html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Anand, will you <I>never</I> save me from myself?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Anand, will you never save me from myself?

It is ridiculous that I am the poster child for fun over at Unfogged. Compared to co-opers, I am reserved and prude. Compared to people at Ultimate tournaments, I am uptight and anxious and straightlaced. Last February, in Hawaii, the tournament party was held on the fields under a giant tent. A torrential rainfall started at about ten at night; within half an hour the water was shin deep. We were camping a distance away, so there was no way to tell if the campground was submerged, if our tents were drowned, if we had a place to sleep that night. I started thinking hard about our options; where could 150 Ultimate players bunk down if the rain kept up for another four hours? Did we need to get a high school gym opened? How do you arrange that? Call the sheriff?

I was working on a contingency plan for a tournament I wasn’t even organizing, but that wasn’t what most people were doing. Most people had gathered round the deepest mud. I should have guessed that mud wrestling was the obvious reaction to a warm torrential rain. I didn’t, however, expect that they would strap plastic chairs to each foot and have relay races through the pond. The crowd was cheering, deliriously happy. There was still lots of food and drink; they were young and senseless and people chasing each other on chairs is funny.

Do you know what happened to them for choosing fun in the middle of stormy chaos? NOTHING. Nothing bad happened to them that didn’t also happen to me. Their crap was soaked through and when they went to bed, they spent an uncomfortable night in a wet sleeping bag; just like them, I spent an uncomfortable night in a wet sleeping bag. There was exactly no profit in not joining the cheering crowd. They at least had fun before they slept.

That is very often true. Most times, there is no penalty for added fun. Why not sneak into empty buildings to throw a TV off the roof (with someone stationed below for safety)? Why not run giggling to Safeway, buy two cases of the cheapest soda they have, boil them, shake them, and throw them at a wall to watch them explode? Why not? Clean up the next day and there is no downside, and there was additional fun in the world. Why not throw a party that makes your guests alive and joyous and involved with their whole selves and bodies, especially if you are going to be throwing a party anyway?*

Look, gatherings to talk, on a good day with good company, can be engrossing and delightful**. I host evenings and weekends like that a fair amount. But I am going to reach higher for a real nighttime hundred-person party, because I’ve seen it work, and that mixture of moving and doing and laughing and being giddy in love with all your friends is what I live for.

*Some of you will say that standing and talking is the fun you want out of an evening; nothing gives you greater pleasure. I believe some of the people who say that, and welcome them to my smaller gatherings or to a quiet corner of my bigger parties. Others, I believe, prefer to stay detached and in control and maybe also disdainful. I am wary of remove, but when it crosses into disdain for fun, I lose all respect for that person.

**When they fall flat, they are pure drudgery.


Anonymous kablamo said...

For the record. I side with you over Unfogged. Even though I might question the sanity of someone who posted like a hundred comments to Unfogged, even if it was in the (righteous) defense of fun.

You should be like a philospher. Though I don't really know what it is that philosophers do all day. But whatever.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Kriston said...

It is ridiculous that I am the poster child for fun over at Unfogged.

Is that what you're taking away?

12:29 PM  
Anonymous t said...

Others, I believe, prefer to stay detached and in control and maybe also disdainful.

that is the heart of this whole thing. well, that and people self conscious about their body when the clothes inevitably come off. but fun, thy name is devolution (in the degeneration sense). lose the lovehandles and then lose control.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

No, that was a side issue that I found interesting, because fun is very important to me.

Or, lose the judging people's bodies, and enjoy yourself and your friends in all of their shapes. Or, stay clothed and have fun with naked people is another option I've used myself.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have love handles, according to my bathroom scale I'm under 10% body fat, and I even have abs. But there's no way in hell I'd ever be taking my clothes off in front of other people. I don't even like running around shirtless. Yuck.

And, most modern tents have a bathtub floor. So, water can come part way up the wall of the tent before hitting a seam, or non-waterproof material. Then, if you've got a little microfiber pack towel, you can dry off before climbing into your sleeping bag.


12:52 PM  
Anonymous ogged said...

Megan, this is getting ugly. The basic problem here is that your definition of "fun," this transcendent, fully-in-the-body-and-in-the-moment experience is *very* idiosyncratic, and the experience itself is very rare, so there's no way for you to talk about what it means to you and how much you like it without (at leat) implicitly denigrating what other people do when they have "fun." That would be enough to raise hackles, but the fact is that the context of this discussion isn't mysterious or private, and you can't continue having it without (at least) implicitly continuing to slam people who, by your own account, were good to you. If you want people to think that you're sincerely sorry for that, you need to stop with the talk about "fun" and try to describe this experience some other way. In the short term, you might want to drop it entirely, because, you know, folks are pissed.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

It is hard for me to drop this, because it is something I think about a lot. (That doesn't mean I can't be grownup and do that, though.) I really meant to be turning the conversation over toward a different discussion of fun, in somewhat different company. The context of that party is, in fact, not widely known by the majority of the people who read here.

