Social Page: This Is Not Nick

by pjmcbride

Allow me to explain. {Reactions are evenly divided between “Who’s stopping you?” and “As if anyone could stop you.”} {Ooh, using non-italics as italics! Triple points!}

I attended the birthday party of Nick’s younger cub, who we pretended had just turned 2, even though he will not actually do so until tomorrow. (Is it really right to lie to a child?)

This was held at Nick’s new house. Yes, he left his plague of frogs behind, doubtless to the dismay of whoever purchases his old house, if anyone ever does. {“And now no one ever will, thanks to you,” he growls.} After my own 750 square feet (I believe I have the second-smallest house in town, since I knew someone who lived in one that was only 500), Nick’s new house seemed overly large to me. I myself would be able to live in his basement, although Nick would be unable to sleep at night if I did, in fact, live in his basement.

The family cat, newly transplanted and un-thrilled with large social gatherings, had retreated to the farthest corner in the farthest closet of the farthest room, with the unerring instinct of his kind. I could probably have talked him out if I’d been alone, but we were in the midst of a Grand Tour.

…”But wasn’t there a point you were getting to?” Nick inquires pleasantly. Yes, well…

I owe my host an apology. I think. Possibly.

“Could you put that in the bold-face capital letters?” Nick wants to know. “Maybe some italics, too?”

I…no, you don’t get any italics, you miserable beast. 

In fact, Nick may owe me an apology, for wearing shorts with loose strings dangling from the hem, which bothered me whenever I caught sight of them. But I did not have to put up with them for long, because…

This party was advertised as featuring “water games,” which sounded scary but fascinating, which is pretty much the relationship I have with water anyway. I cannot swim, and cannot be taught to swim, because I won’t put my face under water. But I love playing in the hose, and splashing around in shallow water–as long as no one thinks it would be fun to shove my head underwater. Or knock my feet out from under me. Or similar possibilities too horrible to contemplate, which Nick is probably contemplating at this very moment. Or there’s the possibility of Making a Fool of Myself, which is almost as horrifying.

So they had one of those bouncy houses with a slippy-slide water-shower-type thing, and our host stripped down to his swim trunks. These seemed a bit too big for him–they rode so low, they looked about to fall off at any moment. But, as if this were not suspense enough for one afternoon, he learned that I had actually brought my swimsuit just in case I decided to join in the fun.

I had been observing carefully–testing the water, as it were–to see if any other adults were joining in the aquatic frolics–any adults, that is, other than our host, who doesn’t count because he has no dignity. There were none–not even Sam, for whom I’d had high hopes. But Nick, undeterred by the overwhelming odds against it, decided that me going down the water slide was what he wanted most in the world at that moment (having abandoned all hope of our ride-along ever coming to pass). Or perhaps he was just morbidly curious about seeing me in a swimsuit. He turned on all his boyish charm. “I’ll write about it, and you can put that in the blog–how about that?” I was beginning to think…it would be fun…surely I would enjoy it if I just forgot about Making a Fool of Myself…and it might be interesting to read what Nick wrote about it… until Officer S.H., standing next to the also-expectant Sam, said, “And we’ll take a video of it!” At that point negotiations broke down.

Perhaps now I should have a poll:

–Did I narrowly escape a blackmail scheme? (When you’re World Leader, you have to think about these things.)

–Or will I someday turn to Nick, who is weeping at my deathbed, and say, “The one thing I regret in life is not going down that water slide when you asked me to.”?