I had to interview a bartender in PB for an article that I was working on, and as I walked back to my car around 9:00 p.m., I overheard a group of people talking about a party they were going to. I followed them around the corner where I introduced myself to Charles, the birthday boy. He said, "I don't mind you crashing the party. But at 10:00, we're all going over to the Typhoon Saloon. The band Metal Shop is playing there, and we have a VIP section." I told him that I had seen Metal Shop's heavy-metal parody before. Charles said, "When I'm there, they let me on stage to do Ray Charles songs." I asked if he had the sunglasses to complete the look. "No. I just go up there and yell." The first people I met at Charles's birthday party were sisters who looked nothing alike. One was six feet tall with blond hair. The other was about 5'5" with black hair and a Middle-Eastern look. She said, "Well, we are sisters. But we have different dads. Our mom got around." I asked the blonde if she played basketball. She said she did, "...for a private school in Point Loma. I quit to be a cheerleader. All the scholarships went out the window." She told me that she dated one of Bill Walton's sons. I overheard her later in the evening talking about Halloween costumes. "Last year I was a sexy race-car driver. I wanted to write 'Want to go for a test drive?' on the back. This year, all the women at Tio Leo's, we're going to be Disney princesses." I have a stepbrother who's short and complains that tall women won't go out with short guys, so I asked her about this. "All my boyfriends have been 5'8". Although, this teacher I'm in love with, he's 6'5"."

I discovered Charles worked at Trader Joe's when I heard someone asking him about their products. It was funny, because I heard a guy who worked at 24 Hour Fitness answering questions about their membership fees. No matter where you work, people at parties will pepper you with questions.

There were five people at the party from out of state. Charles told me he was from South Central L.A., and we talked about L.A.'s basketball teams. He said his dad loved the Lakers but that he was a Clippers fan. When I heard him talking about the movie Love and Basketball, he mentioned that he had a part in it. I forgot to ask him if he caught the mistake in the movie, where the kids were supposed to be at an L.A. Clippers game, but it was the early '80s, when the team was still in San Diego.

Charles brought me a screwdriver that was strong. A few minutes later he offered me a shot of vodka. I said, "Do people drink vodka straight up?" He said, "Yeah, man, the Russians. We're gonna do it like the Russians." Me and a group of five downed our shots in the small, crowded kitchen. Charles shook his bald head and said, "My alcohol tolerance has gotten way too high."

When I started snapping photos, the blonde said something about her breasts in one of the shots. She called them "Mary Kate and Ashley." When I wrote that down, she said, "Oh, no. I'm going to have to keep my mouth shut." She laughed when I said, "They probably weigh more than the Olsen twins do."

I get a kick out of eavesdropping on people who are trying to pick up on each other and the awkward introductions. One woman had it down, though. She said to one guy, "My name's Desiree. That's 'desire' with an extra 'e'."

When people started to head over to the Typhoon, someone said, "That guy is our designated driver? He's got a flask!" A few girls left and said they'd meet everyone over there. I went to the patio to talk with the smokers.

I met a woman from Point Loma who told me she was Portuguese, and we talked about the large Portuguese population in that area. She has a computer job, and we talked about technology creeping into current movies. I said, "I saw The Departed the other day, and they used computers in crucial scenes a few times, and cell phones were a bigger star than Nicholson." She said, "Yeah, and sometimes you can find things out..." She told me about a boyfriend she had for a long time and that she discovered on MySpace that he had a wife and kid. "Then I checked a baby registry and saw that his wife was pregnant at some point when we were still seeing each other."

A guy came out on the patio and handed his friend a drink called a Scooby Snack. I asked what was in it, and they spent ten minutes debating it. I said, "Are you guys bartenders?" And they said, "No, we're alcoholics." One guy complained that the people inside were too loud, so he shut the patio door and said, "Let's get rid of the white noise by shutting the door. It's all physics, baby."

I was talking to two guys who thought it was weird we all had the initials "J.B." When a big woman standing nearby chimed in, someone asked her what she did. "I play professional football." I said, "For the Scorpions?" Her eyes lit up and she said, "Give me a high five, motherfucker! Nobody ever knows our team." I asked her what position she played, and she said she was a DL and tackle. She had a shirt that said "Sharing is caring." When someone mentioned it, she laughed and asked that person to share the joint he had. I heard her later talking about a big hit she put on someone in a game.

I met a guy who sells rental cars for Enterprise. I said I thought buying a rental car was a bad idea because people tend to drive them hard. As he was convincing me of how they are better maintained, I was distracted by a guy peeing over the balcony. Someone asked him why he didn't just go inside. He laughed and mumbled something about the trees needing to be watered.

There was one girl who confessed that she was underage. As she sipped her beer, she'd ask whoever was nearby to hit her on the back so she could burp. A guy said, "She is cute as hell, but that burping is just grossing me out."

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.

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