One Night In Ajax (Or, How NOT to Throw A Birthday Dinner)

So for the first time in ages, I completely wasted Friday night.

After a hellish week at work, I left as quickly as possible, to meet my friend so she could drive us to Ajax for a friend’s surprise birthday dinner “organized” by his wife.

I put the term “organized” in quotations, because when she sent us an e-mail last Friday to invite us to her husband’s birthday, she mentioned

  • the date
  • the time we’d be having dinner and
  • the name of the restaurant (misspelled), in Ajax. Period.

To be fair, we didn’t think we’d make it, so we e-mailed her to let her know. However, when plans changed, we e-mailed her immediately – 32 hours before the event – to let her know we could make it.

My friend gave me the task of getting directions to the place. It took me about 9 or 10 tries on Google to try and find something with the restaurant’s name, because our friend never gave us an address.

I printed out my Google maps and placed them aside from the work-related mess on my desk, so I wouldn’t lose them and, because it was the kind of day I was having, I promptly forgot them on my desk when I fled the building for the subway. Luckily I remembered the streets in question, and managed to locate them in my friend’s Perly’s map book.

We drove through rain, and in between crazy truckers and equally crazy motorists to get there.

After going the wrong way once in Ajax – and me getting smacked in the eye for messing up the one job my friend trusted me with – we found the restaurant our friend was having his dinner.

Or so we thought.

We walked in and no looked around. There was a birthday party, all right. Not our friend’s though. It was the 50th birthday for this guy who had a similar sounding name. We asked the guy in charge of the crappy music whether our friend was there. He couldn’t help us. Neither could the hostess in charge.

We decided to try and find a phonebook to check if there were any other restaurants with similar names in Ajax. The same hostess didn’t seem to have one (since they stopped printing phonebooks SO LONG AGO). We went to the nearby Dairy Queen, where surprise! they DID have one. We scanned it. Nope. No similarly-named establishments.

Then we decided it was time to try calling our friend. Except for one minor issue: neither of us had her current number. Nor did she supply one in her invitation e-mail. We quickly checked the phonebook on hand, but with no luck.

So: no address given. No contact phone number in case anything happened and we needed to locate her.


My friend and I checked the restaurant one last time, a little perplexed. We left, crossed the plaza parking lot, and checked the pool hall on the far side of the complex.

No sign.


So we went to Applejack’s, had a burger and club sandwich, got in the car and went home.

About a half-hour later, I wrote my friend an e-mail. I’ll be intrigued with read her response to what happened.

Perhaps I’m insensitive with what I’m about to say …

But if I didn’t know better, I’d say that the planning behind that party was the shittiest ever.

When one organizes an event and invites friends of the guest of honour to attend, isn’t it common sense to include vital information that would assist would-be guests in attending said event?

And if one plans and event and has to change venues at the last minute, wouldn’t it also be common sense to inform potential guests of the change so that they act accordingly, especially those travelling from a distance?

At least, that’s what we do where I come from. And by “where I come from”, I mean Planet Earth.

Perhaps I’m being waaaaay too harsh and she just didn’t check her e-mail. In which case, she might get a pass. 

But if that wasn’t the case …

The next time she organizes a party and invites me, I’m might have a “reason” I’m not attending, and I’ll give her as much information about my non-attendance, as she did about this party.

Peeved Post-script: After the trek to Nowhere, my friend and I e-mailed her separately to find out what happened. I received her response the following Monday morning. Apparently when they called to reserve, they found out the place in Ajax already had a birthday party reserved there. So they moved the party to Pickering instead. Mmmmm. Special.