Our gracious hosts are throwing a preppy-themed going-away party for their beloved friend, referred to here as "Scooter." In four days, Scooter is heading off to Harvard for his master's degree in Landscape Architecture. One of his UW professors is just leaving: "I'm less worried about you than when I arrived," the teacher slurs. Everybody here seems, in equal parts, extremely proud and profoundly sad, armed with dozens of stories about their friend's inquisitive and genuine spirit.
The Adam Hunter Trio, actually an excellent jazz quartet, provide a little bounce, and soon everyone is dancing, pastel sweaters tied around their necks flying like wussy little superhero capes. "You look like you're on Perfect Strangers," someone says before taking a photo. Everyone does a shot of Gold Strike—a bargain-basement Goldschlager that makes your hair feel like it's burning out at the root—and soon the party is sailing nicely on an ocean of boozy admiration.
There's some interesting conversation in the kitchen, which is disrupted by screaming. "WHOOO! YEAH! YEAH!" It's Scooter—three sheets to the wind and unable to communicate except for ebullient cheers and the universal good-time language of the high five. He manages "LET'S START A DANCE TRAIN!" and all the girls do the locomotion behind him. "He's usually so shy—he must be having a great time," a friend whispers to me. "WHOO! YEAH! HIGH FIVE!" shouts Scooter. It's oddly appropriate that, before sending him off to Ivy League Intelligentsia, his friends bomb his brain back into euphoric toddlerhood—now, that's love.
Want to tell The Stranger to "WRITE IN YOUR LITTLE NOTEBOOK ON THE DANCE TRAIN, BABY! WHOOO!" at your house party? E-mail the date, place, time, and party details to email@example.com.