Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Here's a fun new game for everyone to play. You know how you go to a party, you've had your fun, and you're ready to leave? You start making the rounds of goodbyes, which are inevitably treacherous. "What? You're leaving? Don't leave!" or "Wait, no, you have to just stay until some very exciting and extraordinary event happens," or "Ok, but let me drunkenly hug you and profess my undying love and eternal devotion to our friendship that began when we met earlier tonight and discovered our mutual obsession with Lost." It's awful. Once you've waded through the murky swamp of saying goodbye to other guests, you finally have to say goodbye to the hosts. Think level 8 of Super Mario Brothers (the original, puh-lease) when Mario finally makes his way through the flying fish, the labyrinth, the flame throwing monkey, and finally comes face to face with Bowser. The hosts never want you to leave. I think they're afraid that your departure will start a trickle effect, and soon their party will be empty and lame. And to be honest, it probably will be once you leave. You're kind of a big deal.

Anyway, by the time you actually get OUT of there, it's 45 minutes past the time when you originally wanted to leave. And I find that annoying. So, for the past year or so, I've adopted a new MO. I just leave. I don't say goodbye to anyone, I don't make eye contact on the way out the door. I just wait for the moment when I can stealthily sneak out the door, and I bolt. I know this sounds easy, but trust me--it takes a certain level of planning and skill. I feel a little bit like James Bond. So, as a public service, I've decided to provide all of you with the skills you'll need to make your great escape.

1. You need to pay attention to your instinct. Once you feel like you no longer want to be there, don't wait. Start your escape plan immediately. You have approximately 30 minutes from this initial spark to make your move.
2. It is VERY important that no one senses that you are about to leave. Up until the very second that you fly out of there, you need to make lively conversation, laugh, continue eating the food, etc. In fact, you should even make plans with someone for later in the party. Like, "Oh my gosh, wait until Jane gets wasted, I'll show you the funniest thing that she does!" Magicians call this misdirection.
3. While you're misdirecting the other guests, you need to prep for your departure. If you have a coat somewhere, this can be tricky. If you've come with someone, you need to decide if they are coming with you or if you're just going to chalk them up to a party casualty. Planning is essential.
4. Pretending to be drunk can also work. Some of us have a tendency to wander off when intoxicated, thereby ensuring that at least initially, no one will notice your absence. They'll just assume you've wandered.
5. Once you're ready to go...just GO. Don't wait. Make a quick, direct, clear line for the exit. Do not make eye contact with other guests. Do not appear suspicious. Just go.
6. If someone catches you, chances are, you're screwed. However, with careful planning, not all is lost. Have a repertoire of excuses ready. Do not pause when spitting one of these out. It can NOT be lame. Don't say that you're tired or that you have to work early. No one cares. If you're busted and you're going to lie, at least make it creative and a good one. Something involving an explosion or an epidemic might be good. You can also simply state that you're running to your car for something or that you're looking for someone else. Do not back down and return to the party.
7. Chances are, no one will really notice that you've left. This is why I do this. If you say goodbye to everyone, then you've made quite the spectacle. This way, the party goes on flawlessly. You're really doing everyone a favor. The next day, make sure to have it known what a great time you had.

Try it. Don't mess it up. And let me know how it goes. Most importantly, don't be offended if at your next party I'm suddenly missing. It is not a reflection on you, your party, or anything other than my short attention span.