Samantha Steele and the secretive soirèe

Samantha Steele and the secretive soirèe

Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that I have a rather lenient attitude towards time. Twenty minutes and five minutes are like Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee to me, and ‘now now’ could be stretched from ‘in a moment’ to ‘much, much later’.

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!

Now even a rookie surprise party planner knows that being on time is an essential part of any surprise party. You can’t have people nonchalantly wondering in to the venue, shouting ‘SURPRISE!’ at any point during the evening. It has to be a co-ordinated attack; not guerrilla warfare on the surprisee’s nerves.

Now even a rookie surprise party planner knows that being on time is an essential part of any surprise party. You can’t have people nonchalantly wondering in to the venue, shouting ‘SURPRISE!’ at any point during the evening. It has to be a co-ordinated attack; not guerrilla warfare on the surprisee’s nerves.

Despite my laxness when it comes to precision; being late makes me very anxious. It’s important you know this so you can understand at least one, minuscule, part of my tension when I was helping (and by ‘helping’ I mean ‘not helping’) Roeline plan Mia’s farewell surprise party.

Punctuality isn’t the only ingredient in the surprise party cake: secrecy and lies are also essential. (Kind of like a soapie but with less vrying in the bushes). Without secrecy and lies a surprise party is just a party; like Smarties sans candy coating are just globules of half-melted chocolate.

I have no poker face. (I discovered that this holiday when playing Texas Holdem with the family. A winning card was drawn; my rather unsubtle response was to fist-pump the air while hissing ‘Yessssssssssssssss’.) An unreadable face and a calm attitude are essential to a good lie.  Fortunately I wasn’t put in a position where I had to lie, right?

Wrong.

Roeline, in her wisdom, gave me only one task for the party: keep Mia in the dark. (Obviously not literally; pretty sure it’s illegal to lock someone in a garage). Then lead her to the party.

Mia had no idea what was coming.

Except she did.

And that’s where things get complicated.

Mia didn’t find out about the party with her keen journalistic sense or with her scarily accurate intuition. Instead a far more everyday sense gave the secretive soiree away: her sense of hearing.

See, Christiaan (who I must sadly confess is, despite his many degrees and cheery smile, is no genius – CLEARLY) asked her if she was going to the party. I shit you not. To her face. To us he mumbled some excuse abut late nights and not having read the Facebook invite properly; and to Mia he concocted some half-baked cover-up about it being Roeline’s party after Mia left, ha ha ha, how foolish of him. But the cat, goofily grinning, was out of the bag.

Mia’s next move was to confusedly ask Roeline: “What party?” Roeline’s eyes shot wide open and her mouth clamped firmly shut. Minutes later a red number one blinked on in my Facebook mail folder: Roeline informing me of the recent fiasco.

My duty stayed the same. No matter what, I had to keep on with Mission Surprise Party and pretend I didn’t know that Mia knew about the party, and also pretend that I didn’t know that Mia knew that Roeline knew that Mia knew about the party.

Mia didn’t know that I knew that she knew about the party.

I’ll admit that even for me (and I was there) this is confusing. So I made this helpful graph below to help explain the situation:


Anyway, a few days later I led a benign and smiling Mia to the surprise party venue; hoping that (we had changed the location) Mia wouldn’t work out the surprise party was still on and that the change in plek at least had bewildered her. Our labyrinth of confusion and half-truths would hopefully lead to at least a mild surprise on her part.

Mia WAS surprised.

But not by the party. By me. She had no idea that I knew that she knew about the party.


Mia didn’t want to disappoint me and so pretended to play along to keep the excited light shining in my eyes.

I want to say something deep and meaningful here, like ‘That’s what true friendship is’ or ‘E=MC²’. I won’t however; because then I’ll get all choked up and I’m out of tissues. But feel free to fill in the blanks yourself, whether it takes 5 minutes or 20.

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