November 11, 2001

I hate parties.

I'm OK meeting people in teeny-tiny non-threatening increments -- a lunch date here, a company picnic there, a family Thanksgiving dinner once-every-other-decade -- but the idea of walking into a roomful of people strictly for the purpose of *enforced merriment* fills me with unspeakable dread. 

Part of it is shyness. Part of it is due to leftover self-esteem issues, still being resolved. Part of it is due to the fact that my normal patterns of social development were retarded for twenty-some years by alcohol and drug abuse. (Socially/emotionally, I'm about eighteen years old at this point ... which makes me younger than my oldest daughter.) Whatever the reasons for my social unease, though, most of the time I would rather have a root canal performed by a blind dental student on crack than walk into a party.

But yesterday was different.

I allowed myself to be talked into going to yesterday's Northern California Internet Journaler's Shindig for three reasons:

  • I wanted to see Bev and Sunny again.
  • I wanted to meet some of the other journalers who have made me laugh and cry and hiccup and scream and pull my hair out and wet myself (in a good way) over the past few years.
  • I wanted to scope out the competition.
  • David was bringing Bed Picnic Bruschetta.

(Yes OK ... that's four reasons. Sue me.)

So I put on my party Maybelline and my party sweater-set and my party dimples, and I loaded up the Subaru with a bucket of bruschetta, two loaves of French bread and my husband -- I brought him along as social reinforcement -- and we set out in search of fun, food, photo opps and *enforced merriment* at Bitter Hag's home in Pittsburg.

A few photos of the event, courtesy of Bev:

our hostess, the ironically-monikered Bitter Hag.
she may be occasionally bitter (aren't we all?)
but she is most definitely NOT a 'hag.'

Jolene's hubby, Jake; the irrepressible Lunesse;
Rachel (holding Jolene's daughter Jessica);
Rachel's sig other, Matthew (arms crossed); Jane; David, standing in the kitchen
keeping an eye on the Bed Picnic Bruschetta.

Ю僱êrvØ¡ (that's not a bald spot -- that's where his brain gets too hot and melts his hair off)
and Secra chit-chat with Karen and baby Jeremiah.

Hanging out in The Hag's backyard
Counterclockwise from bottom left:
Matthew, Rachel Karen, baby Jeremiah, Bitter Hag.

they don't call her 'sunny' for nothing
on the other hand ... some journalers TOTALLY live up to their nom de plume.

the luminous Karen with the apple of her eye.

The Hag and Joleen (with Jessica): two of *FootNotes* best friends.

meet my new computer guru!

To my surprise, the afternoon turned out to be about a bazillion times less painful (and about a bazillion times more fun) than I'd expected.

The highlight of the day for me personally -- besides the bruschetta, I mean, and besides getting to meet lots of people I absolutely adore (including a few I didn't even know that I adore until now), and besides having somebody else handle camera duty for a change -- was listening to the other journalers read selected excerpts from their journals. Whenever I read these people online, I *hear* them in my voice ... so it was a treat to hear the words in the author's voice, for a change. It gave the readings an authenticity and a poignancy that you just don't get when you're reading from a computer monitor.

(Even David read a selection -- his Aquaman rant from "20th Century Rock & Roll Boy." In fact, he ended up getting the biggest laugh of the day.)

I didn't know until the very last second which *FootNotes* entry I was going to read to the group  --  I brought two along with me, figuring that when the moment came for me to read, I would know instinctively which was the more appropriate  --  and as it turns out I wound up reading this one ... mainly because it gave me a chance to talk about the whole Sliding Doors fiasco. (Ironically -- considering the grief it caused -- Sliding Doors is up for a Diarist Award this time around.) Reading this entry also sort of paved the way for an interesting discussion about the ways that our journaling lives and our 'real' lives intersect. In fact, if I have any complaint about yesterday at all -- and I don't, really, besides the fact that I should have said *yes* to that other piece of apple pie when I had the chance -- it's that there wasn't nearly enough journal-chat to suit me. I could have talked about ISPs and traffic stats and parallel flange indicators all night long.

For those who keep track of such things, here is (I believe) a complete list of journalers who attended yesterday:

Mind you: I still hate parties. I'm never going to be a social butterfly. (Not unless you pour about a bucket of cheap chablis into me beforehand ... which isn't likely.)

But an afternoon filled with cold Pepsi, hot food (much of it involving cream cheese), laughter, hugs, adorable tousled toddlers, cameras flashing, people with whom I have something fundamental in common, comfortable chairs, fluffy cats and interesting discussions about stuff I actually CARE about (and can contribute a *conversation molecule* to, once in a while)?

That I can probably handle.

(And if you don't call it a "party" ... I'll probably even have a good time.)

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