I guess we are supposed to learn from the past. I mean that’s the point of studying history, thinking about past events so you don’t repeat them.
Well, this week we had our second Halloween Party for some of my daughter’s friends and their parents. Halloween is the one American tradition I want to pass on to my kid. And this year my wife insisted that history would not repeat itself. To her, the scariest thing that happened last Halloween was in the last five minutes of the party, when we ran out of drinks!
I don’t think there is a bigger sin in Croatia than running out of something while hosting. Such an occurrence is a Code Red emergency. And so last year when we ran out of drinks around 10:30 at night (don’t forget this is a party mostly for six-year olds) my wife did the sensible thing and ran out to get more drinks. Alas, by the time she was back, everyone was gone.
So this year we bought two cases of beer (48 beers) at the mall, plus ten more loose cans, giving us 58 beers for what is again, mostly a kids’ party. We knew how many kids were coming, but the number of parents was uncertain. Would both mom and dad stay, would some leave and come back. Who knew? And when it comes to hosting and uncertainty, uncertainty can fester until it blooms into a rash of doubt.
On the day of the party my wife decides we still don’t have enough, and advises me to buy more (I think she came to this conclusion after talking to our neighbors, so thanks guys) so on Halloween I walked to a nearby store and bought 20 beers, nothing else just 20 beers.
And while I was shoving them into my backpack I got some looks. One look came from a young lady, probably a student, and it was a confused look. In her furrowed brow I saw that she couldn’t quite identify my age and didn’t know whether I was a cool 20-something about to have a good time, or if I was a pathetic 30-something trying to have a good time. Because let’s face it, the social appropriateness of shoving beer in a backpack at the super market is largely determined by age.
But wait there’s more. We still needed more. So after I picked up my daughter from school, we went to another store, where I bought another 12 beers. And a box of cookies. Buying nothing but cookies and beer at the store, with your kid, just before dinner time… well, again we got some more looks.
Back home the party began and somehow it came up that in preparation of the event, I’d bought 90 beers. Our guests were confused and so we had one of those awkward Croatian moments where everyone repeats the number back to me in Croatian and then I worry that maybe I said it wrong, so I have to count to 20 real quick in my head and make sure I said 90 and not 19. I was relieved that they all seemed to think this was excessive (even by Croatian standards), my wife had wanted to me to get an even 100. And if I hadn’t and we’d somehow run out… well, let’s just say, then Halloween would be really scary.
But then I got a little nervous because on hearing we had 90 beers, my friend, neighbor and former military guy, Mirko, narrowed his eyes and slowly nodded his head, as if saying ‘Interesting… Challenge accepted!’ In the end though we were left with 61 beers… lesson learned?