I was caught off guard by the situation. “I’ll wear a tie, tuck my shirt in, I’ll iron that shirt, heck- I’ll even bust out the starch. I will not put on a pair of dress pants for this.”
She glared at me. “Jake- are you a twelve year-old, or are you in your late twenties? Sometimes, I forget which.”
“I’ve been telling you for years that I’m still a child. This should not surprise you.”
“You’re an idiot. We’re fighting over pants. If you wear jeans, you’ll stand out and feel awkward.”
“I am awkward.”
“I’m going home. Pick me up at a quarter to six. Look nice, or you’re dead.”
She wasn’t really that mad at me. She was fighting a smile as she skipped out the door. The two of us were going to a party. Normally, I don’t mind social events, because I’m a youngest child and therefore also an attention sponge, but this was different. It was formal. Her uncle was doing something I couldn’t quite understand. Maybe he was announcing that he was running for some office. Regardless, her wonderful aunt Martha was throwing a formal dinner party and expected us to be there because the place would need some younger faces.
I pulled up in front of the house, parked and hopped out of my car. I walked funny all the way up to the front door and raised my hand to knock. “Good, you’re early. And don’t you look nice, but why the crap did you walk like that? What’s wrong with you? Come on, we should go.” I didn’t say a word. I spun and made my way back, listening, the whole way.
The party would have been a bore, but her aunt was frantic when we arrived. She was short some table cloths and centerpieces, the music was all wrong, and she had a headache. “I’ve worked too hard for this to fall apart now. You two- Go talk to people. Be pleasant and young.” The woman waved us frantically past the entrance into a room full of geriatrics.
We didn’t even bother looking for familiar faces. There would be none, other than her uncle and aunt, who would be too busy for us. Instead, we looked for interesting, even weird people. This was almost as pointless as a search for acquaintances.
We talked about school and what little we knew of politics with one old couple. The next carried on a conversation about their Pomeranians- they had six of them, all of which were preferable to their three grandchildren. After that, I joined a group of good old boys who laughed about things I was too young to understand and she got dragged around by some antiquated being who thought she was the cutest thing ever and believed that all of her friends needed to meet her.
By the time we met up again, I asked if we were free to leave. “No. I wish. This party sucks.” We laughed together at this, then were separated again, sent out to please humans we didn’t know.