This dinner party is full of questions. None of them answered. And it’s been going on forever. I would have liked to have gone to bed hours ago. At least.
The question of Why? is sitting in the corner on it’s own, ignored by the other guests who seem to skirt around it like a barnyard dance step. The question of How-Many? is already totally plastered and sprawled, legs-akimbo, under the drinks table. The question of Are-You-Doing-It-Right? has been at my side and in my ear since the gathering began.
There’s an audible sound of grinding teeth.
At one corner of the table, I can see my impeccably dressed, but eternally worried friend Why-Don’t-You-Love-Me? swirling the olives in a martini while Who-Do-You-Think-You-Are? screams at top voice about offensiveness and righteousness. I should have sat them further apart.
Opposite me at the dinner table How-Long? and How-Far? are both silently staring at me with raised eyebrows. I should know by now that those two really don’t need to be invited. They’ll show up with their respective answers when and where they’re needed, and until then they’re terrible, expectant guests.
At the other corner of the table are my long-time companions Is-This-How-It’s-Supposed-To-Go? and Does-This-Look-Right? … Dressed awkwardly, they’re both rabbiting on without listening to each other. Squinting one eye and then the next. I smile to myself watching them try to muster perspective. Perspective is never invited.
Bored, I take another gulp of wine. Isn’t-That-Enough? leans over and pats me on the shoulder whilst giving me that patronizing smile. “Shut up” I mumble under my breath.
In order to look busy I serve myself another piece of pie. Don’t-You-Want-To-Be-Thinner? slaps the plate out of my hands and punches me in the stomach. She’s a real bitch. One-More-Bite-Couldn’t-Hurt-Could-It? rushes over and tries to scoop the pie off the floor with her hands and shove it into my mouth. She’s a real moron.
I dodge away from the fuss and find another seat at the table. Some of this mob must be interesting surely?! I look around the table and realise that this party is at capacity – even if I had an interesting question on the invite list, there’d be no room.
There’s an audible groan.
All the attendees are hanging around the party being persistently boring and annoying, when suddenly the door flings open. In an obnoxious flurry in strides What-Will-Everyone-Think?, dressed in a sequined, red jumpsuit and flanked on either side by its minions You’re-Fat, You’re-Lazy, You’re-Boring and You’re-Incapable. It’s quite the entrance. With What-Will-Everyone-Think? at the party no one can concentrate. All conversation falls flat and immediately dies. Everyone looks nervous. Everyone looks scared. No one talks.
There’s an audible gulp.
The red-sequined omnipoquestion flicks it’s cigarette onto my carpet and tosses it’s hair. Now it saunters over to me grinning like the nemesis it is. I can smell the gingivitis from my seat. It leans in close to my ear, and I can feel the warm insecurity of its breath, “Hello there!” it snivels. Then it wraps the long tendrils of its fingers around my throat and begins to squeeze. Suddenly all I can see are judgements and insults and failings of mine swirling before me. All that goes through my head is, ‘Well, this will ruin the party for sure. What will people think of me?!’
I am about to lose consciousness when my savior arrives, sweeping into the middle of the room. Like a hero, my one true friend stands tall and fixes my enemy with a deathly gaze. With just one knowing glance from the sleek new guest, What-Will-Everyone-Think? crumbles and whithers like month-old roses in the Bronte house … After a moment of impressed silence I cheer loudly and announce our liberator to the onlooking audience, “Ladies, Gentlemen, Others, I’d like you to meet my favourite statement, and long-time friend They’re-Thinking-What-You’re-Thinking!” … There’s another long pause while everyone takes it in. The saving statement takes a bow, and then, thunderous applause from the crowd.
I watch as the evening’s brave assertion introduces itself to the other guest,, “Hi there, please don’t be afraid! They’re-Thinking-What-You’re-Thinking, nice to meet you!”.
What-Do-You-Mean-By-That? leaves first, closely followed by most of the the other bores.
There’s an audible sigh of relief.
I whip out my phone (an iPhone 4s that makes Why-Don’t-You-Just-Blend-In wince and retract into a corner). I quickly send a text message to a group I’ve labelled “emergency contacts” and in just a moment the rest of the declaration gang arrive to save the dinner party: None-Of-Your-Business-Anyway, Get-Your-Head-Outta-Your-Arse and Lighten-The-Hell-Up all chase the last of the nagging guests away from my table. We all have a good laugh.
They tell me that they saw What-Does-It-All-Mean? pulling up as they arrived.
That’s a question that wouldn’t dare enter now. It wouldn’t dare.