's okay, non-dog people. You can come out now. The dogs are gone...

I promise: There are no dogs in this post.

It’s Holiday Function time again, Dirtman’s favorite High Holy Time.

The Dirtman loves a good holiday function. He can work a room like nobody’s business. He remembers names. He remembers events. He remembers the right names connected to the right events, not always to the participants’ delight.

The Dirtman really shines in the area of small talk. He could pull a conversation from a light pole. And he is capable of ending a conversation and moving on. Hence, Dirtman is never stuck in a corner next to someone describing their irritated bowel syndrome because they took the question, “How are you” literally.

Dirtman’s only problem during High Holiday Function time is me.

I hear “Holiday Function” as “High Potential for Public Humiliation.” First there is the whole wardrobe issue. High heels look nice, but since they are rarely worn, falling over is a real consideration. Flats look frumpy, especially when you are five feet tall and people tend to look over your head anyway. Then the decision: pants or dress. If you wear a dress and do fall over, modesty demands you adjust everything before rising, which can be a time-consuming practice. With pants you can just pop up and try to pretend nothing happened. Or that you meant to do that.

See? I haven’t left the house yet and I’m already into a full panic attack.

Now we arrive and, God help me, there is food. Little tiny food on little tiny thin paper plates, and, oh crap joy, punch. Okay. Plate in one hand, punch in the other, my purse – on my shoulder (come on, I’m not an idiot). Now: Walk. Across. The Room.

(At this point I revert to my Roman Catholic upbringing and begin chanting the “Hail Mary” to myself, much like Robert Redford in A Bridge Too Far.)

A burst of laughter comes from across the room and Dirtman is in the midst of it. He has managed to snag that prime real estate at every function with tiny food on tiny, thin paper plates: a sideboard. That’s where all the socially adept are hanging out, having staked their claim while I was juggling punch cups and deciding which food was least likely to wind up on my blouse.

So I head for a place to stand, somewhere by some safe-looking soul who won’t jostle me too much. There’s someone who caught my eye and they are smiling. Do I know them?

Where do I know them from? I don’t get out much so how hard can this be?

I smile back. “Cold enough for you?”

Did I just say that? What kind of lame opening comment is that?

Unfortunately, it works because I have managed to find the one person in the room who knows in detail what about the currents in the atmosphere have come together precisely at this time to make it cold enough and what was different at various times over the past, say, three centuries to make it not cold enough.

And there I am, sadly, for a very long time because Dirtman like to close these functions down. In fact, the event itself isn’t enough for him. Oh no. Dirtman is no snob. He likes to stick around and talk to the staff, maybe even help them out a bit.

“Well,” he sighs contentedly as we settle in the car, “that was fun. You and (insert name of someone I’ve never heard of who, of course, Dirtman grew up with) were certainly deep in discussion. I’ve always though he was a little boring.”

It occurs to me at this point that he could at least show a modicum of jealousy. I’m always tempted to say in a low, sultry voice, “Maybe we weren’t talking about…the weather,” but these attempts always end in laughter on his part and humiliation on mine.

And then, to cap off the evening, the question that brings on a cold sweat and sets my pulse racing: “So, what’re you wearing tomorrow night? It’s a little formal, so you should wear a dress and heels.”


happyandblue2 said...

LOL. You could take a folding table to the next event. And perhaps earplugs..

Hick said...

That's funny! I feel the same way, but I still love the Holidays anyway. I am very bad at parties unless they are mine and then I just stay busy preparing food, passing around food, eating food, cleaning up spilled food. I usually get to talk to everyone but I don't have to stay too long.