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At the Belly Up Tavern I overheard some girls talking about a Memorial Day party. I asked them if I could go. Two of them looked at me as if I was crazy, but one smiled and said, "Sure. It's at my place...near the stadium." She asked for my e-mail address so she could send me an e-vite. I thought I might be blown off, so I told her I would write about her party for the Reader. Turned out Meryl worked at the Belly Up, and they had a stack of Readers by the door. A party match made in heaven. Meryl's e-vite requested that I bring what I wanted to drink and whatever I wanted to cook on the grill. I was reminded of a comedian who does a routine about invitations such as this: "...next, they'll tell you to bring your own booze, meat, two side dishes, a dessert, and some wood and tools, so you can help build a deck on which the party will take place."

My friend Bonnie was driving when she called Meryl to get more detailed directions. Meryl had given us directions as if we were coming from the 163, though we told her we were taking I-15. At least she met us at the gate to let us into her complex.

The pool area was the perfect setup for a party. There was a spa on one side and two grills on the other side. One guy was serving hamburgers, and a woman was complaining she couldn't find any condiments. Bonnie had insisted on us bringing two cases of beer. Her husband showed up later, but he only drank a few. I'm not a beer lover, so I brought Mike's Hard Crisp Apple drinks. One friend said, "You got more of your girlie drinks, huh?" A woman grabbed one from me and said, "It smells like Jolly Ranchers." I told her it tasted like 25 of those candies put in a blender with vodka. A guy named Gary said, "Those caps are so convenient to twist off. They're like the greatest thing since sliced bread." I asked him what he thought people said before bread came sliced. He smiled and said, "That's the best thing since ripped bread."

I commented on how cool it would be to live in these apartments and be able to walk to a Padres game. Someone said, "The Padres don't play at the stadium anymore. They could walk to Charger games, though, or those used-car tent sales."

Beth came over and was apologizing for having the wrong date written on the e-vite. She said, "If people couldn't figure it out, since it said 'Memorial Day,' then they're idiots we don't want here." Later, while swimming in the pool, someone commented on all the drinking and partying on Memorial Day, and how maybe it's not the best way to pay tribute to fallen soldiers. As I went to grab a burger off the grill, everyone in the pool started singing "God Bless the USA." When they finished that tune, they continued with old patriot songs.

The woman who had been looking for condiments was now looking for utensils. She said, "Well, this will be the first time I eat chicken with a spoon."

Everyone was going over to the spa, so I joined them. I learned two things: check your pockets first, so your wallet doesn't get soaked as you get in, and if little kids are standing by, they will jump in and splash, so keep your camera and cell phone covered or away from that area.

There were teenagers in the spa. One looked amusing in her big Jackie O sunglasses.

Bonnie told me later, "I don't like going into Jacuzzis when there are little kids. You know they're peeing in there." Someone else said, "And possible fecal matter."

A woman who was swimming had her daughter fetching beers for her. She looked at me and said, "She's my little enabler." She told me her husband was at home working on their bathroom. I said, "That doesn't seem fair. You get to go out and party while he stays home and does repairs." She laughed and said, "Hey, it's his family that's coming over to visit later."

She later tried serving a bean dish she made. Nobody was taking any, and she said, "That was going to be my ingenious plot to take over the world while everyone was suffering from gastritis."

One guy got drunk and passed out in a chair with a cigarette in his hand. When he woke up, he took a puff from it like nothing had happened. He walked over to the pie and joked about putting a body part in it. His girlfriend was struggling to hold onto his bathing suit as he tried taking it off. Later, when he stumbled over to the dessert table, we watched him. We didn't want a piece of pie that had been molested. He put his hand in it and dug himself out a slice.

Games were played at two of the tables. I joined the Scattegories table. The rules were explained, and I promptly screwed up. A letter of the alphabet was picked, and players had a series of questions in which the answer has to start with that letter. I thought it was the first question that needed to be answered. An argument ensued, but then the woman who wanted me disqualified said "stereo" when the question was "car part that started with the letter s." It was my turn to give her crap.

When the games were finished, Meryl told us, "The party is at my place, but Beth had to bring all the friends. I don't have any." Meryl did have her boyfriend there briefly, but he had to leave to pick up a computer. Everyone called him a computer geek as he left, throwing Star Trek phrases at him. I had wanted to talk to him more about his radio show on KSDS 88.3, a jazz station. Meryl said, "Just write that the hostess was a curvy little vixen."

Two guys started throwing a Nerf football around. Even though it was crowded, nobody got hit from a bad throw, though the ball did fly over the fence a few times. As a guy named Randy was leaving the party, somebody threw him a pass that he had to dive into the pool to catch. He lost his sunglasses, but I think he was smart enough to take the wallet out of his back pocket.

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.

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