Getting out of going out
You’re invited to a Super Bowl party. Friends, football, food, fun.
But that would require putting on hat, boots, coat and gloves, scraping the windshield, slipping into hypothermia coma until the car warms up, and braving drivers who don’t know you turn into a skid, you don’t play bumper cars to avoid a ditch.
You also have to stop at the gas station for a party-size bag of Tostitos and jar of homemade salsa to bring. This means getting out of the car and possibly slipping on the ice and facing the same risk of concussion or contusion as the Super Bowl players. No fun.
What to do?
Like The Clash you ask, Should I stay or should I go?
If you choose not to go and contribute to the festivities, you need an excuse.
Scratch that — an excuse sounds defensive. You need a powerful offense leading to an end-zone spike and dance.
You can’t just say, “Sorry, I prefer to stay home.” Even if that’s the honest truth and you declare you always tell the truth, like the socially inept and liars do.
Rest assured, you’re not alone in your desire to be home alone.
We used to pity and worry about the aged who were home-bound shut-ins. But Millennials, the “Netflix and chill” generation, are making it cool for the Boomer parents they live with and everyone else.
Doing nothing is the new something. Everything we need is right at home, on screen or by instant delivery.
The old pathetic “couch potato” is the new heroic Invictus. From the BarcaLounger power motion sofa, we are now the masters of our fate, the captains of our soul.
In fact, 87.3 percent of women and men both under and over the age of 40 prefer to stay home all the time, according to recent survey data I made up but sounds true.
Sure, some people like to have exciting outdoor adventures like climbing Machu Picchu. But most real Americans avoid these people and their wonderfully insufferable stories.
So: What to do when dreaded social invitations come from friends or loved ones?
Or they feel obligated to invite you because their sister’s friend is friends with your friend’s sister, and everyone worries you need to get out of the house?
Here are a few tricks to get out of social engagements.
They never worked for me but maybe they could for you:
The usual: I’m sick.
Or my child/parent/dog/cat/cockatoo/lemur/philodendron is sick.
Bad karma to say if not true. But sick is in the eye of the beholder. Sniffles count. So do a few wilting leaves. Or whatever happens when lemurs get sick and they need to go to lemur ER.
Weird ailment that could be terminal.
You know that New York Times medical mystery article about the guy with an ankle rash that turned out to be irreversible decapitation?
That’s not what I have, but the callus on my thumb looks like a tiny goiter even though it’s nowhere near my thyroid gland.
Also, I’ve been diagnosed by my herbalist with existential ennui, which could be hormonal, or from being raised by professors and therapists, or from my genetic makeup, reading Kafka, not taking my vitamins or boredom with my clinical narcissism.
Whatever the cause, I’m too tired to go out due to worrying about my possible health issues. Maybe I can make your Super Bowl party by halftime but don’t wait for me.
Rude. Not cool!
Unless everyone’s doing it, which makes it socially acceptable.
Miss Manners used to clutch pearls, lurch for smelling salts and collapse into fainting divan if someone even touched the pâté with the salad fork.
Now you can’t use plastic straws or people get huffy.
Point is, manners change, so ghost away!
Electricity, gas, water or internet went out. You’re waiting for call back for repairman. You’ll try to get to the Super Bowl party, but you can’t pinpoint when. It might be sometime between 8 and noon, or between 1 and 5.
Indicate your boss or client is a total bear. You’re slammed, back to back, swimming in it, just keeping your head above water.
Don’t indicate that you’d rather stay home and plug numbers into a spreadsheet than show up for a fun social engagement with great friends.
Your sweatshirts are folded horizontally instead of vertically. So you can’t pick the Super Bowl team jersey you need for the game instead of pulling out all your shirts and making a big pile o’ mess that makes you sit down and weep.
That is, until Marie Kondo comes over and softly, sweetly says in a comforting way,「自分が何を所有したいのかという問題は、実際には自分の人生をどのように生きたいのかという問題です。」
KonMari your friends.
When considering social invitations, give your friends at least the same respect you give your things.
Keep only those friends that speak to your heart and bring joy. Like with old team sweatshirts, the best way to find out friends we really need is to get rid of friends we don’t.
Already drunk and shouldn’t drive.
They say, starve a cold and feed a fever. Or is it the opposite?
Whatever, for medicinal purposes, Super Bowl fever made you drink the entire six-pack of IPA you intended to bring.
Don’t drive. You’re not dying to be there.
You’re an introvert/Highly Sensitive Person.
Declare that being with people in social situations can exhaust and even make you physically sick from their lame joking, Tostito and salsa breath, and reasons why Trump is the best president ever. So you need to stay home.
But, ok, maybe you’ll go if everyone at the party can get over themselves and respect your need to receive more compelling social effort than you wish to contribute. They should avoid insufferable small talk about home emergencies, KonMari, Machu Picchu climbing adventures, or any other human failings you cannot abide. You’ll be the judge. People need to earn the pleasure of being around you.
Car won’t start.
Too cold. Thank god for buying American. Sorry! Catch you later.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer