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About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Monday, March 30, 2009

When I got home I found dinner rolls in my pockets

I hate small talk. I hate making it. I hate listening to it. I hate nodding.

But there I was yesterday at Amye’s bridal shower, stuck at a table with aunts and cousins I'd never met. We were the low men on the totem pole (we were sitting under the coat rack) and no one was talking. Not one person. We were a collection of the most stubborn—or socially awkward people—ever.

Having psychically intuited the sucky table thing, I had shot-gunned a beer in the parking lot (thank you, Chuck, for leaving that 6-pack from your camping trip in the trunk). The beer, along with the large glass of wine I slammed upon sitting down, made me uncharacteristically friendly. In honor of my socially adept husband, I said, “Hi, I’m Mrs. Mullet. I am a friend of Amye’s. How do you all know Amye?”

Then I smiled real big. I had given up an entire day with Junior to go to the stupid shower, and I was not going to sit there in uncomfortable silence. I was going to make friends, dammit.

We went around the table like a bunch of kindergartners and when we were done, it sounded like this:

So I kept firing. What did everyone do? Wasn’t Amye going to be a beautiful bride? Wasn’t the salad delicious? Did anyone else’s ass hurt from the chair? Was anyone at the table actually alive?


I bet you didn’t know it, but similar to grieving, there are steps to the I’m-in-bridal-shower-table-hell. They go like this:

1) Denial
I clung to the naïve hope that my table would improve. I also tried to ignore the facial pain that came from smiling at nothing.

2) Acceptance
I finally accepted that my table would always suck.

3) Acclimation
I maintained my wine intake. Then I said pedestrian things like, “I think it’s raining” just to hear something other than Amye’s future mother-in-law shout, “Rick-yyyyyy loves his Am-yeeeeee.”

4) Anger and belligerence
I began an internal dialogue mocking people. I found my internal commentary hilarious. I laughed out loud.

5) Pain
I realized the room was spinning.

6) Reliance on friends
I excused myself to the parking lot to drunk dial my enchilada cousin, Lauren. I professed my love when she offered to bring me to her house to sober up.

7) Revisit grief before moving on
I went back inside to say good-bye. I tripped over people at my sucky table as I tried to get my coat off the coat rack, accidentally pulling hair and elbowing breasts. When no one protested, I realized I was, in fact, sitting with zombies (that’s for you, Keely).

So yes, um, even though I had a pounding headache at 3 p.m. because of all the sulfites in the cheap boxed wine, I had a lovely heart-to-heart with Lauren.

Turns out she didn’t want to get her tubes tied after seeing Junior. It was all a big misunderstanding. We laughed. We cried. We ate cold nachos. I could have done without the nail that sliced into my foot as I walked through her house, which she’s in the middle of gutting, but you know what? At least I wasn’t at that table. Although I did miss the look on Amye’s face as she opened her present. No, it wasn’t my vagina. It was a chenille throw and candle set from Restoration Hardware. I do have some class, youse knows.


Keely said...

Yes, thanks, thanks for that. I hate small talk with a passion too; I imagine if you and I ever met it would be, "Want a beer?" "Sure"...and then comfortable silence.

(Either that, or we'd have conversations about the people who live in our computers).

I'm glad you didn't give away your vagina. Call me a packrat, but I'm sure you'll find a use for it yet.

Julia said...

Baby showers and wedding showers have to be the most uncomfortable events I ever am obligated to go to... I would gladly go to the dentist, clean baby diapers or maybe even go for my annual exam in lie of attendance...

Suzi said...

Yeah, aren't they fun? Especially when you are in a room full of unknown's. I get to attend a baby shower in a few weeks........oh the joy!

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

That was priceless, esp. the video. I'm peeing my pants laughing here.

And thanks for the heads up. I'm going to a baby shower this Sat...I can hardly wait.

FoN said...

Did you have to play any games? I'm convinced that hell is really a shower full of old people and lame party games.

Mary Anna said...

I meet guests at the door and hand them a drink to prevent these same instances. Works in all situations!

Ann's Rants said...

I found you at humorbloggersdotcom. Great post!

Joanie M said...

I just now realized, while reading this post that I am now the older Aunt at the wedding/baby showers! Oh yuck!

Seeker said...

OH, AM I WITH YOU ONE THIS ONE... i will do anything to get out of going. i really despise them... and the stupid word they are the worst. baby showers, wedding showers, tupperware and watkins parties...etc. all of them STINK...and i am a social creature...

mo.stoneskin said...

I have been in similarly awkward situations more often than I haven't. The funny thing is, as you try to drive forward the whole conversation you feel like some sort of leader, all eyes are on you and, well, it's not at all enjoyable.

So were you driving home?!?!

Frogs in my formula said...

There were no games, just a lot of opening presents. A LOT.

mo.stoneskin: No worries, I stayed at Lauren's until I was good enough to drive then she drove me back to the shower so I could get in my car and head back to Mulletville.

Lindy said...

#4 - live there. My internal conversations are always better than the spoken word that a problem? :)

Rachel said...

As usual, I am laughing at your misfortune.

I despise small talk, as well. I feel the urge, in situations like these, to either sit silently like a wallflower, or to divulge way too much information to the people unlucky enough to be assigned to my table. I mean, really WAY too much information. Like sexual stuff.

Here's a tip: Next time, take a date. Call at the last minute and say you have a cousin in town that weekend and bring a girlfriend with you. Then you can drink and make fun of people together.

kyooty said...

You mean there was no bingo?

C.B. Jones said...

Blah, class is overrated.

Otter Thomas said...

I hate small talk too. That table sounds like torture.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

I just LOVE people who love small talk.. coz that means I don't need to do any except a 'sure' and oh really' inserted at the right places!

Very unnerving experience, I must say, but at least you made up with Lauren! :)

Leanne said...

I might just have to get married again and invite you to the shower if you're gonna give away such nice stuff.

Harmony said...

Awesome retelling. At least there was wine ;)

Jenners said...

Wow ... what a nice gift giver you are. I might just have to get married again and invite you. And this was a classic post about these things, which I DETEST (unless they are for my benefit, then I LOVE them but still want to skip the small talk).

Peggy said...

LOVED the internal dialogue...I have two awkward showers coming up and will be quick to utilize this technique! Thanks!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Ooooh...small talk with zombies is the worst evah! :)