Even now, I'm still a little unsure what the party was supposed to be celebrating; I think it was Mardi Gras, but the impression I got was that it was just something Sona wanted to do, and he only needed the flimsiest excuse to justify the gathering.
Anyway, after getting lost in Raleigh, we eventually made it to the house. My first proper American house since arriving here in August! Yes, I actually keep track of milestones like that. And people accuse me of having no life. Pah to them, I say. Once again, there was much flouting of the law, with a beer keg and a strange Kool-Aid concoction. After reaffirming my hatred for beer, I settled on the mystery Kool-Aid, which worryingly had no taste of alcohol at all. Somebody mentioned that it was mixed with Everclear. I have no idea what that is; let's go Googling!
Everclear is 95% pure grain alcohol, odorless, tasteless, and very potent.
Ah. Well, that might explain a few things, I suppose. Having taken care of the drink, I decided to use Ian's Patented Party Survival technique: find a few people that you know, sit down, and don't move until it's time to go home. I know several of you have seen this masterplan in action many times. Did I mention that I'm shy? To the point of almost being a social misfit? I'm just really uncomfortable at parties. But Sona asked me to come, so I put on a brave face.
Twenty minutes or so pass, and the person sitting in the chair next to me gets up and disappears somewhere. Out of nowhere, a girl swoops down on the chair, and starts talking to me. For about an hour. Her first question is what university do I go to, and her eyes light up when I say UNC. Then there follows a long, rambling, slightly drunken conversation about Britain, war in Iraq, where she works, my TA horror stories, and many other things. During the course of this conversation, my ride disappears, but he lets me know that he's organised another way for me to get home. Catherine overhears this, and decides that I can ride home with her friends, and goes off to find them. She comes back all apologetic; there's no room in the car for another person. I tell her not to worry, as something has been arranged (of course, at this point, I have no idea who is taking me home, or when, but I'm not exactly caring much, either). We carry on talking for another half-hour or so, and then she has to go. I am given a hug, introduced to her friends, and then she leaves.
Shortly after, I find out that I'm going home with two people called Matt and Sarah. Who I've never actually met before. But that doesn't seem to matter too much, as they seem to know all about me. And they want to know every detail of what happened, as apparently they'd been watching all evening (which is less creepy than it sounds in print - the living room wasn't all that big...). I'm chastised for not getting her phone number, but by the time we've made it back to Chapel Hill, they've managed to devise a plan to get around that (let's just say that the UNC directory system is easy to abuse). I'm given lots of encouragement, and then they take me to the Cosmic Cantina for a 3am meal. Bonus feature: an Irishman and Indian woman having an argument over English colonisation. An interesting discussion, to say the least.
I get home at 4am. And wake up at 7am, as normal. Even grain alcohol doesn't mess up my body clock...