Over the past weekend, I had an absolute blast celebrating the birthday of one of my buddies. You always know it’s bound to be a good time when multiple friends can make it over for some late gaming, good food, and a great selection of craft beers.
And in fact, that’s exactly what transpired at
our place. What made it so great in particular was that we were able to have a
lot of fun with a new video game that just released last Friday. Considering it
was something that we all had never played before, we were all on a similar
footing and were able to navigate the world of the game together, often doing
raids with one another thanks to wireless play.
Of course, once the weekend was over, there was a
bit of work to be done. I’m never a fan of hosting mini get-togethers since it
inevitably means cleaning up after your guests. Nonetheless, I tried to predict
this and avoid messes, left out dishes, and other similar things so that the
mess would be manageable after everyone happened to leave. To my surprise,
there were just a few cardboard boxes to pick up, electronics to put back where
they belong, and just a handful of craft beer cans that were still in the
basement. I’d chock that up as a win.
It’s times like these with close friends that
make me realize I need to do it much more often. It’s not that I need to (or
even want to!) meet up with them every single weekend, or even every other
weekend. But being able to hang out like that once every month or two would
sincerely make me feel closer with my friends while also being able to kick
back and truly enjoy myself from time to time.
Of course, doing so means more cleanup after I
have them over, but the great thing is picking up cardboard boxes and empty
cans is a fantastically simple chore compared to mopping up actual messes from “parties” that people
like to get pretty wild at. I’m the type of person to go with a much more
mellow and chill gathering rather than force something you’d only experience
while in college. The fact that some of my friends still like to do such
partying blows my mind, but I suppose that’s a part of aging and realizing what
you enjoy in life and what you don’t.
I always love it when November rolls around, if only because it signals two things: my birthday and the upcoming winter holidays.
I’ve always been a fan of my birthday landing in
the middle of November simply because it starts off a great sequence of
holidays and days off of relaxing and lounging. In fact, it’s the perfect way
to “wind down” the remainder of the year before starting it back up again in
full force when January rolls around.
So for next week when I have buddies over, I plan
to pretty much play video games in my basement with them on 3 different TVs.
This will be the perfect setup for gaming and hanging out all weekend, and we
won’t have to bother my partner who will most likely remain upstairs the
majority of the time. It works for us and it works for her.
But one thing I know I’ll have to take care of
prior to my birthday weekend is cleaning up the basement. It’s not necessarily
that it’s a “mess”, per se. Rather, there just happens to be extra folded
laundry down there (since that’s where our laundry appliances are) as well as a
lot of old cardboard boxes full of belongings that are being kept in storage.
If I can put all the laundry away, consolidate the storage boxes, and do a
quick sweep through of loose items and whatever else needs picked up, it’ll be
ready to go.
There’s also the fact that I’ll want to have
multiple televisions set up down there. Unfortunately for me, my basement only
has one outlet, so I’m forced to rig up multiple extension cords and drop cords
to be able to run multiple TVs. While this sounds super crammed at first, it’s
really not that bad thanks to the multiple cords spread out along the basement
(in a manner that won’t cause anyone to trip, of course).
From there, it’s just configuring the table and
my small home entertainment stand to make sure all TVs face the couch and none
of those aforementioned cardboard boxes full of things are in the way. Throw in
a thorough sweeping and dusting and I’ll have brought the basement together
quite nicely so that everything is ready to go ahead of time.
I’m sure a lot of people don’t spend their
birthday this way, but it’s what I prefer to do this year (and it helps that a
new game is dropping on the day after my birthday, so it only makes sense to
enjoy the weekend appropriately).
As society moves forward, we’re beginning to learn more and more about different diets, food allergies, and other dietary restrictions in kids, adults, and seniors. This means that restaurants have a heightened awareness of food labels and labeling their own menus, and it also means taking specific orders very seriously and to the exact point. Any single mess up could mean the business is sued or worse: a patron could become severely ill or even die from mishandled food.
A lot of people have taken up arms in this new
era, considering some of these dietary restrictions as needless or extra, and
they’re quick to point the finger at political correctness. Whatever it is,
being PC has caused scores of people to get offended by having to be more
careful about what they say and how they say it. I’m guessing it’s because
everyone seems to hate change, and having to change up the way they speak for
the sake of others (oh the horror!) has caused them some sort of distress.
Nonetheless, back to dietary restrictions. With
Halloween here, I told my partner that it would be great to offer some sort of
alternative to handouts given on Halloween night. Since so many different candy
boxes are full of too much sugar or have dairy products or even tree nuts in
them, it’s better to err on the side of caution and hand out little crafts or
stickers instead. Since nonfood items can still be enjoyed, there’s no worrying
about what kids may have certain allergies to certain foods.
So, instead of handing out jawbreakers and milk
chocolate bars and an assortment of candy boxes, I think we’re going to be
content buying a hodge podge of little stickers online off Etsy, and we may
even knit our own little spooky ghost figures or bats. I know a lot of kids
look forward to the sweets they get on October 31st, but considering they’ll
get plenty of candy from other
neighbors, I feel better knowing I didn’t cause some unwanted food reaction
while also handing out something memorable to the kids.
See, being aware of food allergens and dietary
restrictions isn’t hard at all. All it takes is some thoughtfulness and
willingness to switch up the norms to accommodate others. I don’t see why this
is such a big deal to so many people, but I have a sneaking suspicion it all
rides on having to go out of your way to help out another person. And that, for
some reason, is too hard to do.