oh, it is that time of the year again. i always swear that this holiday season i will save myself from excess, i will not max my credit cards, buy useless gifts, eat the cookies and candy from the gift box, attend office parties and go on blind dates set up by my 85 yr old patients. yet i am on a bus, getting ready for a party while fervently hopping that the cash bar at the place also accepts credit cards.
well, it is not my fault really. things start creeping up slowly, almost unnoticeably. the first box of cookies makes a demure appearance on top of the office counter, shyly flirting with me anytime i fax something. and then there is a wonderful dress that would look magnificent on my sister the poor soul, who’s had such a hard time with her mother in-law lately and needs some cheering up. how about that pocket calendar with faux leather skin for my uncle? it’s cheap!
there are several party invitations that i have said no to already, rightly thinking that if i go, i’ll have to spend money on something (my pride being what it is, i have to pay for my own drinks!!!). but they like me and they ask again and i can’t say no and off i go, buying clothes on the run and putting on my make-up on the express bus. as for my hair, i pray for a Christmas miracle, promising, just promising i’ll be such a good girl next year…
the phone rings. i pause in mid eye-lining and pick up. yes, it is that wonderful woman who shows up at every activity i organize and chats the room up. she could sell combs to the bald that one. so she proceeds to sell me a perfect “candidate” only 40 years old, mind you, no college but come on, why does a man need college for anyway, taller than me, sweetheart who does his own laundry and has papers. i should act soon too for i am not getting any younger and he will get snapped up by three hundred other single women my matchmaker has in her little black book. and he comes with his own car.
i do not know how do i say no to that, but i finally get my well meaning lady off the phone and finish with the make-up. the stops come, i get off and into the party, a full swinging affair with the creme de la creme of the Albanian American Professionals living and thriving in NYC, apparently all dying to network with each-other.
i like the fact that so many young Albos finally get the courage to come out from under the stones and burrows of corporate and declare their will to know and acknowledge each-other. i do not know why we are kind of afraid and cautious when we meet each-other, a bit lost and shy, and just hoping that that vodka and cranberry kicks in so we can start talking before the other people die from boredom.
people of all stages of emigration are here. there is the second and third generation Albos and Halfsies, (who only know a word but are so proud of it), first generation Albos like yours truly, who are finally fledged and can now discuss stocks and NY clubs without a trace of the old party-with-a-radio/singalong we used to have once upon a time, the relative newcomers, still on green cards and on their waiter-writer-poet-artist-journalist-doorman-cashier phase, and F-O-Bs who have absolutely no idea where they are and why, but either shyly smile at everyone and murmur when spoken to, or corner an unsuspecting victim and keep them hostage all night with their own versions of politics and history.
i am embarrassed to say i know more than half the people here tonight. i know the organizers of course, a merry bunch with a gorgeous reticent banker, who is apparently the non-head of the loosely called network, the lovable one who gallantly offers my shivering friend his scarf while she smokes and shivers outside, some smashing beauties girls and boys who have brains too, (curiouser and curiouser) etc. etc. yes they are young, professional and on their way to “making it”, an appealing image that has lured together a lot of people here tonight, with apparently no other desire rather then networking with their AM-Alb peers. some consider them too uppity but i like what they offer. i mean, of course the angles of noses and foreheads will not go away, but at least they are nicely coiffed and buffed, and there is absolutely no Guido-like.
*OK there is one short and rough subhuman who is sporting metal leather jacket, grey checkered woolly sweater and gold chain underneath, accessorised with (what else) duck tail teased hair and cowboy boots with longer toes than his stature. but he might have a wonderful personality, who knows.
the point is, these people throw good events, for other people to participate in and flog their agendas. for example, my friend and chevalier for the evening has come to hook up with any tall thin albo beauty he can lay his hands on and dazzle with his vast knowledge and wisdom. (the same attitude that had him remain a virgin until 35). instead, he corners a second generation investment looking type and bombs him with his political views. focus man, focus.
i adopt a frightened looking girl in the corner who wants so much to get introduced, get asked for drinks, discuss passionately about philosophy and love, get married and ride into the sunset with her blue prince. well, maybe not all at the same night. so i do introduce her to people, before i finish my kissing and hugging round of the place. strangely, one of the women i have always admired and envied, a tall, thin and gorgeous brunette with brains the size of australia, announces the tick of her biological clock and her official entry in the husband chase. i wish her all the best thinking that if she can’t find a date…anyway, here comes the most formidable nose in history, topped by a dome forehead and no hair. wow, i’ve known this person for so many years and he never fails to resemble uriah heep, nosferatu or lugat. brrr, creep.
i am happy to see that the short one with the delicate glasses has already been paired off. he was wilting the last time i saw him. my old girlfriend is blooming too. she looks great, all poised and important, and keeps on refusing boys offers. ah yes, the lawyer with the overlay is on the prowl again. he can never find a girl to save his life. i do not know why since he apparently has a lot around. maybe he is one of those married stiffs, leading a double life and trying to forget the kids and wife at home. maybe he is just helpless.
i see two people hand over resumes. i think they will get hired too. good, the party is not a complete waste for them. i give business cards, and collect business cards, a bit guiltily because i still feel like an impostor. i mean, little old me? anyway, i am glad i came and met with people again, the usual party goers who salute each-other with ‘look she/he is here too” kind of look.
my friend, the desperate wife seeker managed to lose another night amongst so many desperate and husbandless girls, so he offers to drive me home. God is truly watching over me, i know. his car is old style, big, roomy well kept, and i feel like a princess being driven in it. then i remember that i still haven’t managed to get my license. aggrrhhh! something so mundane, yet so difficult. i need my head examined.
yes i liked the party tonight, and i am happy something like this is available, together with the belly-dancing, booty shaking, drinking and carousing of the other style Albanian parties. i think it is great that people can actually exchange information freely, barter and scheme for jobs and hook-ups with their fellow Albanians who are otherwise inaccessible to one another. but that is only my opinion.
on the fifth day of Christmas, APEN brought to me…
thirty three brokers, twenty insurance people
fifteen business students,
three personal investers,
one good party…
(even if they call it eveeent)