Sunday, May 23, 2004

I went to Sheila's birthday celebration last night and it was ok (Sheila's the wife of my good friend from high school, Jorge). I got there a bit late and the party was already in full swing, crowds of people were already talking and laughing with other and sometimes poking the leftover food on their plates with their forks. I must admit I'm not into large loud parties and would rather have a sit-down dinner and have quiet conversations with the guests. I don't even know more than half of the people there so you could imagine I was reeling and fighting to urge to eat and run.

As expected with a crowd this size, they started grouping and talking among themselves: married women, the younger set watching kick-boxing on TV, the guys my age exchanging insider jokes and laughing among themselves, and some older folks talking quietly. I wasn't there for more than an hour and I thought it would be rude to make up an excuse and leave so I busied myself with asking other friends about some plans to get together the day after. After squeezing all that I can from that ruse, I sat down and tried to listen to the old folks. The topic they were talking were general enough so it was easy to settle into. Once in a while, one of my two friends would come by and introduce me to their guests and brag about my work. The guests would just pause and smile politely and resume their conversation after a while. Others would try to ask me what I'm doing right now, if I say that I'm a cartoonist they would say "oh" and slowly turn their heads somewhere. If I answered that somewhere along the lines of my day job, that would afford me a few more questions and then they would slowly turn their heads to look somewhere.

After a while some guests started to leave and those smaller groups would merge with the other, making the one I was with sort of an endangered specie. Good thing I was able to strike up a conversation with another guest who turns out to be working in the airport tower. He's also working with computers and other electronic gadgets which was pretty interesting. After half of the guests had left, I joined the more lively ones and waited for the clock to strike twelve so we could sing the birthday song. I just hung out on the outer edge of the group talking to Sheila's best friend, Armie. This one's also on the quiet side but the others had no problem including her in their conversation (it may have helped that she's quite a looker too). We talked about the movie Troy and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy which somewhat made up for the entire night. A few more guests left soon after along with Armie. And after about an hour or so, Jorge's brother, Joel suggested that he had to bring his date home and since most of them were already inebraited and sleepy, Jorge suggested that I go with Joel right up to the bus stop so I could go home. I bid Sheila goodbye and then Jorge, who asked me to go to visit them at their office Monday. I said OK, but I'm not sure if I could. Also, I don't think I'd be able to attend another party again with that large a crowd. For me it's not a matter of 'sink or swim' but rather knowing who am I swimming with.

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