I don't know these people - have never even spoken to them - so how do I know their kids' ages? Easy. They've had THREE major outdoor parties / family get-togethers since they moved in less than 3 months ago, the first of which was probably a housewarming. The other two were a graduation party and now a birthday party (taking place now, as I type this) for the 3-yr-old.
The graduation party was an evening bonfire and cookout. Looked like there were at least 30 people over there, mostly standing around or wandering in and out of the house. The 3-yr-old's party, though..... Sheesh. They've got TWO grills fired up and 3 different sets of long tables and chairs arranged in the back yard, over which they've erected those 4-cornered canvas awning/tent things (don't know what they're called). Seriously, it looks like they're expecting 50+ guests (their driveway is long but not THAT long, and there's no parking on the street around here, so - yeah. Good luck with that)! And, of course, the dogs are running around like wild-things, barking their fool heads off.
Thankfully(?) it's a rather muggy day and I have my window A/C unit going, which means the windows are shut and the noise from next door is (somewhat) blunted. Still.... Why is it that every place I've ever lived (first home, second home, now the duplex) I wind up next door to someone who loves/lives to party? As often as possible. With as many people as possible?
As always, I watch these proceedings (and I am not a voyeur, peeking through the blinds or pressing my ear to the wall. Rather, it's impossible NOT to witness these events when they're taking place so frequently and less than 30 feet away from my windows!) with a combination of grudging tolerance and lonely wistfulness. 90% of me couldn't be forced at gunpoint to a get-together like that - making inane small-talk, swatting insects away from my warm potato salad and cold Sloppy Joe - and that same part of me is insanely glad I'm no longer married to my ex (because that could just as easily be *his* family over there, and probably IS, somewhere)! The other 10%, though, feels left out and stupid and socially awkward and not wanted and.....
Why do people WANT to get together so often, and HOW are they able to just do it so easily? I hate gatherings like that - hate them with a passion. Doesn't matter whether it's my own family/friends or someone else's. And I realize it's me, not them. I'M the one with the issues, clearly, not them. So I'm not faulting anyone for getting together - regardless of the occasion - and having fun(?) but I've just never understood how or why they're able to do it so easily and so often. I glance over next door and they're laughing and mingling and staying for hours and having a good time. If I *were* over there, I would NOT be having a good time. I would be obviously uncomfortable one in the corner, trying to plan my exit as soon as possible and while I don't really want to be more outgoing, sometimes I wish I could be and I'm ....well, I do realize I'm not making a lot of sense, here.
[cross-posted to introverts]