Every Party Ends Eventually, or The Oatmeal Bath

Every party ends eventually.

For some, it ends with a diploma.

For others, it ends with a baby’s wail.

Some parties end at the altar.

For many, it ends at the grave.

I have a few friends out there right now who are trying to trade in jager for mochas. They are working hard to change their lifestyles – or at least get more sleep. Some more of us have already left the party, but the invitations keep rolling in, and when the night is lonely and life is boring and nothing much is happening……well, occasionally there is a mighty itch that’s nearly impossible to not scratch.

So, for those searching for relief in the oatmeal bath of the sober(ish) life – this blog’s for you. (Well, this post is anyway, but “post” sounds nothing like “Bud” so the flow didn’t work as well – if you’re gonna use a tired cliche, you might as well be precise about it.)

It always helps me to have a framework to use to work through my thoughts. So let’s explore this concept of chilling out by condensing a lifetime into one party night with a wicked soundtrack. (And yes, if you click on the song you can go straight to the YouTube video.)

Stage 1: Should I Stay of Should I Go? – The Clash

  • “If I go there will be trouble/and if I stay it will be double.”
  • The invitation has arrived, or the parents have taken off for the weekend. Either way, there is a potential party in the making. Maybe your friends are interested; maybe you’ll be going this one solo. It doesn’t matter – you get to make the choice, right now, about whether to embark on this adventure. And from where you’re standing, it looks like all fun.

Stage 2: Here I Am (Come and Take Me) – UB40

  • “Take me by the hand / ooh show me, show me what you can.”
  • You have arrived, now it is time to find your place. Are you the host? The bicycle? The hired help? The mediator? The outcast? The dancer? There’s a category for you, however cool or lame you are, but it takes awhile to really settle into your role. Meanwhile, you’ve got to meet people, make instant friends who will soon become lasting enemies, blow off the people who don’t fit in with the crowd you want to have and then later cement solid relationships with them, be a fool, make a fool of someone else – all those little things that build your persona, piece by agonizing piece.

Stage 3: I Love College – Asher Roth

  • “I danced my ass off and had this one girl completely naked / Drink my beer and smoke my weed but my good friends is all I need…”
  • Life is good!!! And you are on top of it!! You’ve found your place, the music is rockin’, the beer is flowing, and the action is heating up. You are the center of creation, the best dancer/rock band drummer/singer/beer bonger/hook-up/source of entertainment (of all types) of them all, the ultimate in manic merriment. Your friends are right there with you and your significant other (or others) is loving the ride. Life can’t get any better than this.

Stage 4: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

  • And then you realize….life really can’t get any better than this. And it kinda sucks. And what’s the point? And why are you doing this? And what are you getting out of it? You’re not any wiser, any more secure, any stronger, any better than you were before you came. And you’re pretty tired. And your friends are idiots. And your better half is off with some other person getting it on in the corner where God and everybody can watch. And you’re broke. And that blathering idiot (every party has one) won’t shut up and stop bothering people no matter how many Klonopins you slip into his drink. Your ride home from the party is passed out drunk, or too many other people are having fun to leave your house. And the solution is….party harder. ‘Cause the better high, the brighter enlightenment, the perfect person is waiting, waiting – just out of reach. You’re sure of it.

Stage 5: Dim – Dada (My theme song during high school, incidentally)

  • “Can’t this car go any faster? / Can’t this car go any faster? / Can’t this car go any faster? (faster faster) / Can’t this car go ’cause I CAN STILL SEE WHERE I AM.”
  • No matter how hard you party or how quietly you hide, you can’t get away from yourself. Or the demons chasing you. Or the friends who would bring you down. Or the cops that the neighbors called when a bottle came through their bedroom window. You aren’t even enjoying the party anymore – you’re just praying you get out of it without dying, going crazy, or going to jail.

Stage 6: Black – Pearl Jam

  • “And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass/ of what was everything…”
  • It’s crumbling. Your friends are deserting you in droves, either because they are out of control, or you are. It makes no damn sense, and you can’t remember how you got here from where you started. Time for it all to end. You back out, back off, walk home or kick everyone out. No one leaves with you; no one stays.

