Most of Jan's half-friends had gathered for his birthday party. They sat at an oblong wooden table on an archaically decorated porch closed on three sides with the final wall being seemingly covered by a vine. Everyone, now already slightly under the influence of alcohol, was inattentively listening to the old singer who was introducing his backing group during the last song and trying to end with dignity his tedious performance, which had been constantly disrupted by unconnected tidbits of conversation of all the excitement-yearning guests. Jan could hardly wait for this part of the evening to end, for then he would finally be able to spend some time conversing with the few people whose presence he sincerely desired. The singer took a bow and the drunker of the guests started to applaud enthusiastically; Jan awkwardly joined his palms several times, hoping he wouldn't appear too unsatisfied, and it seemed he'd succeeded. He felt he was the only one who'd actually paid any attention to the performance; everyone else was too busy drinking and making a clamour. He was annoyed by it.