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Christmas Party Quirks.

Still quirky after all these years.

Ah, the start of the holiday season. It brings with it the endless invitations to gatherings at the houses of friends and family.

Now I was never a real big fan of these parties, and it's not for the lack of the Christmas spirit. It was great seeing and talking with relatives that I did not see on a regular basis. Then there was the sampling the excellent home made dishes and wine.

Anyone that has ever been to an Italian/Sicilian house during the holidays can testify to the abundance and variety of food. Now as a youngster and a pre-teen I was driven to these functions by my parents which meant that I had to stay as long as they did.

I wasn't old enough to drink and smoking was forbidden. As I had no old war stories to share I became bored real quick. Thankfully my Father was not a social animal and he never wanted to stay too long much to my Mom's dismay.

 When I finally got my drivers license and purchased my own car I was able to drive myself to these gatherings. However my attendance at these parties changed as I was now subject to my work schedule and my own driving quirks.

Yep, quirks concerning my car. I still have them and they did not diminish with age. At one of the first Christmas parties I drove myself to everything was fine until I decided to leave.

There had been one open slot in the driveway when I arrived so I took it. An hour or so later when I decided to take my leave I discovered that someone had pulled in behind me and blocked my exit.

Now there wasn't a full space behind me after I parked so I figured I was safe. The person that had pulled in behind was an inch or so from my rear bumper. His car was blocking the sidewalk and the apron of the driveway. The rear end of his car was just inches from the curb lane. 

I went back inside and located the owner and I asked him to please move his vehicle. I was polite about it as my parents were present and I did not wish to embarrass them.

"Come on kid, I just got here. Can't you wait a minute?" the owner of the car complained.

So I waited. I watched him circle the room and greet everyone and engage each of them in a brief one or two minute conversation. He took his sweet old time at the buffet table making his selections before he took a seat at the big dinner table and commenced to stuff himself with food and drink.

It seemed that he had forgotten about my request and my patience finally ran out. A half an hour later I donned my coat and headed back outside. I knew a way to get him to move.

My vehicle at that time was a customized Chevy Nova Coupe. It had a powerful modified engine complete with a Holly 750 double pumper, an Elderbrock high rise manifold, Isky cam and Hooker Headers with Thrush outsiders.

If these terms are alien to you, then ask your father for an explanation. If you're under twenty-one, you might be better off asking your grandfather.

I fired the engine up and briefly stood on the accelerator. That's was the street racing term of the day for holding the gas pedal to the floor allowing the engine to rev. The powerful engine's roar rattled the windows and shattered the night air.

A second later the owner of the vehicle blocking me flew out the door, he didn't look too happy. He was an older male that I had met when I was younger. He was younger than my Father and was not family. So all civilities were off the table now that there were no witnesses.

"Christ kid, you in that big a fukin hurry?" he snarled as he stood there facing me.

"I asked you better than a half an hour ago to let me out and you told me to wait a minute. But you were so busy eating, drinking and running your mouth that you forgot," I informed him.

"You need to learn some patience and some manners," he snarled again and balled his fists slightly.

I laughed inside. This man still saw me as an overweight and timid teenager and not a young adult that spent the last three years as a bouncer in a tough dance club.

"I have no patience with stupidity. Now if you want to teach me some manners you will need to bring friends, lots of them," I responded back with a snarl.

He decided to move his car without further discussion. I was told later that when he went back inside he whined like a little girl about our interaction.

"If he weren't your son I'd have clocked him," he told my father.

"Don't let that stop you. I don't have to fight his battles," Dad responded.

The host reminded him that I did ask nicely for him to move his car.

That lesson has remained with me to this day and now whenever I attend a party I always park in the street. Even if it means trudging through knee deep snow in frigid temperatures and parking a block away.

At one party there were no parking spaces available on the street, so I headed to the corner gas station. They told me that their parking lot reserved for customers only. When I produced a ten dollar bill I was welcomed to park all night if I needed to.

Soon others began also to take up my practice of parking in the street. In fact one year the only cars in the driveway belonged to the host and hostess and the same bozo that had blocked me in a few years ago.

"I got the whole driveway to myself, just like I was a VIP," he announced.

"You ain't no VIP. No one wants to wait on your ass to move your vehicle so they can leave," a drunken guest responded amid chuckles from the others.

Another quirk is my coat. I remove it upon entering and hold it in my lap for the duration of my time there. I thank the host for their offers of securing it but inform them that I prefer to hold onto it.

I didn't add that by doing this I don't have to rummage through a mountain of garments on someone's bed looking for my jacket when I was ready to leave.

There was another reason for this quirk. At one gathering the placing of coats in the spare bedroom fell to one of the host's children. When it was time for me to leave I discovered that my car keys were no longer in the pocket.

Panic stricken I tore through a mountain of outer garments searching for my missing keys. Then knowing kids the way I do I got down on all fours and located them under the bed. I had surmised that he simply threw my jacket on the bed and didn't hear them jingle as they fell out of my pocket. That's why my coat stays with me.

The nonsmoking parties are another quirk. Now I don't mind standing in the sub-zero temperatures while I indulge in my habit. What irks me is the comments I get when I step back inside. These complaints are usually from the same people that were once two and three pack a day folk.

I often reminded them that there use to be a thick cloud of cigarette smoke above their heads as the sat and drank. Now I get nasty comments about the faint smell of smoke clinging to my clothes, and it is a faint. Standing outside on a windy Winter night doesn't allow for much to cling to you.

"I'm allergic to cigarette smoke," one guest told me.

"No, you're not. You just don't like the smell. It makes your eyes water and gives you the urge to cough and whine like a baby," I respond.

The whine like a baby line never goes over with the people it is directed toward, through I have received laughter from using it. 

"Oh, are you a doctor?" one sarcastically asks.

"No. But I have had intense medical training as part of my job. I have been trained to spot an allergic reaction."

"Know it all cop," is usually the next comment.

My other quirk is when its time for me to depart. I don't make a big deal about it and announce it as others do. I thank the host and hostess for their invite and wish them a Merry Christmas and manage to slip out the door.

Despite all my quirks I enjoy the parties and will attend as long as I am invited. May you enjoy yours quirk free.

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