Sunday, August 07, 2016

The Afterparty

I never thought it could happen to me.

Center stage. Limelight. Crowds of adoring fans.

I had barely done anything. Just sent an email with our home address and instructions to bring some kind of food item to share, and to remember to bring their bathing suits and towels.

And yet, there I was, standing in the driving rain, balancing in my left arm every single vegetable platter the local grocery store had assembled that day, and smiling like a fool as thirty-seven-thousand pint-sized community thespians took turns pushing each other into our backyard pool.

Did I mention the screaming? From apoplectic to blood curdling, each guest was a star performer.

Not for a single moment did I even consider how literal this “cast party” could get, although I did move the platters of potluck away from a mossy-deck to a place with a little more traction. Just in case.

Cool as a cucumber. That was me. Greeting folks as they arrived, directing them to various corners of the house where they could change into swimwear or grab something to eat.

My husband, on the other hand, was starting to question my sanity.

For days he'd kept asking the same things over and over.

Q. “How many kids are in this play?”
A. Thirty-four.

Q. Are they ALL coming?
A. I'm guessing they are all coming and that some will probably bring siblings.

Q. So … How DID we pull the short straw?”
A. We volunteered.

Q. And how does that work, exactly?
A. You raise your hand before you think it all through.

The questions kept bubbling to the surface, even as he kept one eye on the pool and five white-knuckles on the burger flipper, he could not fathom what was happening around him.

Q. And you raised your hand?
A. Technically, it was your daughter who raised her hand.

Q. But you said OK, and now I'm cooking?
A. Yes. It seems that way.

Q. When does this party end?
A. When all the food has been eaten, or when it starts to thunder, whichever comes first.

Q. Is there an app for that?
A. I'm sure there is … but the internet is on the fritz again.
I felt a little sorry for him. The deer in the headlights look is about as far from his natural expression a wide, easy smile is from mine.

And yet our daughter seemed to blend right in; a new animal that had encroached onto our territory. A natural socialite with chameleon-like flexibility and whip-smart perception.

The party was over soon enough. Most of the food had been consumed, and dusk had fallen. And I was surprised by so many Thank Yous, as well as how many plates had made it to the trash without any assistance on my part.

There wasn't much left to clean up.

My husband even admitted the threat level didn't match his anxiety level. And he only had to use his “Big Voice” once.

“I bet most guests thought it was improv.”

“That would explain all the screaming.”

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