Jesse Tise

Being friends of a friend can get you invited to a stranger’s housewarming party where you don’t know anyone—not even from Facebook—and your friend cancels after you’ve arrived. Despite what you might assume, attending random people’s parties can be a risky gig. It’s not the same risk as a surgeon, firefighter, or soldier, but entering the home of a stranger without knowing how they spend their time, what music they like (it’s always trance), or what food they have is precarious in its own right.

The dimly lit apartment resembles a carpeted sex club lounge. The only lights are the “party kind” my generation would buy at Spencer’s—lights suitable to snort coke and have consensual anonymous sex by, but wholly unsuited for reading or writing. There are no decorations to imply a personal dwelling except for three large couches already populated by stylish hipsters, one low table, and a massive television screen attached to one wall.

I’m greeted by one of the other guests, because our host is in the process of moving in. Later I witness him wheeling in the largest computer tower I have ever seen.

“I’m an engineer,” he explains.

Our host has asymmetrical hair in a variety of blues, greens, and yellows—or perhaps blues, greens, and faded greens. Whatever the case, he was likely a very successful twink in his heyday.

He goes to work attaching what seems like a million wires to the monstrous tower. One side is clear, allowing the operator and their audience to take in an additional light show. A rainbow of LEDs blink and glow from within the box. As one should expect, the operating system is a series of software prompts—letters, numbers, and seemingly arbitrary punctuation.

The other guests and I watch him program and code for possibly a half hour, while debating over whether or not vorarephilia may be too kinky. Our chat is soundtracked by music synced to an ever-morphing kaleidoscopic screensaver.

At last, we play Uno! For those who may not recall the official rules of Uno!, neither do I or anyone else currently in attendance. This results in a very confusing game in which, if a player draws a card, they must continue drawing until they choose a playable one, unless that person forgets and no one else remembers until the next person has to draw. So new rule: Now everyone only has to draw one card, until someone accidentally draws three cards at the end of the deck. And if you have several cards matching the same number (or maybe the same color—it’s not always clear), you can “stack” them, which most definitely isn’t a rule of Uno!

After what seems like a lifetime, someone wins or maybe they didn’t—maybe we all just get bored. Sometimes parties are like that. I give it 5 out of 10 points.

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