Last night I left the house - and not only did I leave the house, but I left behind 'Salina and V and set off unescorted all the way to the local pub.
Oh yes, big party animal that I am, I met with all the other tuckshop volunteers for a wild girl's night out.
Big party animal that I am, I drove - because I figured that even if I got smashed
I was also fairly secure in the knowledge that however exhilerating the company I wouldn't get too plastered, because these days I just don't do plastered.
I never was much of a plasterer anyhow - whenever that status was achieved it was very messy and painful - and I derive greater pleasure from good company and conversation than I do from feeling out of control.
My body assists me in the pursuit of non-plastered status also, as it has a habit of bringing forth the hangover before the plastering is fully achieved, so it is not a goal on my horizon.
Anyway, I toodled down the road to the local to meet with the tuckshop ladies.
I did imbibe - I discovered that it takes 2 hours to imbibe 2 tall vodka, lime and sodas, and the effect of it is quite enough for me.
I also ate - yes indeed, food not cooked at home, a novelty indeed.
A novelty in a "gee, its okay but I would have left the sauce more chunky to bring out the full character of the olives, capers and anchovies a little more rather than give the impression that tomato is what you were ordering, why do they garnish with an indifferent triple-curled parsley clump rather than put an effort into the whole presentation and use a little creativity (like maybe an olive, a caper an anchovy - and heck, continental parsley), why do chips have to come with everything and take up so much of the real estate on the plate, do you call that a salad bar and what else could I have spent that $20 on" sort of way.
Yes, shut up, internal Gordon Ramsay. (The internal food critic - I don't have any other internal GR leanings - well, okay, I probably swear more inside too. But that is it.)
The conversation did range considerably, especially considering our posse was made up of the quiet achiever neighbour of the convenor (handy for functions and cleaning), a couple of raucous party girls (who fire up the tuckshop every second Wednesday), the convenor and me.
Apparently the common denominators for such a fivesome to connect in terms of conversation starts with parenting, children, children hitting puberty, how we hit puberty, how our parent
We were given gifts by the convenor. Considering the complete lack of fiscal support by the P & C for such a gathering, her choices of gift were token but very well thought and meaningful. I got a jumbo pack of lifesavers and angel earrings.
It was then decided to go into the public bar where the pool tables were for a game. Where the two pool tables were. Where the two pool tables were - one with skinny, ever-so-slightly post-pubescent youths gathered and impressing each other, the other with skinny, time-, sun- and spirit-cured regulars.
We put a coin on each table and waited patiently for our turn.
It was impossible to get a drink, as the two behind the bar were busy handling the TAB.
It didn't smell like the pubs of my youth - instead of the reek of stale beer and cigarette smoke, there was a lone reek of stale beer. I wonder if they banned beer from pubs would they at last smell tolerable?
It was impossible to chat, as there was some loud noise which I would like to call music pumping - but it was so loud that I actually came away with no discernible impression other than "noise".
The only way to converse was to stand lips to ears of the person you were talking to and say your bit, then it would be repeated back in the reverse position to verify, then the whole dance would be reversed and we would purse our lips and nod in complete accord. Or, if not in complete accord, the decision would have to be made whether to pretend accord or try the whole round again to give a different view.
The table with the more weathered players apparently cleared - but another had put a coin on before our claim and so it was bare and alone.
After a very long ten minutes, we gee'ed each other up to be brave enough to enquire the status of the table. After all, we all have extensive experience in getting swathes of children to stand in one line and say please and thank you - how tough could it be?
The bravest of our number went to the table and asked the nearest character. Quite vehemently she was told that it was impossible for us to fit in a game while they waited for their friends to return from the smoker's balcony. Oooo-kay.
It appears my tolerance level for such behaviour is below my tolerance for children behaving rudely and pushing and shoving for poll position - but rather than shrill at them I contemplated my lot.
I could stay in the bar and wait for a table and wait for a drink and try to have a good time - or I could mosey on home to my beloved and have a conversation at normal pitch on any subject chosen with my best friend where I was guaranteed to enjoy myself, the company and maybe even a wine or two left over from the wedding.
Hmmm - tough decision there.
Ah yes, the last of the party animals, that is me.
Am I old?
And is that really such a bad thing?
I did have a great time, despite my jaded description. But man, I am so out of practice and wonder if it is worth my investing in practice when, quite frankly, I have always been one who associates loud music with dancing and all other social engagements with food, conversation and comfort.
Yes, I am old. I prefer to call it "grown up".