April 03, 2006

Part Three

I still wasn’t quite sure how many people were going to show up to this thing--sixteen had been invited, and we couldn’t get a straight answer out of the birthday girl as to how many had confirmed they’d be coming, and then we kept getting word that others had invited themselves, and so by the time the early arrivals started coming in, I was rather nervous.

Part of it was just the normal desire to be a good host (i.e., a control freak) and make sure everything runs smoothly, and then part of it is I just have a hearty dislike of people invading my space who might not have the same ideas as I do about the proper manner in which one is to comport one's self in someone else’s house.

Especially, it seems, for several of the kids who finally did show up who seemed as though they were being raised by wolves. And not even by nice wolves, but wolves with interpersonal and interfamilial issues that appear to require the intervention of various judicial processes.

It’s hard to blame the kids, really. It just hurts me, because I remember when teenagers would do anything to try act like grownups. It was usually unsuccessful, but at least they tried. Nowadays, they don’t even try, and I think it’s because they have parents who are doing everything THEY can to act like teenagers. There’s a lot to be said for being child-like. Much less so for being childish.

So, there was the one kid in his black long sk8t4 shorts and black toboggan and black socks and black shirt and black shoes who thought it would be real fun to play keep-away with one of Catherine’s videotapes, and there was the kid who threw his trash in the yard, and the kid who thought it would be funny to make off-color remarks while the old fat guy was standing nearby, and then the idea that it would be fun to start messing with the lamps while they’re burning.

Approximately a half-hour into it, I was ready for the lot of them to leave. AND IT WAS ONLY FIVE KIDS WHO EVENTUALLY SHOWED UP! One girl, four guys, and precious little in the way of manners. And yes, this includes Oldest, who HAS been taught better, but prefers not to employ her knowledge in any sort of way that might indicate she has any parental influence in her upbringing.

Or, maybe I just don’t like people.

IN ANY EVENT, they devoured the shrimp and ate varying amounts of the other carefully marinated and grilled meats--well, except for the portions they threw away or left on the ground. They hung around talking in the yard for a long time, got bored, briefly discussed leaving and going and bothering someone else in the neighborhood, decided to stay for cake, got bored again, got a soccer ball and started kicking it all into the neighbors’ yards, and finally started drifting on back home as their parents came and got them. I started the process of shutting down the shindig at a bit before 6:00, because I thought that last kid’s parents were coming for him soon. He called his parents and finally left at close to 7:00.

The oil went back into the jug--only used a little bit, it turns out. Figures. The bikes were brought back around, the shed was locked up, the garbage was picked up, the chairs were folded and stacked back inside the garage, while inside the house, the meat and fruit--so laboriously stuck onto bamboo sticks--was unceremoniously deskewered so we could get it into the refrigerator.

Never have I been so glad anything was over--and that includes last month’s 50th anniversary party for my in-laws.

And never has a shower been so welcome.

And then, Sunday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at April 3, 2006 11:08 AM

Was Ashley upset that more kids didn't come? Did you hear any dramatic announcements that no one liked her and that she didn't have any friends?

Posted by: Jordana at April 3, 2006 01:02 PM

Nope, not a peep. She seemed satisfied, although a bit put-out that they started playing with the soccer ball instead of paying attention to her.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 3, 2006 01:20 PM