My friend is having a 90s karaoke birthday party and one of my favorite topics of discussion is what everyone will sing.
I will sing Spice Girls, but only with a group who knows which girl they are.
I will sing Jewel, but only on a stool with a spotlight on me.
I will sing You Oughta Know, but only with every bit of feeling I have in my soul.
When I announce this to people, I then begin to sing, in a harsh, staccato voice to demonstrate what a treat they are in for:
People start to get scared eyes, especially at the part where I scream, “Does she know that you told me you’d hold me until you died? Til you died? But you’re still alive!”
When my audience starts to look for escape routes I know I’ve really channeled the spirit of Alanis.
I’m going to say it and get it over with:
You Oughta Know is the best song of all time.
It’s not my favorite song of all time, but it’s the best song of all time.
Just like 4 Weddings is not my favorite Hugh Grant movie but is my favorite Hugh Grant.
Are you following?
These things always make sense in my head.
Two weeks ago I decided I was going to become a banana trifle person. I had an “easy” recipe, the right ingredients, and the internet assurances of dozens of others that I could, indeed, accomplish this task.
“This is so exciting now that I’m the banana trifle lady,” I told Rob.
“The banana trifle lady?” he said.
“The woman that everyone knows makes the best banana trifle. Invite Jill over! She’ll bring that majesty of a banana trifle! That Nobel Peace Prize of a dish!” I said.
“Oh,” he said.
“The woman whose trifle is mentioned in her obituary, who passes her secrets on to her grandchildren, who whips up a trifle just for the fun of it on a Tuesday afternoon because the sun is bright and the bananas are ripe,” I said.
“Oh,” he said.
“Oh oh!” I said.
One week later and with a bowl of as-yet-unable-to-be-whipped heavy whipping cream, I sent a defeated text to several friends, “I’m not going to be the banana trifle lady.”
Exactly what type of lady I am is yet to be determined.
I think I’m a hostess. I think I like hosting? Is this real?
I’m trying to gauge myself to see if it’s true.
I think I like hosting under certain conditions. I like hosting when it’s people I know very well.
I like hosting with Rob.
That’s what it comes down to, I think.
Rob told me several years ago that he was waiting for the time when his peers stopped going to bars and started going to dinner patties. That would be his time.
And so it is.
Rob is such an excellent cook. It’s the Italian in him, I think. He loves being in the kitchen. He loves feeding me. He can list everything I’ve eaten of his,when I ate it, how much I liked it.
For instance, the first thing he cooked me is bacon.
Caitlin claims she knew we were MFEO that day, The Bacon Day, but I think that’s a dramatic revision of history. And I think just typing that makes me all sad for the days when Caitlin was my roommate and Rob was making me bacon and my life was changing and I didn’t even know it.
Rob and I have been in charge of some events lately. Getting our feet wet in the hosting scene, if you will.
We threw Hilary a birthday party last week. Rob made an elaborate breakfast spread. I sat on the couch and created a playlist based on the year of her birth and wrapped her carefully chosen present and make sure the Diet Coke drawer was full.
“So you did nothing,” my brother said when he heard about our night.
So I did nothing.
Except no! I’m sorry. On behalf of all people everywhere whose skills aren’t tangible I want to say our contributions are real. 90s playlists are real. So are conversational skills.
After Rob cooks he sits down, tired. I take the conversation from there. ”You’re good at it,” he says. And I do like it. I love a good conversation. I love asking people odd questions, finding out their Elevator People or their 90s karaoke songs. I love staying up all night laughing and debating and answering questions that never need to be answered in the first place.
So I did nothing for the dinner party.
But then I did everything.
OK, maybe not everything.
Rob did a lot. But I did things, too.
And we both think we got the better end of the deal.