It happens once a year. Thanksgiving. Holiday parties. I wear a dress and heels and try to balance a heaping plate full of food at the buffet line while maintaining a smile and polite small talk at my husband's Christmas party without twisting my ankle, falling or spilling food. This is my Olympics, people! And it's another reason why I hate the holiday season...it's extremely social. While I am extremely antisocial with a side of social anxiety.
During the bustling holiday festivities, you'll run into almost everyone you know. Including the people you hardly know because you only see them once a year. You'll see their vaguely face and think, who the hell are you? But since you can't say that, that's when I'll introduce myself. For the 5th year in a row. Oops. Well, that was really embarrassing. Especially when someone knows things about you and your life and you don't know anything about theirs. Which would be okay if I was good at making conversation from scratch. However, I assure you, I am not! But, I can make things awkward from scratch though.
Then there are the people that you do recognize and think, wow, they've really aged! How did that happen in only a year? Then they pull out their phone to show me pictures of their grandchildren. And I step back. "Is that a boy or a girl? Can you expand that photo? No? Hold on...let me get my reading glasses from my purse." And that's when I see them. While I have my arm stretched out holding someone else's phone, with my reading glasses on...the age spots on my hands. Maybe I think I'm not aging because I can't actually see myself all that well. I've bathed myself in that flattering soft focus lens that they use on Elizabeth Taylor in that White Diamonds commercial.
Right after this is when the mismatched couple approaches. Oh, you know the one I'm talking about. That couple that you can't figure out how they ever got together in the first place because one is exceedingly more attractive, intelligent and witty than the other one. In fact, they don't seem compatible in any way. But, yet,they've been together for years. And you just want to inquire about the elephant in the room...which is the invisible bond that holds them together. What is it? While simultaneously staging an intervention. Have you considered a trial separation? Which is probably what people think about my husband (the life of the party) and me (the party pooper). Why is he with her? He's so laid back and she's so pretentious!
Then there's the person you know stuff about. That you don't even want to know. But, someone you barely know told you a secret about them years ago and now every year when you see this person at that annual party, it's all you can think about. And the whole night I'm thinking, whatever you do, do NOT blurt out their secret! Or talk about any topic in any way related to it. Which of course, then is all I can think about. (This party is coming up for me in a couple weeks and since I'm writing this, I've already started thinking about what not to say. But, I still have no idea what TO say to this person because I don't really know them, although I do know some very personal things about them.)
Thank god the holidays only happen once a year!