I covered a hundred miles driving to three different parties on one recent Saturday.
The first party was up in Murrieta. I would’ve blown it off, but it was for an old high school friend named Steve.
It was great seeing some guys I hadn’t seen since high school. One owns a book-publishing company, and we all pitched our book ideas to him. Another is a cop, and we made fun of him being colorblind. We said things like “I’m chasing a red Buick. Uh, wait. It might be yellow.”
After chowing down on steak and chicken, I went south for the next couple of parties. The second one was in San Carlos. The theme was “CEOs and Office Hos.” I put on the tie that I’d brought with me.
I find it odd that some women dress minimally on Halloween; instead of wearing a scary costume, they just want to show skin. Yet, the women at this party surprised me: more of them were dressed as CEOs.
Gerald laughed when I told him this. He said, “Yeah. I think a lot of the guys were bummed that so many went the CEO route.”
I was talking to a few guys in suits, and a woman with a drink in her hand said, “What is this? Is there a board meeting going on here?” I said, “With me, it’s always a Board meeting.” The joke didn’t work with a crowd that didn’t know my last name.
Another woman said, “These guys look important. But you know in real life they’re probably not.” A few of us laughed at that. A few others seemed hurt.
Karaoke was started in one room, and I heard someone humming along to “My Sharona.” They weren’t singing so much.
I went outside and lit up a cigar. A drunk woman stumbled into me. She had hardly anything on. I said, “Let me guess…a CEO?” She then fell into a table that crashed down on the back patio. A few people ran over to make sure she was all right. She said, “Yes, I’m a little drunk. I’m looking for my purse.”
I could hear someone trying to sing an Eminem rap inside.
The fallen woman got back to her feet, and I noticed she had a bit of blood trickling down her cheek. She said, “Oh, shit! You’re that writer. Don’t say my name if you write about this.”
I walked back in and a woman with a leopard-skin jacket walked by to grab some food. She had a $100 bill dangling from her pocket.
I noticed a table was set up with name tags. Gerald had written dirty-sounding names on some of them. Other people were creating their own.
One guy told a story about his bank account being wiped out by theft. He was mad that a bank manager he had known for a long time wanted to do an investigation. Somebody nearby said, “That makes sense. Sometimes people have their friends wear a hoodie and sunglasses and rob them while they’re at the ATM. They plan it all out so the cameras catch them being robbed. Sometimes it’s when they are taking a business’s deposit to the bank. It’s a fairly common scam.”
I headed to my last party in National City. I took the tie and blazer off but kept the cheesy Hawaiian shirt on, as it was a luau for a woman turning 40. It wasn’t in the best neighborhood. As I parked, I noticed a woman sitting in her car that was parked the wrong way. She looked strung out. As I got out, I noticed a condom in the gutter. I also noticed I still had the name tag on. I peeled it off.
As I approached, I saw the party hosts had rented a Port-A-Potty. I heard a woman say, “I have to pee so bad, but I don’t want to use this thing.”
I overheard another person ask how old Lisa would be. The response from another lady was “She’s 25 again. Come on. You know you aren’t supposed to ask a woman’s age. Even if it is a birthday party.”
I walked up to a group of guys talking about things they’ve done to impress women. One said he put roses in the Jacuzzi. He said, “It looked nice, and the girls we invited over liked it. But my friend’s dad wasn’t happy when the water pump got jammed with rose pedals.”
There were more than 300 people in the backyard. I heard that I missed a few of the punk bands playing. I was surprised the neighbors never called the cops because the houses were in such close proximity and they didn’t have fences.
One person told me their son was the bass player in the Atoms, a local band. I had heard of them but wasn’t familiar with their stuff. I wasn’t able to respond with anything more than “That’s cool.”
One guy was shoveling something on the side of the house and he saw me taking photos of women who were sipping drinks with umbrellas. He said, “Why not get a photo of the guys working?” I laughed and looked around. It did seem like a lot of guys were working. One was slaving over the barbecue. Another guy was stringing up decorative lights. One guy was acting as the photographer for the evening. I was told he was also a Navy SEAL, and he just laughed. I wasn’t sure if it was true. He didn’t appear that imposing.
I asked the cook how he got stuck with the job. He said, “I’m a chef at a local hotel.” He pointed to his cap, which had his name on it. I asked, “Why not one of those big white chef hats?” He said, “Nobody wears those unless it’s in a movie. Those are shit.”
I saw a few guys passing a joint around. They offered me a hit, and I declined.
I went and grabbed a Coke and noticed about ten kids playing football, which I thought would’ve been better if there was more grass. The yards were mostly dirt. Grass is more comfortable to be tackled on.
People kept coming over and offering me food. I told them I’d eaten at two previous parties. I did grab a piece of cake.
It was dark when I walked back to my car. For some reason, the neighborhood looked safer…maybe because I couldn’t see all the things that struck me as odd in the daylight.