I decided to ditch the cape from my witches outfit on Saturday and bought a wig instead - a long black and white Morticia wig. The results (with the spider-adorned lacy hat) fooled both of my friends at the party, plus anyone else I had ever previously met.
It's not easy being a single witch at a kid's party. There were so many children around the table for the party tea, with mothers in attendance and fathers trying to 'keep out of the way' that I kind of floated around for a bit, feeling of little use. I had been so excited at the thought of dressing up that I forgot that a) there would be a lot of people there that I barely knew and b) that they all knew each other very well and would be busy catching up or otherwise involved with the kids.
Not that I sulked, you understand. I find it easy to talk to people but conversely am not a big fan of small talk. Plus I was asked on several occasions "So which one is yours then?" (referring to the children) and as usual I laughed as though I didn't care and said "None of them!" whilst feeling a sadness rise within and pondering whether this would always be the case.
Once the kids were fed, it was time for the adults to feast. A local woman had been hired to come round and deliver an enormous curry, with dahl, rice, roti (freshly made on the Aga plate), salad and sweet pudding rice for desert. Parent's started to take their children home, and a few more adults made their appearance. I took off my hat and wig to eat, thinking that I would no longer have to introduce myself. My friend's boys, who were now high as kites on a sugar rush induced by eating fistfuls of icing from their monster birthday cake, looked at me quizzically, wondering why I had turned up to their party so late, and why the friendly witch with the red hat had gone home without saying goodbye.
When I started chatting to the people who had just arrived (and who I had met several times before) I was disappointed to discover that they didn't remember me anyway. How nice to be so memorable. I consoled myself with the notion that maybe it was because my hair had grown, or maybe even my energy was so completely different that I projected myself as a different person altogether.
At this point something else happened which always seems to happen to me, and me alone. I was pushed in to drinking. If everything that happens is a message, I can't figure out what the Universe is trying to tell me with this one.
For several years now, I have been what is commonly classed as a 'Lightweight'. I freely admit to it and am not ashamed of it either. I am a cheap date. Half a glass of wine or a sniff of vodka, and I am pissed. The high lasts for about an hour, during which I laugh myself stupid, and then I start to feel dehydrated and drained. None of my social activities have involved drinking and I don't feel tempted to drink when I am on my own (which accounts for most of the time). My tolerance for alcohol used to be fairly high but then so was my tolerance for hangovers. Now I only need to get mildly drunk to feel totally bloody awful the next day. So for me, it just isn't worth it.
What I don't understand is that nobody else seems to get this, but not only that, they spend inordinate amounts of time and energy trying to persuade me that actually, drinking is quite big and quite clever and that despite multiple experiences of god-awful hangovers, I can and should actually enjoy it. It's as though they not only want me to feel ill the next day, but as though I should enjoy feeling ill because that is all part of the fun.
I can be in a group of four people out drinking where two of us in the group don't really drink, but I am the only one getting it in the neck. "Try this. Oh don't tell me that you're going to drink Coke - that's not a proper drink! Have a real drink! God, you are such a lightweight!" And if I have one drink (which is fine) then I am either persuaded to drink up quicker than I want, or am seemingly not allowed to order a soft drink on the next round. Whereas the other non-drinker orders an orange juice and lemonade without them batting an eyelid.
I have tried to use different tactics, from getting all defensive - I don't have to drink if I don't bloody want to drink, okay? Don't f**king tell me what I should or shouldn't be doing - to being totally calm and rational - no look, I'm fine, honest. Drink just doesn't agree with me. But none of these seem to work. Entire evenings have been ruined not because I have stayed sober, but because entire conversations revolve around what my next order will be. I'm tired of it.
So at the party I decided to have one vodka, which I poured myself and drank with coke. One of the guys thought I was only drinking coke, at which point I was teased for not having enough vodka in my glass. Then I was offered some home-made raspberry vodka, followed by home-made sloe gin, whisky, Japanese fruit liqueur and port. And all the time when I tried to decline I was chastised for being a killjoy.
The result was that I went to bed rather drunk despite drinking plenty of water. And then the curry started to kick in. I hadn't realised at the time that the chicken curry was made with a base of onions and for some reason onions don't really agree with me.
Yesterday I opted out of dinner and asked to be driven home early, then curled up on the couch like a poisoned slug and slept through everything on the TV.
Today I still don't feel quite right. I'm not sure whether it was feeling as though I was on the outskirts of the action with a group of people I didn't really know, the chastising or the alcohol/onion poisoning that has made me so blue. Or returning to a house which is such a tip and not wanting to go through the process of packing only to move in with a bunch of strangers who could potentially spend 95% of their energy telling me that I am no fun to be around because I don't drink enough.
I guess I ought to get something done today to make me feel better - perhaps put on some loud music and pack a couple of boxes just to start shifting some energy and move out of this paralysis.
Or maybe I will wait until dark, don my wig, false nose and witches hat and stand in the shadows by the graveyard to take a few drunks by surprise as they make their way home. Ha, my pretties, bet you wish you were sober now.....