I was invited to game night
with some average “good people.”

My friend says, “This couple is really cute when they play board games.”

I’m greeted at the apartment door by a balding man who is roughly my age or a little younger, 30 ish.

He gives me a neutral handshake, noncommittal hello, and we walk up to the apartment.

It’s the type of place that is simple in every respect, bare, no personality

but there is something there, a holiness or sacred solitude

They have cheese, wine, and grapes displayed on a cheap table

I greet the man’s wife
She gives me a genuine smile, despite her shyness.

She must be really shy, given that she has been drinking for some time
There are six or seven empty wine bottles in the corner

“Would you like a glass?” She asks.

“No thank you. I don’t drink.”

“Are you religious?” 

This always happens to me. It would be so much easier to have a drink. Everybody thinks that I am making a statement.

I have a selection of potential replies…

“I have an addictive personality. I do everything in excess” or

“I’ve got enough bad habits. I don’t need another.” or

“Drinking is unhealthy. I don’t care what they say about 4 oz. of red wine.” or

“Every man in my family is an alcoholic, except me.” 

But here is the one I chose…

“I did some underage drinking while I worked at the golf course, sampling beers from the golf carts while I washed them, but the stuff never appealed to me.”

“Have a drink of wine,” they say.

“No,” I tell them. “I don’t want to.” 

I’ve already hurt their feelings. 

“What should we play?” They ask.

“How about Secret Hitler,” my friend suggests enthusiastically, maybe a little too enthusiastically. 

When it comes to board games, I know myself.
I know that I love to suggest games where I can slowly torture my competition and I’m starting to realize I have more in common with the girl I came to game night with.

“Secret Hitler, it is,” they laugh. 

I forgot to mention the other member of our group. I went to see Jurassic Park with her and my friends.

She wore a dinosaur dress and dinosaur earrings to the movie. This can be counted in her favor, but so much of this woman is disagreeable. 

Her blonde hair is thinning on top, exposing her sun burnt head. She is drinking a lot of wine now, which causes her to speak louder and more forcefully.

Can you trust a person who is under the influence of alcohol to be more honest than when they are sober?

Anyway, the girl was becoming more aggressive, slamming her hands on the table; she made me jump. 

She looks at my clothes and asks me a rhetorical question, “Did you just come from the golf course? You look like a golfer.”

“Thank you,” I said. 

“It wasn’t a compliment,” She replied. Apparently, the girl I was with thought this comment was completely normal. But she decided to defend me anyway. ” He made it to state with golf when he was in high school.”

I totally missed this comment, but it doesn’t matter. I quit caring about the opinions of other people a long time ago. I do social things so that I can write about them, but the whole experience is usually boring or unpleasant, and in this case, both. 

When you stop caring, unpleasant people take on a low drone. They’re trying to cut into you, but you’ve learned to mute their hatred a long time ago. 

We start playing the game, and oh… the talk will drive most insecure people into a frenzy. 

“That play just went over your head. What are you doing? You still don’t know how to play?”

The man’s wife is looking at me. She can tell that I disengaged a long time ago. “Andy is introspective,” she comments out loud.

I snap back to reality. She noticed that I wasn’t having a good time. 

“He is either completely clueless or he is a fascist feigning ignorance,” one person says. 

The aggressive woman in the yellow dress comments, “You haven’t tried the food that I made. She demands that I try her stuffed peppers. “What’s in them?” I ask.

“Goat cheese,” she says. “I don’t like goat cheese,” I respond. “Have some anyway, “ the group suggests. I take some, while resenting the social pressure. 

The stuffed pepper is as bad as I thought. “Aren’t you going to finish it?” She asks. “No,” I retort. She continues to bitch, but I just ignore her.

After six games of Secret Hitler, I am ready to get out of there and never do a game night again. The girl I came to the party with was Hitler almost every single time. She was a good liar and it made me wonder about women.

If they are this good at lying, they could pull the wool over my eyes without much effort. My intelligence has been brought into question. Not to mention my manhood. 
The aggressive woman was making jibes at me all night.

When it was time to go, they asked me if I would be coming back and I told them “No.” 

“What do you mean, no? Didn’t you have a good time?”

“Not really,” I replied. 

“How did you like the food?” 

“It was okay,” I lied. They didn’t buy it. Apparently, I am not practiced up on my lying the way they are.

“Well, we hope you come and see us again,” they lied. 

I got up and walked out of the apartment with my friend and the aggressive woman. I can tell the aggressive woman is lonely. She doesn’t understand that men don’t like to be insulted about their intelligence, or told they are not well traveled or made fun of for the way they dress.

She offers me a hug before she goes. I consent and she nearly squeezes me to the point that I can’t breathe. “I hope you come back,” she says. 

“Sure,” I say. 

I get into the car with my date. “What a fun time,” she tells me. 

“That was the most miserable time I have had in months,” I share. 
“That woman is a bitch.” 

“Which one?” she asks? I can tell she is offended that I used the “b” word. 

“I pray for any man who feels alone enough to date that woman,” I replied. “What a piece of work.”

“She is just misunderstood,” my friend says. “I think she wants to find a man.”

“That is the problem with the world. The acerbic people are given a pass. Hopefully nature will sort them out. There must be justice in the world.”

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