I always feel bad and guilty and so end up sticking around after most people have left and I help clean the animals or sweep up and just help put things right. Why should the host have to bear the burden alone? They've spent their energy measuring out portions and wiping necks all night.
I feel bad because we probably shouldn't have come over in the first place. We should've declined the invitation, or better, claim it never arrived in the first place. Suggest it was mislabeled or bore offensive postage that led it to drown in the sewer. Pictures of tyrants, that sort of thing.
We definitely should not have had a good time. We should've avoided the mutual back-patting and the theatrical hand shaking. No one should've taken out a bag of glass eyes and told fortunes. No matter how happy it would've made our host. Virtue above all. Silently staring at a wall and not causing a ruckus was the honorable choice.
Social affairs are best left for times of isolation and after animal bites. Certainly not in someone's home. Not in the same place they write letters. Helping them scrape the filth from their walls is the best way of saying, “I'm sorry for dishonoring you with my existence. Please accept this assistance in lieu of actual communication and communion. I am weak and afraid of honestly facing my emptiness. Grunting, not making eye contact and intensely scrubbing the same section of flooring eight or nine times is the best I can offer.”
…All this despite a lifelong interest in stage magic.