Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Worst. Party. Ever.

In the inimitable words of Comic Book Guy . . . .

I attended the Worst. Party. Ever. this past weekend.

First, some backstory. Longtime readers may recall that I have a circle of friends, some inherited from my husband, and some that I added to the mix after meeting the ringleader of a huge pack of brilliant dorks during one of my contracting engagements. The latter belong to a circle that could only be described as "eccentric". Other names also fit the bill:

Socially Inept

Now, granted, Atlanta has more than its fair share of Nerdlingers - I blame Tech. They flock here, Texas Instruments calculators and NHS medals in tow. Once graduated, many of them settle uncomfortably among us "regular" folk to begin a life bereft of social interaction and chock-full of dorky, geeky pursuits like gaming conventions, ToysRUs stalking and anime porn collecting. But every once in a blue moon, one attempts to scale the cravasse, to make a connection, to be . . . . social.

So it was that I received an email from one of my Nerdlinger friends last week. It was brief, and appeared to be both to and from him (he had put all of his attendees in the bcc: field to protect their anonymity, I guess. He is a real stickler for privacy issues, which is funny, because there is no one else on earth with less to shield from prying eyes than this guy.) The gist of the message is that he was throwing a housewarming party for himself and his two new roomates who had recently all moved into a 3 bedroom apartment together. I won't even go into the ridiculousness of 3 grown, nearly 30 year old men sharing a 3 bedroom apartment when each on his own earns enough to support a family, yet they always appear 2 steps from poverty and appear to get their furniture and clothing from the Goodwill while getting their computers from NASA.

Anyhoo . . . the email listed the party as beginning at 12:00 noon and lasting until "whenever". Now, I am no social butterfly, but I have had enough party invitations to make the assumption that a noon party generally means a cookout, or something like that. Maybe a patio party, or an outside thing, or at the very least, a potluck. Especially seeing that the shindig was scheduled to last until "whenever", meaning it could span from lunch to dinnnertime to late evening. Knowing that he is a teetotaler, I wasn't surprised to see that he listed the party as a "BYOB" affair, but I was kind of surprised that he said that he would supply sodas and "junk food" otherwise.

I had some reservations about this party from the get-go. Just knowing who was throwing it cast some doubt on its success, but I tried to maintain a positive attitude. In some ways, he has gotten better over the past couple of years. He drives a very sporty little car, he seems interested in "finding a girl", he can carry on a pleasant coversation, he is (of course) brilliant, has admirable morals, earns great money, is responsible, blah blah blah. Unfortunately, all of that is trumped by him being a monumental dork.

I had to admit that his social skills HAD improved a bit over the past couple of years, mostly due to his exposure to my husband and his friends, who have taken the lad and his ilk under their collective wing and attempted to introduce things like sports, social outings, and a one-time trip to a "shoe show" in the hopes of sanding the sharp edges off of their acute dorkdom.

He mentioned that he had invited better than 50 people, and that he anticipated that it would be a "blowout". I had high hopes that it would be a fun afternoon/evening, and despite his invitation, I planned to make something to add to the party table to show my support.

My optimism was smashed to smithereens when we arrived at the apartment. We didn't get there until 6:00 pm (babysitter issues) and the party was, supposedly, in swing for several hours by then. We arrived to a quiet, dark apartment. There were LITERALLY no lights on in the apartment, save the stark flourescent in the kitchen. There were a handful of awkward guests perched on second-hand chairs, no music, no conversation, and oh yeah, no LIGHTS and when we entered the scene with a couple of trays of Buffalo Chicken Dip, the small crowd attacked like a pack of lions on the Sahara.

As the ravenous guests filled their plates with dip, chips and celery, thanking me profusely for showing up and bringing food, I noticed in the darkness that there was one . . . ONE . . glass bowl on a table. It was filled with a strange mixture of children's cold cereal. Fruit Loops, Trix, Honeycomb, and some other crappy stuff. This was the extent of the food at the party.

I shit you not.

Adding insult to injury, there were some off-brand sodas - warm. No ice. No plastic cups.

A couple of my husband's friends were there - one was sleeping in the corner. This was their second stop of the day - the first had been to the Chili Cookoff at Stone Mountain Park, so the beer and chili quotient dulled their perceptions to the point that they really didn't notice the lack of ambiance, or food, or drink, or fun. The other guests were not so lucky. I noticed that 4 or 5 of the guests were a bit older than I was, which baffled me. Turns out that my friend had extended the invitation to several people at his new workplace that evidently had NO IDEA what they were getting into. Bad enough that this fiasco was being visited upon his friends, but his COWORKERS! I just shook my head.

I circled the apartment, opening blinds, switching on lights, and it was then that I noticed that there was a very nice covered patio outside, with room enough for several people, overlooking a nice wooded area. This would have been the perfect place for a tub of ice for the beer and drinks, but as it was, it was dusty and forlorn, probably never even treaded upon since the geeks moved in the place the month before.

Speaking of the geeks that inhabited the place . . . one of them had just left altogether when people started to arrive, and another was hiding in his room, headphones on, not participating in any way, except once when he had to exit his room to go to the bathroom. He paused long enough to enter the livingroom, turn 360 degrees, offering each person there the hairy eyeball, and, grumbling, returning to his room with the slamming of his bedroom door. My friend seemed absolutely oblivious to this and everything else disastrous that was transpiring.

We lasted about 2 hours, then we left for greener pastures. We ended up going to Summits Tavern for burgers, trivia, and long talks about the viability of this guy ever, ever having a normal existence. After gathering up our courage, we swung back over to the party to drop off our friends at their cars and say goodnight to the host. By this time, Roommate #3 (the one that had run away) had shown up on the scene with a guy and 2 girls from his LARP (Live Action Role Play) group. All were dressed up in their little costumes or whatever the hell you call the outfits that grown men and women wear when they are pretending to be elves, fairies, ogres, etc. (Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!) Wordlessly, the four skulked back to his bedroom together, and when the unmistakable sound of ripping velcro echoed through the apartment, we hastily made our exit.

Worst. Party. Ever.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
1 12 oz. bottle of hot sauce (Frank's or Texas Pete or your favorite)
2 (8 oz.) cubes cream cheese
1 16 oz. bottle of blue cheese OR ranch salad dressing
8 ozs. shredded sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack or a combination

Preheat oven to 350.
Boil chicken in water until cooked through (about 15 minutes). Drain and shred chicken with two forks.
In a 13x9 inch pan, combine shredded chicken with hot sauce, spread to form an even layer.
Combine cream cheese and dressing in a saucepan, heat over medium heat, stirring until cream cheese is smooth and incorporated.
Pour mixture evenly over chicken, spreading to the edges of the pan.
Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top, bake an additional 10 minutes.

Serve with celery sticks or corn chips.

Per 1/4 cup serving:
Calories: Don't ask
Fat: uhhhh, nevermind

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