I met Larry, a teacher, at parties I had crashed. When he invited me to a party that he was hosting, I was eager to attend. Larry's party was early in the evening. I'd be able to hit another party afterward, but I didn't tell him that when I snuck out after an hour. I met one of Larry's former students, a teacher from New York, and a Latina named Diana who was there with her boyfriend. When I asked Diana's boyfriend how they met, his eyes lit up. He spoke about seeing her across the room and knowing he had to talk to her. After the story about their courtship, the conversation turned to golf. I don't know much about the sport and don't care to learn -- I moved on.

I met a woman who runs a film festival in Imperial Beach. We talked about old movies, comedies in particular. I felt guilty that my cell phone kept ringing during our conversation and turned it off.

When she brought up Lucille Ball, I told her that Jerry Lewis once said in an interview that he didn't think women should be doing comedy, that he's never thought a woman was funny. We talked about Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin, and Rita Rudner. We agreed that Jerry Lewis never made us laugh. Someone overheard this and asked me how I couldn't like his movies. I said, " King of Comedy was great. I also liked Funny Bones .... But all that lame physical humor from his early films does nothing for me." He replied, "Next you're going to tell me you don't like the Three Stooges." I said, "Yep. Don't like them either." I grabbed a few baby carrots and headed out.

* * * It's hard to rally for a party in Alpine, but my friend Randy was going, so at least I'd know one person there. I was told that if Randy drank too much, I was driving him home. I was made the designated driver for Randy and his wife without a vote. The roads were pitch black when we pulled off the freeway, but we found the party. You could hear the band playing from down the street. They were called Ignition. They played heavy metal songs, which wouldn't be my choice for a party, but they did pick popular covers -- "I Can't Explain," "Rock Bottom," Hendrix, Creedence. When they started to play the intro to "Mississippi Queen," I couldn't help but yell out, "More cowbell!"

One guy in his early 20s laughed, and we started talking about music. I had heard him telling a woman what to do so she wouldn't get a hangover. I said, "You know a lot about drinking for someone so young. That's weird." Weirder yet, his mother was at the party. Someone asked him, "What do you do if you want to pick up on hot chicks?" He said, "My mom is cool about stuff like that." Just then she walked by, heading to the food table. Just to mess with him, I pointed to his mom and said, "Your mom is a hot-looking chick!" She overheard me, laughed, and told me how flattered she was.

The band's setup had the drummer playing inside a garage in the back yard in an attempt to keep the noise contained. The drummer's wife brought him drinks and gave him a kiss between sets.

I was talking to a guy who was around six foot seven. I said, "You are the third tall guy I've seen here. I haven't seen a single short person. Even the women." He told me he never played basketball. He talked about his work and then his ex-wife, a story that didn't make sense. I couldn't figure out if they were getting back together or if they were on good terms. He offered me a drink, and I told him I was the designated driver. He said, "That's a shame. Did you see all the alcohol here?" There was a variety -- two tables filled with bottles and a small table with virgin Jell-O shots for the kids.

I told Randy that I was going to have one margarita. He walked with me to the blender and after struggling to get the glass container unattached, as he was pouring me my drink, the bottom fell off. Margarita ran up my arm. "That's a sign -- as the designated driver, I should refrain." I drank a Coke.

I grabbed food and sat in the living room of this huge house. There were a couple of guys talking about work and a woman talking about her children, who were running around the house. She kept telling them to stop, but the husband said it was okay.

One guy was fiddling with an electronic device, and I asked him what it was. "It's a Nano. I got it for my birthday. It's the size of a credit card, and I can hold a thousand songs in it." (Some day I'll tell my grandchildren, "In my day, it was a Walkman. And it only held enough songs to fill a 60-minute tape!")

One couple was talking about snowboarding, trying to explain to someone the differences from skiing.

I overheard a woman say that she was a surrogate mother for her sister. The woman she was telling this to had mentioned that she was trying to have kids. The conversation made me feel uncomfortable. I walked outside to catch Ignition's set.

Teenagers sat along the wall, trying to look cool. Older folks sat in chairs, and they seemed to be enjoying the rock music. Randy didn't appear to be buzzed, but we agreed it would be best if I drove. He didn't say a word when I took his Mustang up to 90 on the way home.

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

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