It’s Just a Friendly BBQ


As I chaotically flip through the clothes hanging in my closet searching for the kind of outfit that says I care — but not really that much — I panic and swear again this will be my last barbeque. I have thirty minutes to get ready and won’t make it.

The towel tucked around my body keeps sliding off and I’m wearing curlers. You remember the large, foamy, sphere shaped cylinders that grandma wears. It’s one of my little secrets, these trusty grandma curlers. I’ve ruined my freshly painted toe-nails, lines of bright pink smear all over the carpet (which I decide to deal with later) and I have to place my feet, one at a time, on my vanity and re-apply while rummaging through the closet with my free hand and not lose my balance.

I’ve managed to somehow set off the smoke alarm grilling salmon, so I drop the nail polish and run into the kitchen in a frenzy, as curlers fall off my head and roll down the uneven floors where they hide under the bed. I can’t find them, even after hunching over and using a flashlight I got to work by hitting hard three times — still nothing.

Barbeques stress me out.


I’m meeting tons of my new boyfriend’s friends tonight at this gathering of people in the backyard and I’m getting extreme anxiety. I feel it building up inside me and I’m suddenly a frail little polka dot tea kettle. Water boils inside me, at first calmly, and then like the weather, a passionate fire blazes so astronomical it’s detected from satellites orbiting earth, and the steam causes the kettle to scream piercing holes through my skin.

Maybe I have problems, but the idea of gathering around someone’s yard, hovering over the table of some chips and dip, chips and guacamole, and a veggie platter until I decide on scooping up some macaroni salad and pretzels while conversing with a stranger wearing Tevas whose happily filling up a blue plastic cup of strawberry punch and asking what I do for a living kind of, like, depresses me.

I end up being awkward on accident. I will definitely break something — which happened.

As soon as I arrived, I started talking with one of the guys from that movie X-Men (which I didn’t see, but was pre-warned who he was, so I got nervous), when my arm flung somewhere awkwardly and I broke something ceramic. It shattered all over the floor. I thankfully saw a girl I knew filling up a blue plastic cup of punch, so I grabbed a blue cup and joined her at the bowl before realizing I was profusely sweating. I avoided hand shaking and hugs because I’m now a soaking wet wreck pretending not to be having a panic attack.

I’m trying to make a good impression. I’d like my boyfriend’s friends to like me, but my worst always seems to come out at these friendly barbeques. I mean, why not have a dinner party at a restaurant? Why not avoid the macaroni salad and fruit punch all together?

Thankfully they had an outdoor fireplace, and my boyfriend didn’t seem to notice all my awkward social mishaps.


No more barbeques. This time I swear.

Alice can be reached at

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Tales of a Toluca Lake Actress

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