There is nothing new for me to say about that first party. I had a good time, and liked the people I met. I was surprised that the goals of that party aren't the goals of the parties I am used to. After experiencing both, I like what I usually do better. I genuinely regret that the hosts are hurt and angry; I am sorry that my deliberate actions caused that.

There's a lot of virtue in dropping it, and I'm happy to do that on your forum. But I am not sure I'm done. I've gotten interested in other ways that fun shows up in my life, and might even manage to wring another too-long post out of that. There's a vein of commenters who have shared my views on this, and I am sorta interested in whether there are commonalities between us. I've talked about fun for months, so I hope that people would see that I am not only bringing it up to tweak my hosts. Or maybe people who aren't part of the infighting are fucking bored, and I should find something new.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have too much on your mind. Take another drink.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous M/tch M/lls said...

Non-obnoxious Megan:

I went to a party in DC this weekend. The hosts were very nice and there were a lot of really interesting and smart people there, but I didn't stay very long, it really wasn't my scene. I think part of it was that it was pretty different from the type of large party I'm used to. Still, everyone else there seemed to have a great time, judging by the pictures, blog posts, and comments put up afterwards.

But it got me thinking about the particular kind of party I like to throw, and of the ways I've figured out, over years of attending, observing, and putting on such parties, to help make them maximally successful.

Now, my number one goal when I throw a huge party is to have fun. And by fun, I mean . . . .

In order to maximize the chances that fun will occur at a party, here are some of the techniques I use: . . .

See, not so hard. Condescension, arrogance, etc. are not required to put forth your ideas.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

OR, people could assume, from having read me for months, and knowing that I am generally amiable and fond of people, that I mean well. They could read my posts as self-deprecating and generous, since I nearly always am. I could qualify everything I write, OR people could take it as my opinion, for the little that is worth, OR I could trust my readers to go off the rest of what I have written, and give me the benefit of the doubt.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I find it pretty silly that anyone is upset by what you've said. Even if they disagree, it seems a bit much to be hurt by anything you've said here.


2:22 PM  
Anonymous DaveL said...

I can't speak for those whose party it was, but for myself I assume that you're decent and sincere about what kind of parties you like. What's frustrating is that your comments continue to suggest that you think people are just failing to understand either fun or you or both and that if they understood better they'd see that you're right. That's a trap that most of us fall into from time to time, and it's particularly easy when we feel ganged-up-on, but people don't tend to take it all that well.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never left a comment here and I've been reading your blog for a long time but this time I've been moved to write something. Your parties sound like fun and I would come anyday if invited, people just have a hard time enjoying themselves as they build their little forts around themselves.


FYI: I lived in DC for over 2 years and the parties are definetly not fun. They are more meet, greet and network

3:00 PM  
Anonymous teofilo said...

Part of the reaction at Unfogged is due to the fact that the party in question was thrown by some of the regulars there, but another (probably greater) part is due to the fact that Unfogged has a disproportionate number of people (including me) who are constantly being told we're no fun and if we would just cut loose a little and have some fun we would enjoy everything a lot more, when we think we're enjoying everything just fine, thank you, and we don't need any help. It's not really anything to do with Megan in particular, she just happened to set off that reaction among people who hear this sort of thing a lot and don't like it.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

As others have said, "fun" is a pretty subjective thing. So while my idea of a good party will tend to be more like that "not fun" party you went to than the kind you want to throw, I agree with you that people should not take your observations so personally. I mean really, responding to your "it wasn't fun" comment with, "I don't want to act like a monkey?" You said you had a good time! So what if it wasn't your friggin IDEAL of fun? Those people need to get their heads out of their asses.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous M/tch M/lls said...

Others, I believe, prefer to stay detached and in control and maybe also disdainful.

This hardly seems to be giving others the benefit of the doubt that you would like to be extended to you. And it's exactly the tone your first post about the party seemed to take: you stayed detached and didn't get involved and left because you were disdainful of those pathetic people's idea of fun.

What's frustrating is that your comments continue to suggest that you think people are just failing to understand either fun or you or both and that if they understood better they'd see that you're right.


8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How silly these foggy people are!
Isn't she just saying that this is HER idea of fun or HER idea of what a good party is? .."what it means to her".

How is that implicitly denigrating other people's idea of fun?? Sloppy thinking.

I might find statements about "whole selves" a bit odd and some things childish but each to their own.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"folks are pissed"

Really! Because she said you’re not fun? You’re pissed? Wow! Not only not fun, but thin skinned too.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Please don't denigrate the people I like and respect at Unfogged.

Ogged, I'm sorry the 10:23 anonymouse called you "thin-skinned". I know you cry for days after insults like that.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I'd go to your party, Megan. If I was in or around Sacto, at least.

The high potential for fun might overcome my internal resistance and generate a current of good times.

For "normal" parties, I have to know a lot of people that are there, or else it takes a lot of energy out of me just psyching myself up to go and be social.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have not seen the unfogged pots, so I cannot comment on those. I will say that in all this controversy, the reference to mud wrestling was completely overlooked and I find that to be tragic.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

12:09 Anonymouse:
That conversation went wrong in lots of ways, but you have shown us the most heartbreaking way of all.

1:59 PM  

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