Haley threw a Dukes of Hazzard theme party at her new Pacific Beach apartment. She wore Daisy Duke cut-offs and a Western shirt. On the small lawn in front of her apartment there were about 25 people crowded in with kegs and bales of hay. I asked Haley where she got the hay, and she told me a barn in Santee.
Haley brought me a Jack and Coke and introduced me to her friends. Half the crowd wasn't dressed in the Dukes of Hazzard theme. I met a redhead dressed in cut-off shorts and snap-button shirt, which was tied at the bottom, and her friend was dressed like the orange Charger the Duke boys drove. She had a license plate around her neck and the number 01 on her back. The redhead and her friend are both from Ireland and are going back home in mid-September. I asked them if they knew about the Dukes of Hazzard TV show. "Oh, all the American shows are aired in Ireland." We talked about The Office, a British show that we all watch.
When I mentioned their Irish accents, they told me that everyone thinks they are from England. The redhead said, "We've been asked if we were from Australia, too. I couldn't believe somebody asked if we were from Boston a few weeks ago. I can understand a person not knowing what an Australian accent sounds like...but Boston?"
They told me that they like parties because everyone can drink. At the bars, you have to be 21. (They are 20 and 21.) The older one said, "In Ireland, you can drink when you're 18. And everyone does." I asked them about the stereotype of Irish drinkers. She said, "It's true. We drink a lot."
I asked Haley if her neighbors would complain about the noise. "We have some Mormons that live up there. They already looked at us and then slammed the window shut."
I grabbed some BBQ chips and watched a crowd of people play beer pong. Cups of beer are set at one end of a table, and you have to bounce a Ping-Pong ball into the cup to force another person to drink it down.
Then they played a cup-flipping game that didn't involve drinking. The two teams were screaming. I asked one player if he had money riding on the game. "No, but you still want to win."
A girl asked him to be quieter. She was trying to talk on her cell phone. He said, "Not unless that's George Bush on the phone!"
I talked to one guy that was worried the party would be shut down. He said the cops came by the night before at 10:00 p.m. "We only had four people on the patio playing Ping-Pong."
I said, "It's after midnight. It won't be a big deal if they come now, since the party's been going for a while."
"I want the party to go at least until 2:00 a.m.," he replied. "That's when the bars close. Otherwise, the night is ruined if the party is shut down any earlier. People wouldn't have time to go to the bars, or do anything else they may have."
Since I wasn't joining in the drinking games, Haley kept coming over to talk with me. I think she felt guilty that I was just chilling out by myself and watching the crowd. I found out most guests were SDSU students and that she's close to graduating.
I asked her how often people mispronounce her name. "Oh, all the time. It's hard to tell somebody my name in a bar. I have to repeat it five times." I said, "It's easy, because you can say 'like Haley's Comet.'" She said, "His name actually isn't pronounced like that, though." At that point, the story of how her name is pronounced started to confuse me. Maybe it was the Jack and Coke getting to me.
One of Haley's roommates was a tall, thin blonde who looked like the actress Heather Graham. She always had a drink in her hand but never seemed to get tipsy. She would greet people as they showed up, smiling and holding conversations, and she'd walk people to the gate as they left.
One of the Irish girls started playing beer pong. It looked as if she were winning. I asked her friend where in Ireland they were from. She said, "Limerick." I asked her what her favorite limerick was. A guy from Nashville, who had a thicker accent than the girls, said, "There once was a man from Nantucket..."
She told me that one of her friends from Limerick was the guy who founded the band the Cranberries, but he was kicked out six months before they made it big. (I guess every group has a Pete Best.)
I asked her if she were homesick and she told me, "Not at all. I'm going to be sick when I have to go home. Don't get me wrong. I'm close with my family. I write twice a week. But there are such nice people here. I don't ever want to leave." As we were talking, she pointed out two guys who'd showed up. "They're from Ireland, too." She didn't know them but said, "You can just tell."
I heard the guy talk, and he did have an Irish accent. She told me about the Irish students in San Diego. "In America, I'm the designated beer purchaser. I'm 21, but a lot of my friends are 18 and 19. Parties like this are the only opportunity they have to drink."
It was after 2:00 a.m., and I decided to head out. I told a couple guys near the sidewalk that they should've dressed up. One said, "I'm not even sure how Bo and Luke, or whatever their names are...how they dressed. I can sing that song though."
On cue they both sang, "Just a good ol' boy...," and burst into laughter.
Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.