Sunday, October 28, 2012
A Scary Halloween Party
One of my wife's co-workers loves Halloween. She and her husband regularly have a big party. This year, my wife cajoled me into going.
Now, understand that I am not a party person. I'm not a crowd person. I don't like a lot of noise. I like small gatherings with people whom I know well. Otherwise, I'd rather simply go for a long walk in the woods. By myself. Or with just my wife. Or my dog.
At this party there were going to be a few people I knew - but not well.
Dressed in costumes (I was a redneck with a gun - out hunting zombies), we were among the first guests to arrive.
The house was all decked out. Lots of spiders, skulls, body parts. All sorts of sound effects. We chatted with the hosts, then a couple I knew a little arrived, so I talked with them. A few more peopled arrived. Funny costumes, chatting. Some good snack foods. All fine.
Then more people came. And more. And more. The volume increased. Wine and beer flowed freely (I stuck with cider; designated driver). More people arrived. More volume.
A couple of professional clowns arrived (they are professionals, but they were there as guests, not to work).
One woman began to tell several listeners about her failed marriage - he was a drunk - and her experiences in a singles group and with on-line dating. Lots of creeps. Lots of people using images that look nothing like what they really look like. There's one nice guy she's chatted on line with a couple of times. But they haven't met face to face yet. There was an air of sadness about her, a vulnerability. Even when she smiled I had the sense it was an effort. I felt bad for her. But I also felt uncomfortable: She was sharing some things that were personal, more suited to close friends and confidants, and not the strangers surrounding her at this party.
By two hours into the party, my head was hurting. All attempts at conversation were disrupted repeatedly by the volume. Loud, cackling laughter. One fellow with a booming voice constantly making joking comments. People talking even louder to be heard over the noise.
More people arrived. Including some kids (at an adult party?), who screeched and got into balloon fights (with balloon animals and swords produced by the clowns), and knocked over food and a table as they raced from room to room. Mom was busy chatting.
Wife had wandered off to chat.
At some point the mom and children left. Another party to go to.
A woman sat next to me and told me she was afraid of clowns. She sipped her wine, ate some food. Asked about my gun (a BB gun). I made some jokes about keeping the zombies at bay. She mentioned again she was afraid of clowns. She finished her wine, and left to get more. A man sat next to me. He just kept looking around, said nothing. The clown-fearing woman came back, saw the man , and wandered off, sipping her wine.
More beer and wine.
A couple of the younger people at the party (20s) went outside in the rain. One of the young men dropped his pants and mooned us through the window. One of the young women took a long balloon that had a heart balloon attached to its end, turned it around and used it as a phallus, holding it at her crotch with the heart dangling down, thrusting, and, while feigning a masculine voice, said several times "I'm a big man. A big man." Lots of laughter. The man who had sat next to me moved over closer to the 20-somethings.
Three hours in. My ears were ringing.
One of the clowns sat down next to me. He began to tell me about his years in the military - which was interesting, though hard to hear over the noise. Then he started telling me about how he collects items from businesses for fundraising auctions. He told me about what he got from one business. Then another. Then another. Then another. Then another. They all began to run together. I couldn't follow them all because of the noise. I smiled politely and nodded occasionally. He told me about another. And another. Then his drink ran out and he went to get more. I stood up and moved to another part of the room.
The 20-somethings were laughing raucously. No phalluses or buttocks visible, though.
Finally, I caught my wife's eye. She came over and suggested maybe we should be going soon.
Another 20 minutes or so. Goodbyes. Hugs, Finally, we got into the car.
I normally listen to music or the radio. I wanted silence, so I left them off. But all the way home wife, who had enjoyed herself, kept chatting away.
Got home. Walked the dog. Went right to bed.
This morning, Stomach sour. Ears ringing.
I went to the early Mass. No music. The quiet Mass.
I may go for a walk. In the rain (and the hurricane hasn't even hit yet). I'll take the dog. She's usually quiet. I'll say a rosary.
And hope my ears stop ringing so loudly.
Pax et bonum