I forget which magazine I was reading, but it contained an article in which the author was complaining about a friend who'd recently pulled an Irish Exit. This infuriated the author and caused him to question the friendship.
Now, I had never heard the term "Irish Exit" before, but I knew instantly what it meant. I have been Irishly exiting parties and other functions for pretty much my entire adult life. When I read that article, I thought, So, thaaat's what it's called. Indeed, it was a relief to learn that I'm not the only jackass who pulls this kind of jackassery.
For those who don't know, the Irish Exit—also known as The French Leave, The English Goodbye, The Irish Goodbye and ghosting—refers to a departure from a party, a bar or some other gathering without announcement. It's almost always the result of inebriation—probably because when you're drunk, you lack the inhibition to care that it's wrong.
Of course, I don't think it's wrong at all; however, my friends say it is—usually the next day, when they grumble about what a jackassish move it was, for which I apologize and explain that I don't mean to do it; it's just something that happens, and I'm not even sure why.
I mean, I'll be sitting at the bar with my pals, knocking back shots and beers, riffing about current events and laughing too loudly at stories that sober people would consider too lame to be loudly laughed at, when, all of a sudden, I hit a wall and everything comes to a halt: I stop talking. I stop listening. And worst of all, I start thinking. I start thinking how I can no longer bear to listen to X's recalling of the hilarious thing his schnauzer did that morning. I think that I might have to stab Y in the face if he makes a pass at yet another young lady whose only mistake was to sashay by our table. I think I would rather gobble up a bag of fried and battered buffalo boners than endure another second of Z's stinking cloud of death-breath.
And then—and this is the thought that lurches my body into action—I start thinking about food. Yes, yes, won't it be great to stuff a steaming hot burrito into my face—sideways? I can see the scene in my mind, sitting before the TV with the hot sauces to my left, Diet Pepsi to the right and a carne asada burrito front and center, looking at me with those "Please don't stuff me into your face sideways" eyes. It's then when the ghost of the late Roberto Robledo, founder of the Roberto's taco shops, whispers into my ear: "Venir a mi casa, Eduardo. Venir a mi casa."
"Yes, Roberto, I will come to your house. But first I must bid my friends farewell."
"Balderdash!" barks the voice (which suddenly speaks fluent English). "You've got to get over to Roberto's right now, son! Before they run out of meat!"
The next day, as usual, I get the angry texts from my friends and, yeah, I understand their frustration. But can we all at least agree on two things?
First, at least the voices in my head don't tell me to ax-murder anyone. And, second, saying goodbye to a roomful of friends, especially after you've hit your wall, is a death by a thousand cuts. Because now you'll have to seek out all the chatty Cathys and blubbering Bobbys you've been avoiding all night.
And there's always that one guy who's going to tightly shake your hand for way too long—almost like he's holding you hostage so he can finish the story about the hilarious thing his schnauzer did, and all you can think is: Why? Why is it so important to say goodbye to people you see on a regular basis? Is it because of our basic need for closure? Bah! Closure is for sissies! It's a futile attempt to install order in an orderless universe.
Look, there are basically two types of people in this world: those who need closure to preserve tranquility, and if you are currently wringing your hands over the fact that I didn't identify the second type of person, then you're the type that needs closure. Not me. I couldn't give a hot goddamn about that. Y'all can Exit Me Irishly any time you want.
It's not only because I don't care; it's also because there is the danger of you pulling a Minnesota Goodbye, which is when you say "Goodbye" but keep talking and talking, then say "Goodbye" again, and continue talking, until you've said "Goodbye" 16 times and you're nary an inch closer to the front door.
That said, Irish Exits are still considered socially unacceptable, and people do sometimes get their feelings hurt. That's why it's important to abide certain guidelines so that your Irish Exit can be performed as safely and humanely as possible.
For instance, never bail on someone who's visiting you from out of town or in other ways reliant on you to have a good time. Never bail on a group you're traveling with in different countries (your friends will be left to wonder if you are being gang-raped by rats in a Turkish labor camp). Always be sure to pay your tab before disappearing into the night—you don't want to add "deadbeat" to the list of shitty things people say about you. In fact, I recommend having the server bring another round to your table after you've left. If you buy them a parting gift, it will be that much harder for them to think of you in a jackassian light.
Finally, here's a bit of closing advice for the author who was mad at his friend for ditching the party: Let it go, man. No harm, no foul? Then let it go.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Edwin Decker blogs at www.edwindecker.com. Follow him on Twitter @edwindecker or find him on Facebook.
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