There are people outside. Warm greetings and the occasional polite laugh at something that really isn't all that funny. The buzz of old friends feeling each other out; exchanging niceties until the wine flows or it's quiet enough for pretenses and inhibitions to drop.
People popping in for a quick hellow.
Text messages about getting a drink.
Why don't you stop in anymore?
There were times when I could not stand the idea of staying home. It used to make me nauseous to think that there might be something going on without me.
I was convinced I'd miss something.
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sickness would stop me.
And if I did for some reason miss something I would demand updates.
Immediate and detailed.
Now, not so much.
I know, I know, people want to think it's some kind of bow to age.
I can stay up late.
I do stay up late.
It's not that.
It's the arrogant notion that I've kind had all that fun already.
I know the odds are more likely than not that the night will go one way or the other but in all likelihood it'll end, bleary eyed, sipping a bottomless cup of coffee and hoping to be awake enough to keep the car on the road.
I still hope for the weird nights, but I know they don't come along so much anymore.
On top of that I'm quite content reading a book with the air conditioning rattle being the only company.
But there are people outside.
And I can't turn into the curmudgeon who sits in the room and ignores the guests because I have a preference for isolation.
I have to slap on a smile.
Watch my "shits" and "fucks"
It's not something I'm particularly good at.