A delayed recap of the weekend.
Went to Chumps to bid adieu to Backseat B., congrats to "Honey" A., and good riddance to Evil Fannie. C.P. and Sully were there. S.R. and companion. (ex) Boss Frantic. The younger half of the Blondie Twins. A couple of husbands and "Cousin Bob, (who is Bi)" of "Honey A.'s (rumored to be bi) fiance. E. the Greek (tipsy-ed up and eyeballing "Cousin Bob"). And P-diddy with her bag of novelty gifts for Backseat B.--a whip, a box of No-Doz, and Depends Undergarments (because when she laughs hard, she sometimes "I think I just peed a little.") Later, the Greek Goth showed up and sat by me, tired and quiet after a 10 hour day re-designing the store. And T.O. arrived and is still not talking to me and S.R. for some mystery offense we have done, whatever: high-maintenance suburban princess.
I grabbed a 22 oz. beer and settled in with S.R. and Ex-Boss Frantic. Evil Fannie had called into work "sick" and also didn't make an appearance tonight. Whatever, good. I raise a beer in "hello" across the table to "Honey" A. and I remember a morning last week. I rarely talk to her, but apparently we hit it off at some point because one day we were scheduled as countermates (a rare occurrence, rarely even have a chance to say "hey" during busy days). 10:05 in the morning, she shouts "hey" and gives me a big hug in greeting. This is weird, right? I do the equivalent of a physical stutter and moved in for a hug and rubbing of backs thing. Okay.......what?
Not much to report except for a longish conversation with Sully about blogging and writing. I disagree with some of thoughts, but it is nice to attempt to get back into that frame of mind again. Too much time has past, my wheels are rusty. My Muse is still in a coma. Here is a glimpse into the conversation (but she actually began four? years ago). That's right, man, "slice a vein and splash blood on the page." I stand by that and struggle to do it.
Predictably, the crowd broke up early. I hugged Backseat B. sincerely good-bye ('cause she's sweet and funny), tapped Ex-Boss Frantic on the shoulder and said "good luck" because I had a tiny "love thy neighbor" buzz going on, and waved to the rest of the stragglers.
I headed home.
With a head full of hops and an itchy feeling to get the Hell out of the apartment, to be with people, I called M.C./C.C. for a drink. I yearned company. I didn't want the night to end drunk alone yet in the Corner Quad.
M.C. and I went to The Lamp Post: "Man, I wish we had a better local bar!"--M.C. Seriously, but I'll work with what I got. I always do. I fully intended a beer night, but when we sat at the bar, James looked at me a said, "Jameson on the Rocks with a water back, right?" How could I say no? Don't want to hurt the owner's feelings, right?
We sipped Jameson on the Rocks, Vodka tonics, a Jaeger Bomb, water, Basic Lights 100s, Camel Lights (Mike! They weren't out, the knob is stuck!), Quest 3s, and talk talk talk. It felt good. The conversation wandered, twisted and turned. A woman, stories of friends, medication, therapy, drumsticks, Acid, Mushrooms, marriage, music and my (unaccepted) apologies to he and C.C. for being a Lame-Ass Friend for the last 3 years (or more).
The bar closed and we took our conversation to the corner for a few more minutes until we parted ways. I stumbled home feeling a little better, but still confused, about Life.
A cookout "Non-Birthday Party" at M.W./M.B.'s house for Doodlehead. Beers on the patio, burgers, Kewie Pie, veggie dogs, yummy salad, and more. My friends know how to do it right. Their food keeps my Body and Spirit as One. N.J. and wife, C.T., M.C. and C.C. (freshly back from Italy!), R.S., B.H. and wife S.T. with the lovely Baby A. (God, I love that little one's smile), the dogs, J.W. and wife L.W. came in from Indiana (Hi, move back here!), and I filled the patio with talk and laughter. The conversation eventually (always) turned to music. Try beating this crowd in music trivia would be like challenging Jesus to a Water into Wine contest: you'll lose, but learn something in the process.
Near the end of the night, the beer was giving me a headache, and I felt weird being around all married people. I have a good time, but fall into that "twisted thinking" of comparing my Time Line with others. Something M.C. had said the night before came to mind. Something about better to meet a girlfriend through friends, more likely to have more in common, a better match. "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." What if all the apples are accounted for? What if you don't feel a part of the Tree? What if you haven't sat under the Tree for a while? Would the apples taste as sweet. I felt Alone in the Crowd. An Outsider within the Circle.
The hives started kicking in, so I gratefully left when R.S. asked for a ride home. Time to leave. And, of course, what did R.S. want to talk about? His date he had planned the next day, Sunday, a biking date that came so easy for him. I wish him luck (what else can you do for a friend?), and went home.
