Just Another Day in Suburban Hell

It’s Saturday and we are in the driveway unloading the car after a trip to the liquor store.  I am loaded down with two six packs of Blue Moon for Jim and two bottles of wine for me.  Connie and Brad, our new neighbors walk by with their teetering gray dog.  We stand there politely, shuffling packages and chatting about the dog, the weather, homes.

They seem nice, in a dampened way.  I was just about to escape inside when they invited us to a “game party” that evening at their house.  My good mood drops into “oh crap” mode. Playing board games with strangers is not my idea of a Saturday night, not now or at any point in the future.  I am holding my idea of a Saturday night.

Jim speaks up after an awkward silence and accepts the invitation for 6 o’clock.  “It’ll be fun!  We’ll get to meet new people!” He elbows me as his voice rises an octave.

Back in the safety of our house I fuel my argument to stay home by turning on A Prairie Home Companion, opening a bottle of wine and sitting on the patio, thinking Jim will join me and blow off the party.  To me, playing games at a party is an activity for people who have nothing interesting to say to each other. It is a last resort.

I sigh and glance over the fence at the homes in back of us.  There are three houses identical to ours within eyeshot, one of them Connie and Brad’s.  We bought into this suburban hell and now we were going to pay.  Jim does not join me on the patio.

We arrive at Connie and Brad’s promptly at 6 o’clock, beer and wine in hand.  Connie was unwrapping appetizers from Costco. I help put it all on plates and she rewards me with a glass of wine. Others arrive and I try to have the good attitude Jim says I do not have the gene for.

Since Connie and Brad have the same house we do, except in reverse, they give us a confusing tour.  We walk around pretending to care and admire the renovation work.  It was more small talk, an activity I don’t excel in.  Another genetic deficiency, but I make an effort.

“Can you hear us much over here?”  I politely ask, noting the spitting distance of their patio to ours.  Connie nearly snorts. “I hear you shrieking all the time, Mimi.”

Stunned, my wine glass tips and spills a bit onto the floor. Other guests look down, grateful for something to stare at.  Connie turns and saunters into the living room, wine glass swaying.

It is just 7pm.  A Prairie Home Companion is over.  My mood sinks.  I pour more wine since it’s theirs, then stalk after her. I may not like board games, but I win every Scrabble game at my house, so game on girl!  I can do this! Just wait until you hear me shriek when I beat your ass in Pictionary.

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15 Responses to Just Another Day in Suburban Hell

  1. Kit B says:

    LOVE!
    I feel your game-party pain, Mimi—I pride myself on having dodged every similar invite that’s come my way. I think both of us inherited mom’s non-game-playing gene (Jim wins this one). Funny, funny post!

  2. ebroihier says:

    I hope you won! Cross her off the list of potential friends!

  3. That would have been a fingers crossed and hands folded kind of night for me. Thank you for sharing your pain with us. 🙂

  4. This is so funny, Mimi! I can just picture the whole scene and hear the insincere prattle. I’m not a “gamer” either and have fought off efforts of friends to “teach’ me bridge…no thanks! At least you had wine which makes most situations tolerable, I’ve found!

  5. Yikes! Maybe this explains why many US cities are growing in population over the last several years — and the suburbs and exurbs are shrinking. The energy of life is in cities, not little boxes made of ticky-tacky… no matter how big the McMansion and how lush the perfectly edged lawn.

  6. emisformaker says:

    The trick to boardgaming is to not play games that involve a board. There are some really fun card-based and tile-based games around now that are a blast at parties – easily taught and played (even when drunk), and involve lots of player interaction and table talk. That said, I’ll still kick anyone’s arse at Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit if only anyone would play with me.
    In this case, I might suggest the problem was slightly more douchy neighbour and crappy games than gaming in general. Of course, I could be wrong.

  7. dinkibass says:

    I’m glad i’m not the only person who feels like this.

  8. Kris says:

    Hilarious – i hate games too! xo

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