Sunday, December 9, 2007

All I want for Christmas is my dignity

Last night, we attended a Christmas gathering for the leadership of our church plant. Now first, understand that my idea of a party is to find a lovely spot at a table and wait for people interested in talking to me to wander their way over. This isn't an egocentric thing, really. In fact, it's quite the opposite: I just can't fathom that folks want me sidling up alongside their ongoing conversations and jumping in. It's a handicap, I know. But hey, I'm an otherwise happily adjusted person.

This particular party was planned out (to the minute, mind you) by one of our more Type A personalities. This woman is a wonderful, warm and funny lady, and to be honest, she was probably just trying to save us all from the extremely ADHD ramblings of our lead pastor. Picture a distracted professor type, crossed with a ghetto-ized hipster and shaken--not stirred--with a touch of hyperactivity. That's our lead pastor. If he was left to plan out a Christmas party, the nibbles would be Cheez Wiz and crackers, the background music would feature Christian rap and the party would last about ten hours.

So really, it was a good thing that this person elected herself Chief of Christmas Proceedings.

Still, it was a bit of a giggler to be handed an agenda for a Christmas party. I, for one, have never walked around palming a poinsettia-decked postcard with words like "Socialize," "Dining," "A Word from Pastor A.," etc. The saving grace here is that no boxes were provided in which to check off our participation in each event. That would have been some real pressure.

When I finally got around to making my way down the to-do list, I noticed a particularly ominous line that strikes fear into the hearts of many Public Hermits like myself:


Ack. Games.

Party games are often the stuff of nightmares for me. I am the last person to taste the baby food from the unlabeled jars at showers. I abhor ice breakers. And if you ask me to pin a little puzzle piece to my shirt, then wander around a room and try to find the person with the piece that will fit mine, well ... I'll probably take a really long bathroom break. Or feign a kidkney stone. Anything to get out of feeling like a pet poodle jumping through hoops.

Seeing as how our group consists of eight couples, there was very little chance of me not being missed during the humiliation fest--I mean, festivities. So I brooded my way through dinner with my shoulders around my ears, wondering if there was any possible way that I could will our babysitter to suddenly call us home to, I don't know, unstop a toilet or something. Thankfully, I had the distraction of our dinner conversation. We sat at a table with another couple that unschools their three sons and a couple of newly wed, starry-eyed public school teachers who are bursting at the seams with ideas about how they're going to save the world 28 children at a time. People pay premiums for entertainment like that, folks. For us, it was free.

But then it was time for the games.

We started off with one of those awful games designed to make us all look like idiots. "But we're all idiots together!" I can hear you saying. No, I was not an idiot. There was absolutely no way this side of heaven that I was blowing up a dozen thin, monstrously small mini-balloons and them shoving them into a pair of pantyhose so that I could wrest the crotch of the thing onto my forehead and walk around looking like a demented reindeer.

Thanks, but no thanks.

My lack of enthusiasm was noted. Thankfully, dh knows how strong my gag reflex is when confronted with this kind of thing, so he stole the limelight by letting everyone know that he prefers his women without antlers. Ha. Ha. Ha. Everyone laughed so loudly you would have thought that someone had spiked the punch. Being good Baptists, I can assure you that no one, unfortunately, had.

Braced for yet another trip down stupid lane, I joined the group as Type A explained the next game. This one, she said, was a quiz. A written quiz, testing our knowledge of all things Christmas. Being someone who has always tested extremely well, I saw my opportunity to save face. Dh and I filled out our multiple choice worksheet in just a few minutes, while everyone else was probably still trying to clear the spots of of their eyes from all that balloon blowing.

Here's where I have to admit: homeschooling pays off, y'all.

On a 20 questions quiz, I knew eight answers that stumped my nowhere-near-ignorant husband. Why? Because they were all things I have taught to my children at one point or another. Dh was pretty amused that I knew the year that electric Christmas lights were first used, but he's used to me spouting various useless trivia bits. When we got down to things like being able to trace the origins of specific Christmas tunes, he was downright impressed.

Sure enough, we won that particular game--and a grudging bit of respect from our lead pastor (who was still wearing his pantyhose antlers). He's always been quietly anti-homeschooling, so when I told him that the only way I knew some of those things was through providing an education for my children, he gave me a raised eyebrow. Maybe a seed of respect was planted. Who knows?

Dh and I won the next game, too--but only because it, too, did not require me to hum "Silent Night" with rum balls in my mouth or build a creche out of only the items I could find on the moon. It happened to be one of those "Twisted Song Titles" games, where you have to be able to tweak "Jingle Bells" out of "rapidly gesticulating half-orbs comprised of whitish metal." Dh and I are both writers, people. Vocabulary games are our thing.

But no worries. We lost the next game horribly, mostly since I refused to play. Even on a two-win high, there was absolutely no way that I was racing around to different stations with a big bell on my head.

If homeschooling has taught me anything, it's to know my limitations. And when it comes to party games, I'm very limited.


dawn klinge said...

What a funny story. I've been to these kinds of parties- your descriptions were so vivid and funny. I don't like party games either- especially not "icebreakers".

Sarah at SmallWorld said...

Hilarious and wonderful! I added you to my google reader after learning of your blog through the HSB Awards, and I'm glad I did! Your story is funny but with a nice punch. Now that I read your profile, I think that your having a child named "Atticus" solidified my vote for you. ;-)

Unknown said...

Oh, MG!! If I *only* had a SL smiley to *insert here* . . .you know the one: ROTFL!!!

"Public Hermit" became the cresendo by which I began my delirium decline into tears rolling down my face.

You see, thankfully, for YOUR benefit, I'm married to an introvert. He's taught me alot about Introverts Worldwide. Yes, while there may be uniquenesses to the individual, as a collective whole, y'all operate in like fashion.

And I appreciate that. I respect it. Heck, I'll even give you room to hide under the table if you'd like.

*sigh* and alas . . .me? I'd be wearing the reindeer antlers ~ and out of my admiration for all things introverted, steering my way to the side of the room where folks can handle that sort of thing.


Bravo! On making it through. Denying self. And saving face. One Christmas trivia tidbit at a time.

Pam Barnhill said...

Always enjoy your posts, (I lurk here) but this one had me giggling, snickering, AND chuckling. Merry Christmas!

deb said...

Ah. I hate party games to. They make me feel uncomfortable. Plus I really, really, really, really hate being the center of attention.