I get off early from work to go to a benefit here. It sounds like a good time with interesting music and free wine. And I get to spend time with Her...
And you're late getting off work, so you fly home, drive NASCAR like, weaving between fucking silver SUVs and blue Fords. You freshen up, and worry about what to wear because God-knows you want to make a good impression with Her and her friends. Then you fly down Ridge and curse the old lady in the Oldsmobile ("fucking go!"), and turn on Foster in time for gridlock traffic. You're smoking Camel Lights like back in University because you're nervous and impatient. It takes the edge off as you blow smoke out the window with the vents on full blast to get rid of the smell. You find parking just around the corner and walk to the door.
She lets you up and you feel okay. "Just friends, just friends, just friends." And you're cool with it again. You walk into the door to Her apartment, door left ajar, and say "hello" looking around. She's in the bathroom getting ready, washing her face.
You may not be cool with it. The sight looks familiar and pure, and She smiles and says "hello" and then busts you for smoking "I can smell it on you" and you go into an ah-shucks mode because you feel guilty anyway about it and especially now. You sit on the couch as she rummages around a tote for something, snap Her picture that captures Her smile with a loose curl of black hair touching her nose. Essence caught.
She offers you a Diet Coke and you take it because you haven't eaten for hours and need Something.
At the benefit, you meet Her friend who has the same name as you which cracks you up. He's cool. Reminds you of L.C.'s ex who played with the Poster Children (after they weren't cool, sorry H., no offense). And you get/give your ticket and find a seat in the grass for the blanket. More introductions. Say "hey" to pretty R. Lounge on the blanket. D. says let's get wine. Your hero.
White wine in plastic cups. D. and Her catch up. You sit in the middle and get to know D. You like him more and more. At one point, during the Israeli dancers, after many plastic cups of wine, you tell D. "I'll be Kerouac, you can be my Neal Cassidy." He laughs. You keep looking at Her. You like sitting on the blanket, you want to lean over, but know that would be a mistake.
You barely talk to Her because she seems quiet and you've fucked up before. You want to say the right thing. You want to trade secrets. You talk to D. all night: Safe, and good guy. Eyes open wide at how fast you gulp the wine. You pass the camera around "take all the pics you want."
She says, "I think I'm going to go out with that Sean again." And you knod like it's cool, but it's like a meaty punch to the gut. You knod and watch the band. What are you going to say? You get another wine.
You "sneak" cigarettes by the playground equipment. Curse yourself for getting hooked again. You bum a smoke to and talk to Josh, a drummer for the belly dancers. Nice guy. You drop Zelienople's name for conversation. You end up talking (and floating him smokes) a few times during the event. You meet the husband of the director, and he's worried the event isn't going to make any money, what with all the booze and wine and food. And you watch a small boy in khaki shorts and striped shirt play on the playground equipment and stand up to grab him when it looks like he may fall off a ladder, but Daddy rescues him in time.
You pour another Dixie cup of wine, take a swig, and spit it out. Someone has pulled a Reverse Jesus and turned the wine into water. So you switch to keg beer. You pump the keg for a guy filling a pitcher, who remembers you later and pours you a glass from his pitcher with a smile. You realize you are having a good time. Laughing, with Her (in any form of relationship), with D., with R. etc.
Then the Caribbean band starts. And you're sitting on the blanket, tapping your foot to the beat, smiling, remembering some band you saw on the Cruise ship back in January. You're so glad you came. D. has left, so it's you and Her sitting on the blanket. R. asks Her if she wants to dance. No. R. asks you if you want to dance. You say "no" but wanted to ask Her if she wanted to dance. You couldn't bring yourself to do it. You don't remember how. You remember the terror you feel on the dance floor after 1993. You realize you haven't danced since the early 1990's. You don't remember how. You'd look like Elaine on Seinfeld. So, you lose yourself in the beer and music and looking at Her. You drink in the beer and Her face.
You and Her leave. She says you drink too much (you do). You say we're from different backgrounds (we are) and you're not offended too badly. She drives you to Her apartment where you left your car. You walk Her to the building door. Thank Her for a great night (which it was), and turn to leave. She says, "what? No hug good-bye?" And you turn on heel immediately. You feel Torture and Pleasure in the embrace. You're glad that happened.
You drive to The Lamp Post for a nightcap. You need some time to think, still need human surroundings before the empty Corner Quad. 3 guys and the grumpy bartender. A Jameson on the Rocks and a water back. They have "Over There" on the TV. Americans killing Iraqis, people killing people, and the sound's messed up where you're sitting. You feel stupid and alone at the bar. You think about why people go to war and come up with no good reason. You're tired of hate.
You go home.