There was a party last night. It was a birthday party/LSAT completion party. It would be, I knew, filled to the brim with philosophy majors and English majors wearing velvet jackets and hoods (the theme was Lord of the Rings). The house would be clean underneath, for these men knew, as their mothers and fathers had known, that to throw a party is to tidy the house first. On the surface, however, at least by the time I arrived, there were empty cans and bottles strewn about. Plastic sheathes that had once held neat rows of Chips Ahoy and Oreo were empty, littered with only crumbs. There were spills, too. Splattered on Travis’ shirt and on the couch cushions. A game of Never Have I Ever was going on; wobbling twenty-somethings sat around a table holding up varying numbers of fingers. After each question, a large groan would ring out, and cups would raise to lips and fingers would be subtracted, sometimes with drunken sheepishness.
I hate parties like this, when I’m surrounded by people I know, sometimes very well, but I don’t recognize any of them. That’s the worst thing drinking does to people, I think; it turns them into strangers. There’s maybe a small bit of that person buried beneath sips of Red Dog, but when it tries to form a coherent sentence, the result is alien, although draped with an earnestness that is almost piteous.
I left after an hour, having had only about a quarter of a drink, and went home, where I read until I felt like myself again. And then I fell asleep and dreamed that a family was swimming in one of those natural spring pools out west, and suddenly looked up to find the pool surrounded by wild dogs, who were gnashing their teeth and growling.