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Sunday, October 27, 2002


Michelle trekked down to San Diego for the weekend to attend Doug's Halloween party. There was a certain existential novelty to having my ex staying in my guest room. She's visited plenty in the past, but always with a boyfriend in tow--which strangely never seemed strange at all (particularly given, or despite that, they were friends of mine too). But having her camping out solo at the other corner of my normally empty cave was, well, let's stick with existentially novel.

Doug themes his parties each year, and this year it was Lord of the Rings. Having lost inspiration to make costumes since I out-did my future self many years ago with my man-on-other-man's-shoulders costume (which left people wondering what "we" were supposed to be because it was too convincing), I just went scavenging in my closet to get myself close enough to call myself an "extra" (you know -- those nondescript characters in the background who you're not supposed to notice; it seemed appropriate!).

There was one missing piece, though, which came my way rather like the holocaust cloak in The Princess Bride:

Inigo: Where did we put that wheelbarrow the albino had?
Fezzik: Over the albino, I think?
Westley: Why didn't you list that among our assets in the first place?! [sigh]
What I wouldn't give for a holocaust cloak...
Inigo: There we cannot help you.
Fezzik: [pulls a black cloak from under his shirt] Would this do?
Inigo: Where did you get that?
Fezzik: At Miracle Max's. It fit so nice, he said I could keep it.

Except it was me talking on the phone with Kalistrya*, who just happened to have made a man's middle-earthy shirt recently for no particular reason, so she mailed it to me. Here it is with my American Indian moccasins, hand-me-down western suede vest, and Costco pants. Yeah, straight from Middle Earth:

Of course, everybody's closets are so-equipped, so conformance to the theme was remarkably high this year. It was rather like Ren Faire; or with all the pointy ears perhaps a little more like SCA. Many comments about how slight adjustments would make these costumes suitable for Star Wars or Star Trek themed parties in the future.

As an experiment, I left my usual sobriety at home and poured myself a large beer from the keg immediately upon arriving. I had to ask Peter how to use the thing. (The keg, not the beer. And while it may have been self-evident enough, I took a certain amusement in being officially educated on the workings of a keg for the first time in my life, here, now. How odd.)

The experiment was to test a specific theory, that a combination of visibly imbibing plus sufficiently crippling my cerebellum (in order to handicap my normal, continuous, automated and pre-conscious analysis of everything) might make me less intimidating to people.

It worked. I learned/conveyed nothing of consequence the entire evening.

But I did spend a significant portion of my time talking to attractive women, making them laugh, exchanging inuendos, and seeming generally accepted. And if they ever gave me that nervous "how can I escape gracefully" smile, my cerebellum must have been too busy clawing at its chemical assailants to notice.

In short, it was a grand success and I doubt I'll ever do it again. Be careful what you wish for. I recently summarized my social (romantic) needs and misgivings as: It's a needle in a haystack and I'm a junky allergic to hay. I won't find what I'm looking for this way.

Though I did meet some interesting guys who'd come down from LA on the sifter connection, but since I'd promised myself a content-free evening I can't say I had a very substantial exchange with them either.

So here I stay in my sorely underutilized abode, watching the reflection of the fire in my black granite hearth as I finish the last of my green-chile chicken--which by the way looked like this (in better color) before I thermally fused it with the actual chicken:

Damn, those shallots almost killed me when I was cracking their skins and cutting the ends off. (I didn't think I'd survive the slicing, but that turned out relatively benign by comparison.)

Urm, where was I. Oh yeah, trying to poetically lament:

Oh, never mind, you know the drill.

Sometimes I feel I'm a much better catalyst for other people's lives than I am for my own. It's like there's some vital element missing from my life without which the reaction is incomplete, and for all the knowledge and wisdom we all exchange, that part everyone keeps to themselves. What is it? What's missing?

Here, read this, it won't cheer you up (but knowing it might make you happier in the long run): Through the Past, Darkly.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com