Before I was old enough to drive, my friends and I used to have what those of us who grew up in the suburbs affectionately referred to as “sleepover parties.” Each week or so we’d all gather at somebody’s house, have dinner, play basketball, maybe see a movie and eventually sprawl out in someone’s living room or basement to goof around until someone’s dad would come downstairs in his underwear and scare us all to sleep (which was usually followed by an inappropriate collective group laugh and an encore appearance by Dad). And while staying up to 1 AM seemed pretty badass at the time, in retrospect, it was a relatively innocent time, before sex, drugs and, rock ‘n roll truly infiltrated my social circle.
I’m a big fan of the sleepover party, not so much because I liked sleeping on someone’s floor (though those sleepless night did prepare me for life on the road with Phish), but because I enjoyed the after midnight talks I used to have with my friends back when girls first shed their cooties and hair first started to grow in strange and unusual places. As I’ve said time and time again, my brain usually wakes up when most of the world is sleeping and I often wished I could fast forward through the basketball, the movie and the obligatory parental scolding and start my night right at the late night talks. I made some of my best friends while working the sleepover party circuit (I hereby tip my hat to you Jon, Jon, Dave, Dan, Kirk, Devin, Tom, Dyer, Nick, John M., Dan, Chris and even Andy, though he usually refused to sleep on the floor and held court on the sofa) and truly believe you can tell a lot about who someone will become by their sleepover party persona: the kid who falls asleep way before everyone else and ends up with marker on his head tends to get married before all his friends to a woman who most definitely holds the marker in their relationship, the kid who gets hopped up on too much sugar and ends up running around the room telling dirty jokes usual ends up getting hopped up on other types of uppers (or becoming an actor), and, I suspect, the kid who starts mumbling random words in his sleep will end up having a midlife crisis and buying a new motorcycle and/or wife. Of course, there’s also the kid who gets up before everyone else in the morning and feels it’s his civic duty to systematically wakeup everyone else in the room, like a dog licking his master’s face for attention. I always secretly hated that kid, who enviably grew into the type of co-worker or boss who feels it is necessary to call you on your cell when you take a personal day with a “quick question.”
I distinctly remember my last “real” sleepover party. Andy came over, we played basketball, caught a movie and settled in for a late night talk and, when we were done overanalyzing some girl situation that seemed like the end of the world at the time (but is now a footnote in this here blog), he said, “you know I think I am going to drive home and stay in my own bed” and he did. After that night, the sleepover party was replaced by the drunken pass out, the post-show crash and, with more girls than I’d like, the plutonic spoon (an oxymoronic statement if I ever heard one, but that my friends is the subject of another blog altogether).