Monday, December 10

Grown-Up Christmas Parties

Since I have graduated college and gotten a job, I have inadvertently moved into the world of .... "adults". So now it is Christmastime. And now there are no more college Christmas parties: no studio parties with goodie bags, no fraternity parties with White Elephant parties where you get a stolen poinsettia from the cafeteria and no dorm parties with making Christmas cookies.

I went to my first "adult" Christmas party tonight. It was for the community choir I sing in. We went to one of the choir members houses and all brought food to share. I took cake balls; a very fun and festive dessert (or I thought). Turns out that was a slightly childish dessert compared to the other contributions. But that doesn't really matter. I was so ready for a Christmas party that it didn't matter too much.

I showed up right at 7 on the dot, punctual as always. There were only like 3 people there... and I didn't really know any of them. So I stood around and tried to chat with them like I did. I hate small talk. I don't really care about the weather too much - I can tell that a cold front went through. I don't follow sports, so "How 'bout them Mavs?" isn't a good starting place. You can only talk about work for so long before you're like, "Wait, am I at work again that I have to think about all the crap I didn't do?". I love talking about religion and politics, but everyone avoids those subjects like the plagues! Then there's music: my field. When everyone is talking about the Beatles, K$sha or the Black Eyed Peas, I'm like, "did you know that Shostakovich composed hidden messages in his music because his country censored him?" That's apparently not something that you bring up in the first five minutes of a conversation....

So I suffered through that. The only good part was when a guy pulled out his guitar and we sang Christmas carols. Somehow after several minutes of that, we ended up in the Beatles...

I excused myself as early as was polite and got home to enjoy so "people-my-own-age" AKA my housemate and her fiancee. Now I'm thinking. Do we get to the point where those lame Christmas parties are actually fun? I mean, do those become the highlight of our week? Do we eagerly await those opportunities?

It seems sad. The Christmas parties I love are so poignant in my mind. The ones where we nearly choked as we stuffed marshmallows in our cheeks to see who could hold the most. When we cried from laughing too hard as we played Apples to Apples. Or the time we were going to go trespassing but ended up at a house stargazing through a high-powered telescope. Maybe the time we tried to go see Christmas lights, got lost and ended up on the docks accidentally peeping into someone's houseboat. Will those moments, those wonderful, touching, heart-stopping moments seem childish to me in 50 years? Will I look back on it and think that I was lame at that time?

I don't think that I want to grow up. I don't want to get to that point where the blase is exciting. I want to hold those special moments in my heart and actively seek new ones. I want to recklessly trespass across the grouchy old man's field to find the perfect stargazing spot. I want to have shopping cart races through Wal-Mart. I want to be told that my friends are being too loud when we play games at the coffee shop. Because, as the overused phrase goes, "Life isn't about the moments you breathe, it's about the moments that take your breath away."