Saturday, June 23, 2007

How Not to Plan a Night Out

I’m somewhat of a control freak in certain aspects of my life. It’s true that I consider seeing the calendar for the upcoming school year a small thrill, the entire year laid out on a single sheet of paper. But it’s also true that I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy spur of the moment…earlier this month I decided to go out of town for the weekend with two kids in tow a mere hour before walking out the door. (I like to think that I succeeded in the 20 minute packing experience on that occasion, though I failed to time myself).

It might be this mix of control freak/impulsiveness that makes me a poor choice for planning outings for large groups of people. When it comes to new things, if it’s not immoral, unethical, overly painful or otherwise self destructive and doesn’t involve sitting still for long periods of time, I’ll usually at least try. So normally just agreeing to whatever my friends want to do works fairly well for me.

I’m near impossible to reach by phone anyway and my social compass is such that I forget that not every last human being would spend an hour or three together as happily as I would wish them to. For that reason, when I really want to do something specific my inclination is to inform friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and virtual strangers of my plans in hopes that someone more organized than I am will be interested in going AND remember to show up.

That is how I came to invite my son’s third grade teacher, two virtual teetotalers, a couple of heavy drinkers, an almost complete stranger, and a neighbor or two among others all on the same outing, even encouraging a phone call or two between people who had never met. Although the event was fun, the planning process in and of itself led to several amusing conversations:

Between me and one of the near teetotalers:
I’ve just described finding out that the supposed coffee house where we’ll be going out is, in fact, a bar.
Tammy, one of the teetotalers says something I can’t quite hear about Karen a relatively heavy drinker, but which I think is, “Because she’s going to need it.”

Me – “Who’s going to need what?”
Tammy – “Karen’s going to need alcohol.”
Me – “With the assortment of people I’ve invited, we’re ALL going to need alcohol!”

In the lunch room at work:
- “No. Gan’s Indonesian, but they’re not the same person. They don’t even know each other.”
Coworker – “Is Gan your boyfriend?”
Me – “NO!
Gan’s not my boyfriend! Gan HAS a boyfriend!”
Gan actually has a husband, not a boyfriend, but that was not what happened to come out of my mouth at that moment.

Another conversation with a close to teetotaler:
"Well, you drank in Dallas.
I still have the wine on my t-shirt. " A big question mark over this person’s head along with a questioning hand gesture make it clear that he has no idea how these two statements could possibly be related. “Well”, I explained, “That was because when you were pulling on the bottle and I was yanking the cork and you asked me, ‘Are you sure?’ I meant ‘Yes, I’m sure this will get the cork out of the bottle.’ Not ‘Yes, I’m sure this won’t get wine all over the place.’”

Followed by this exchange with one of my children’s coach (did I mention I also invited a coach?) after I had mentioned Gan would be “definitely coming” and that it might be a less than suitable outing for homophobes. Coach says something about not having adequate experience with which to measure his level of homophobia, at which point Cassie pipes up loud and clear that SHE has a fear of NEEDLES and proceeds to describe her pneumonia related needle experience.

The look of surprise and/or shock on coach’s face is clear, but I can’t be sure whether it reads:

  • I forgot she was listening
  • I didn’t realize an 11 year old could decipher the word “homophobic”
  • I didn’t realize when I woke up this morning I would be discussing homophobia with an 11 year old

Or some combination of the three

For the record, I stopped short of inviting my principal and an ex LA gang member, but only just (and mainly because I thought a couple of my coworkers might wring my neck).

This is why Jill should never make the plans for a night out. Jill should smile and nod and say, “Why YES! I’d LOVE to!” And, after all, it would be true the majority of the time.


  1. Wow ! You should consider utilizing your planning skills and branching out to bigger and better things. I'm thinking weddings, birthdays, christenings....

  2. Wow! I can NEVER get a group of people together!

    I say you should be in charge of assembling the next attempt at Middle East peace talks!

  3. Well that sounded like an unforgettable evening out. Tell me, do any of these characters EVER accept a second invite from you????


  4. Now I know who to go to when someday I marry some unfortunate, innocent bumbly man. I will hire you. And you will plan. And it will be spectacular.

    Might I say that I love this line: "I didn’t realize when I woke up this morning I would be discussing homophobia with an 11 year old"

    How did the event turn out?

  5. Irisi - It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO FUN!!!!!!!!!!!! I got to ride on a motorized-ride-on-beer cooler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, yeah...and see my cousin's band play too...

    Maureen - ummm...surprisingly enough I've managed to drag one or two back out...and I'm way more prone to assurances such as "but it's only going to be me and such and such and so and so. And that's all!"

    TS, CGG, & I - Right after my daughter's bat mitzvah I'm going to get moving on the peace talks! Weddings...not so sure I'm up for weddings just yet... :-0

  6. Damn! I forgot to mention bar mitzvahs ! (I hear you re weddings..)

  7. OMGosh!! Hilarious!! LOL! Ya sound like one heck of a fun person to hang out with!

  8. lol, I bet that was one fun night ;)

  9. I can relate to the school calendar, the homophobe I can not because I am all for free love. Sounds hilarious though!