on parties: things i've absolutely no use in hell for but don’t have the courage to throw in the trash just yet

by Samuel Saint Thomas.

Three times today I’ve tripped over the first step on the stairs. It sticks out in front of the bathroom door. My feet are too big for my house. Yet, I pride myself in it, having the smallest carbon footprint in the neighborhood at just over 900 square feet. No McManor here. I can reach everything in the kitchen in one step. I can see out the windows on all four sides of the house by spinning in a circle. From my bed I can see all of my books I have yet to read. Noisy water closet business is not a private matter.

Small houses are a sacrifice. No room for salt and pepper collections, my late mother’s afghan blanket habit, Bon Jovi videos or anything at all that would fall in the box labeled “Things I have absolutely no use in hell for but don’t have the courage to throw in the trash just yet.” And so it goes, I’m off the hook. Forced minimalism. Spared of the head-pain from fabricating justifications for why the pine slab clock Uncle Tim made for Mom and Dad on their Fiftieth Anniversary is not hanging on my wall. “I thought you could use this,” Mom said.

Which brings me to the idea of parties. Having little space, I often long for grand parties with separate social germination areas for wine consumption, labeled cheese slicing, spirited dancing, strip poker, and philosophic exchange. Perhaps individual rooms for Descartes, Plato, and Immanuel Kant. Yet, I’ve come to realize that small imposes on me socially the way that it does with stuff. In any extended group of possible guests there’s always a good many that, while cleaning up, I wonder how they got on the list.

I had hoped that perhaps this time, someone, one person would not bring Merlot. I wished that this time Suzy would not be wearing her sweater with snowflakes, Bob would dispense with his jokes about big and little boobs, Joy would not get another damn promotion, Jake would not, every single fucking time, correct Mary’s stories and would bring more alcohol than they drink. That Joe would bring his own date instead of sharing so willingly with everyone else’s, and those pants? Please say it isn’t so.

Maybe next time I’ll cut my guest list. I’ll blame it on the chairs. Five because that’s how many are around my table. Six when I fix the one upstairs. The one that Brenda broke after six vodkas. That’ll be my fabrication of the justification for selective social engineering. So five it is. Better yet, maybe in guilt free pragmatism, I’ll simply enjoy the bliss of the small carbon footprint party. I’ll be helping to save the world. I don’t like poker anyway and certainly have no use for all that Cartesian rationalism. One can always find space to dance.

Samuel Saint Thomas