Adult party hour

There’s no denying the hands of time. Regardless of your own personal beliefs on where we go after this life, we are all on a crash course to meet our makers in a precious number of years. And no one’s getting out alive.

With each passing birthday, this reality hits me a little more. And turning 37 a couple weeks ago really felt big. There was just something about that number; I couldn’t get it out of my head. I don’t feel old, in fact I feel better at 37 than I did when I was 21. Probably because when I was 21, I partied too much and didn’t take care of myself. Maybe I feel better now because I restrict most of my partying to the “adult party hour.”

I didn’t start doing this on purpose. Just a couple years ago it wasn’t that odd for me to stay out until two or three in the morning, stumbling in and out of local dive bars in the wee hours of the night, and waking up with a hangover that would define the day.

Keith Brett toasts to “adult party hour,” the antithesis to the all-night rager, in Indian Creek./ Photo by Braden Gunem 


But, at some point in our lives, we have to stop behavior that isn’t serving us anymore. I think a yoga teacher once told me that, and sort of naturally, my days of partying into the wee hours of the night for no reason have faded. However, I still like to party. I like to have a beer or three on occasion, and hit the peace pipe now and again. Thus, “adult party hour” was born.

Every other week or so, I start a text thread with my friend, Jennaye. (Yes, Jennaye of Durango Telegraph fame.) It goes something like this:

“Happy hour drink?”


“The usual?”


So we meet at the usual spot, and one of us is always late because neither of us are ever exactly on time. We understand one another on the level that we aren’t reliably punctual, and thus we forgive each other. Understanding and forgiveness are good bases for any friendship, and we are good friends. In fact Jennaye is my best female platonic friend in Durango (bfpf?) and we always have good conversation. She’s able to cater to my never-ending ADD tendencies while I deal with her social awkwardness when external people enter the conversation. We’re also both single, and dating, which of course provide an endless well of things to talk about. She called me the “Jerry Seinfeld of Durango” recently, referring to my endless particularities with life and women, which was pretty much the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.

Allow me to rephrase that to say, if you’ve never met Jennaye, she is charmingly “quirky” – the kind of person that gently ribs you two seconds after meeting you, but you still like her anyway. For example at my recent birthday party, which of course started at six o’clock and ended at 10, she met my new roommate for the first time and promptly blurted out, “Hi, new girl!”

I apologized on behalf of Jennaye (she was definitely getting her “adult party hour” on) but my roommate still liked her. Recently Jennaye wrote this hilarious essay about dating, which I constantly bug her about publishing, but as of yet she hasn’t. Here’s a little excerpt:

 “I’m learning quickly, and over time, that it’s pretty impossible to make conversation and banter with that drunk guy at the bar. You also can’t really get to know a person with your own beer goggles on. Sparks usually don’t fly waiting in line at the post office, the bank or waiting for the stop light to turn green. In fact, I, and seemingly others, are usually at their worst in these situations proving that waiting in lines sucks, patience is outdated, honking and waving is weird, and flipping the bird will not get you a date. Or, in this fine town, sometimes you meet a cute boy by way of his best friend – your former boyfriend. Other times, it’s through a great conversation leading to him casually letting you know he’s taken. ‘Yeah, and my girlfriend likes puppies, too!’ F***’n puppies.”

Hanging out with Jennaye basically ensures this sort of witty banter, and of course if she gets disillusioned with being single, I give her a pep talk that all good friends should give. And then I’ll tell her some story, like the one about my last girlfriend who was 23 and told me she wanted to have kids someday and by the time she did have kids, I would be too old. And all I could think about was how much older Jay Z is than Beyoncé, and that seems to be working out just fine, but of course I’m no Jay Z. Then Jennaye will make fun of me for thinking I could date a 23-year-old, and maybe we’ll order another round if we’re really feeling it, but the likelihood is that we’ll order some food because happy hour is ending and bedtime is just a few hours away.

They say nothing good ever happens after two in the morning. Of course, that’s not entirely true, although there’s some truth in it. For me, I’d just rather feel good in the morning, than feel good late at night. Besides the conversation at “adult happy hour” is much better than trying to yell into someone’s ear late night at a dive bar.

I’m sure our regular “adult party hours” will cease to happen as regularly as they do now, Jennaye will get a boyfriend and I’ll get a girlfriend, and conversation topic of being single will dry up, and we’ll spend our happy hours with our significant others. It’s also untrue to say I don’t stay out late anymore, its just I don’t stay out late for no real reason. I might make it to midnight on New Year’s Eve, I usually do, but you can be damned sure just after the clock strikes midnight, I’ll be ghosting out of the party to my warm bed, with the goal of starting off the new year only mildly hungover.

– Luke Mehall