The party in DC was at a bar, which is a difficult environment for me, because I never go to bars. We were the first ones there because it’s our party. People started coming and I realized that the most awkward part of the party would be at the beginning, when you have to talk to whoever walks in because you can’t pretend that you need to be talking to someone else. The most claustrophobic time of a party is when only a few people are there.
This is the broom closet I hid in.
Photis saw me go in. He said, “What are you doing?”
“Taking a break,” I said. And I shut the door.
Remember when I told you Photis is a really good guy but a little bit weird? Here’s a good example of that. At the broom closet he said, “Okay.” And he walked back to the party.
I stayed in the closet thinking of how many people would need to be in the room before I could open the door. I thought that maybe everyone was getting drunk and that’s what I should do to fit in. I wanted to talk to Ryan Paugh, who is my social skills guide for moments like this. But I couldn’t talk to him because then I’d have to leave the closet.
My eyes started adjusting to the darkness and I found a sort of a shelf to sit on and then I worried that I was a little too comfortable. Because what if the CEO realized I was in the broom closet? He would start thinking that the farm is really making me crazy and he needs to do something to limit the impact of my craziness on the company.
Just as I was trying to figure out how long I could be in the closet, the door opened and a woman screamed.
“What are you doing here?!!?!?”
“I am just taking a break here,” I told her. I tried to sound really calm so she would not be scared. But I didn’t want to sound so calm that I sounded like a serial killer. I said, “It is my party. And I have social anxiety.”
She did not even pause to think of what that meant. She said, “Get out of the closet. This is against the rules.”
I asked if I could stay five minutes. I said I wouldn’t touch anything.
She was looking a little violent. Like maybe she’s the serial killer.
So I left the closet.
And the party was in gear. And I was blown away by how interesting people were. And how far they had traveled. And how easily Ryan Paugh talked to every single one of them. Here’s a photo of Ryan with Regina Twine, who came to the party from Raleigh, NC, and Junayd Mahmood, who came from Senator Gillibrand’s office on Capitol Hill.
I’m a big fan of Senator Gillibrand. She has two young kids and a seemingly high-functioning marriage, and she is a good legislator. I thought Junayd would give me a peek of insight on how she does it. But instead, he told me what every other person at the party with an extremely interesting government job told me that night: Nothing juicy.
Also, for the first time, I met the guy who has been the site manager for my blog for three years, Jason Unger. What do you call this kind of person? Blog administrator? I don’t know. Really, you call this sort of person a saint. Because when I make a mistake on the blog, I go nuts and call him. Typically what happens is that something on this site has been functioning a certain way for the last ten months and suddenly I notice it and I don’t like it and I call Jason up at 5am and wake his wife and his baby for something that is totally unimportant.
So, anyway, it’s appropriate that in the photo with Jason, I am giving orders instead of smiling for the camera.
Do you know what I like about a big party? When it really gets rolling, it gets intimate. When the room was full, people were discovering that everyone in the room was interesting and no one would notice if I was gone. That’s when the party got great. And I sat on the floor with Maggie McGary.
And she told me about her ex-husband who could not separate from his parents and she got a divorce. And you know how when there’s a car crash, you like to drive by slowly to see what happened to get that relieved feeling that it’s not you? Well, I kept not being sure if I was listening to Maggie like that, or listening to Maggie like I need to change course. (But maybe that’s how you listen to me, too.)
The way to go to a party if you hate parties is just to force yourself. Really. Everyone is nervous walking into a roomful of people they don’t know. There is no trick. There is nothing to do but go. I tell you this because I know: Because I had so much fun and I loved all the people who read my blog, and I loved all the friends they brought with them and I also loved all the guys at Brazen Careerist because I can tell things are going really well and I loved Photis for knowing that the closet was a reasonable choice.
Although by the end of the night, I could have used another broom closet break. But there wasn’t one. So I rewarded myself for going to a party and having a good time by laying down at the bar.