Stage 7: Bob – NOFX

  • “He spent 15 years getting loaded / 15 years ’till his liver exploded / What’s Bob gonna do now that he can’t drink?….He said, ‘That’s the point. / I wasn’t thinkin’ ’bout nothin’/ Now I gotta do something else.'”
  • The hunt begins, to find out who and what you are not that you’ve left the scene of the party. Can you be the same person, even if you aren’t doing the same things? Can you really change? Do you really believe what you thought you did, or are you returning to your older values? Creating new values? Why won’t your friends understand that you are still just the same as you ever were, just without all the slurring? Or that you’ve changed completely? Where the f– did everybody go?

Stage 8: Wore Out the Soles of My Party Boots – NOFX

  • “Everybody wants to drag me up again, I wanna go, but the price keeps going up / Going down is simple and practical, laying low but keeping it cynical / I’m on the wagon but it’s such a drag…”
  • Ah well. It’s lonely. It’s different. It starts out a little boring. But you are set and determined to chill. Maybe you show up for class. Or run out and grab a mocha. Or audition for community theater. Or agree to change the diapers for once.  Regardless of what it is, something happens that gives you a new focus. You meet new people. If you’re really lucky, the people you meet have been through it all, too. You can finally relax and find out how to enjoy life after the excitement of the party is done.

Stage 9: This Used to Be My Playground – Madonna (HA! Didn’t see that one coming, did you?)

  • “Live and learn / well the years they flew / and we never knew / we were foolish then…/ Can’t say goodbye to yesterday…/No regrets…”
  • And one day, you look back at that party and realize that you did have a good time for a good part of it. And you did get something out of it. And you are wiser and stronger and safer and better because of it all. And you did meet some really awesome people. And you would like to check in with some of those old friends again, see how they’re doing, reminisce about the craziness and the liveliness and the wonderfulness of it all. You’ll never go back, but you won’t resent the people who are still going, either. Because you realize it was all to the good in the end, and different people can be at different places, and it’s all good. You know what you want and what you’re willing to do – or NOT do – to get it. Nobody can drag you away from that.

Not everyone goes through all of these stages, of course. Some people loop through the same stages again and again. Some people stay longer at one stage than another. To each his own.

But for those who, like me, followed or are following this path – enjoy the soundtrack. ‘Cause it might hurt a lot sometimes, but it’s still life – and the struggle and the pain and the joy of it all. And if you ever start itching, check in with me – because my oatmeal bath is big enough for all of us (*wink). Here’s your song:

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel

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~ by gypsyjonga on June 10, 2009.

6 Responses to “Every Party Ends Eventually, or The Oatmeal Bath”

  1. Thank you Jenny! I am one of those who has traded well. not Jager, but Stoli, for not mocha’s but just about anything coffee related. There are many lonely nights where I would much rather be doing what I used to consider fun, and then I rembember the pain, the trouble and the heartache. I have found a solution to my problems today and it is not with alcohol.

  2. I had a really eerie moment reading this, I was listening to Slacker radio while reading this and a song by Pink called Sober came on…

    “Ah, the sun is blindin’
    I stayed up again
    Oh, I am findin’
    That’s not the way I want my story to end

    I’m safe up high, nothing can touch me
    But why do I feel this party’s over?
    No pain inside, you’re my protection
    But how do I feel this good sober?”

    That was really weird! I’ll take being sober any day and I imagine the people around me would prefer that as well :). But I think I would have always taken anything over Jager even when I was partying. I love the connection between the stages and the songs. “Enjoy the Soundtrack ‘Cause it’s going to hurt but it’s still life” Words to live by!

    • ah! our psychic connection has manifested yet again! thanks for the “Sober” lyrics. I don’t think I’ve ever actually listened to that song before, but now I’m going to add it to my personal soundtrack…

  3. Really great read, and the Madonna song was a nifty twist. My party days were rather inglorious, so for me, the trade off wasn’t all that hard. I switched booze and cigs for fundamentalism, found that to be an even worse addiction (it doesn’t really offer much when life turns to crap), and eventually found solace in being who I was created to be. What I hated about the party scene, and about my life when I left it, was the pretension.

    Now, I get to be me. My wife and kids love me, and finally, that’s all that matters.

    Great read, Jenny.

    • Thanks, Jason! I’ve seen others make the same journey you just described. Thanks for sharing that path as well and for the point about pretension. You’re exactly right.

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