During my first holiday season as a divorced person, I received two bits of news back to back. First, my ex called to inform me that he and Giselle would be out of town for the holidays. To me out of town is a day at the Gap Outlet, which is about 50 miles from here. To them, it is a two week ski vacation in Switzerland. Shortly after this news set in, I received an invitation to a neighbor's Christmas party. What could be sadder then attending a holiday party alone, knowing that while you are sitting on a couch balancing a glass of cabernet and a plate of mini quiches, your soon to be ex is whooshing down a mountain with a 34 year old blonde by his side? (BTW he skis? Who knew?)
The thing is I never say no to a party. Ever. I was definitely going, but I did not want to go alone. Sure I could tag along with my married friends, sitting in the back of their car, stretching my head up into the front seat so I could hear the conversation. But I had a feeling I had overstayed my welcome in their daily lives. I had shared so many family dinners with them that their young son innocently asked me "Do you still have a house?"
There was only one person who could help me with this dilemna, I had to do it. I called Doc.
I asked him if he would like to attend a holiday party with me in my neighborhood. Sure he said. I told him he could pick me up at my house.* Great, he said. Hearing his voice brought back some bad memories, to this day I cannot eat puttenesca with out alittle coming up into my mouth, but I forged ahead.
The day of the party arrived. I had arranged for him to pick me up, then we would head over to my best friend D's house for a quick drink after which, we would all head off to the party together.
As I waited for him to appear, I told myself perhaps I had judged him too harshly. Maybe he was actually kind of cute in an old man pervert kind of way. Then I reminded myself he has patients. I pictured us entering the party and introducing him, "Yes, this is my date Dr. G," and him charming my friends with tales of the E R, and answering their questions about hormonal inbalances. I would establish my new identity as a divorcee dating interesting and educated professionals. Yeah, I'm liking it.
I stood by the front door in my black cocktail dress with spaghetti straps watching for him as I did not want him approaching my front door and getting anywhere near my children, dog or even house plants. Eventually I saw lights approaching very slowly. Ugh, he even drove old. He tottered down the street with his indoor light on staring at house numbers. Gross. Finally he pulled into the driveway, where I was now standing and I pulled at the door handle several times while he fumbled for the unlock button. Once in the car, I gave him instructions on how to get to my friend's house and we were off, at a crawl, but off.
We arrive at D's and I make the introductions. Doc makes small talk with the men, while she pulls me aside and hisses, "How old did you say he was?" We stand around sipping festive cosmopolitans served in pretty martini glasses. Doc, slurps his down and says "Sure" when offered another one.
From there we head into the living room to make small talk. There is a small bowl of peanuts on the coffee table which Doc picks up, puts onto his lap and begins to consume as if this will be his last meal. I give D a dirty look as she offers him yet another cosmo and he drunkenly accepts. We all sit there talking about the weather, trying to pretend we are not seeing this: my plan of impressing my friends with an interesting, educated man is quickly going by the way side with each obscenely loud crunch of peanuts.
Finally we all head to our respective cars and form a caravan to the party which is literally around the corner. Doc is now driving at mach speed launching us into the air at each speed hump. I tell him "You better be careful with your drinking. We are not even at the party yet," "Oh that's ok,"he says, "If I can't drive I will just stay at your house." He looks over at me in that super gross leeringly way he has.
EW! NO! OMG! He cannot come into my house, it will be forever tainted. I have visions of him planting himself on my living room chair refusing to leave while I try to signal to the neighbors that I need help. Would it have been so bad to sit in the back of my friend's car with an outstretched neck? Really?
We pull up to the party and I start to get out of the car, when all of a sudden out of nowhere, the strap on my dress breaks, almost exposing one whole boob. Why, I think. Why now?
It's as if God just remembered that I stole a mood ring from Sear's in 1974 and decided I needed to be punished. Right This Minute. "Oh my God,"I say to my friend as she comes up next to me, "The strap on my dress just broke." Doc stops in his tracks, looks first at my chest, and then into my eyes and says swaying from side to side, "Well if ya didn't....if ya didn't...if ya didn't have such BIG GAZONGAS!"
Please God. Help me. This is a doctor? This is a medical professional? Does he tell his woman patients to make sure they have a yearly gazongagram? I can only imagine how he refers to a vagina. There will be absolutely no way of finding out, as my vagina has absolutely no intention of making an appearance tonight, and after this, maybe never. It may ride off into the sunset, never to be seen or heard from again.
We enter the party where Doc promptly heads to the hor duerve table. There is a lovely three tiered plate of miniature cakes right in the center. Doc takes the top plate into his hands and walks around eating them. Where can I hide? I mingle with guests and pretend he is not there.
Not long after, one of my friends comes to me and says, "Um your date is asleep." I turn to see him passed out on the couch, chin laying on his chest. A Santa hat sits atop his head and people are heaving grapes from the fruit bowl at him. It feels like it is time for me to go home. My friend Kathy offers to drive me and I cannot get out of there fast enough. As I am leaving I see the couch being hoisted in the air, and making its way to the golf course just behind the pool.
Hours later, in bed with a bowl of frosted flakes and a Project Runway marathon, my cell phone begins to ring. I ignore. It rings again. I ignore. Nitey nite. I awake in the morning to frantic dingings of my email. I log on and read "WHERE IS MY CAR?" I email back the address and shut off the computer.
Not surprisingly, there were no other neighborhood party invites forthcoming that season. I did receive one more invitation that year however, that was left on my voicemail:
"Hi Amy, I just wanted to apologize for the other night, I don't know what happened. I can usually hold my liquor, anyway, I just wanted to say sorry and oh-by the way? What are you doing for New Years?"
My gazongas and I got a big kick out of that one as we hit delete on our cell phone.
* Just want to note here that I definitely think on line dating is the way to go, however, Do Not Let Anyone Know Where You Live Until You Really Know the Person !