Skip to content

05.22.02 3:38 a.m.

If you explore beneath shyness or party chit-chat, you can sometimes turn a dull exchange into an intriguing one. I've found this to be particularly true in the case of professors or intellectuals, who are full of fascinating information, but need encouragement before they'll divulge it.


 -Joyce Carol Oates  




Previously in Xenology: Emily graduated from college

I've Never Been to a Party Before, Do They Hurt?
I had to leave Emily's graduation ceremony early to pick up Zack and meet up with Conor and Flynn at my house so I could lead them on the arduous, backbreaking excursion to M's party. I pulled in just as they arrived, fortuitously enough.
 
From left front: Flynn, M's doctor, M's mom, Chris (M's sister's boyfriend), M's dad, a bottle of mustard, Jerame, and Conor.
Conor's mother was in front of them in her car and gave me the normal gratitude (which is to say, gratuitous gratitude) that I was spending time with Conor and Flynn, as though it were a chore or they were socially inept. I was, however, a bit envious of Flynn's Mercedes and the fact that I didn't get to go to the party in it. I suppose there is a certain lack of logic to that concept, but I would be willing to surrender (further) to illogic were it to get me a ride in a pretty Mercedes.
On the way up, I had the classic rock station playing quietly in the background. It was more that my hand had stopped here days ago while trying to find something worth listening to than any real fondness for the works of Motley Cru. I was humming along mentally with the song on the radio until I realized that it was "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. The song that supposedly defined my generation of peers was now considered classic rock? It was only ten years old or so. It was followed by a song by STP. Then came Cru and Led Zepplin. I am not hip at all anymore, am I? When did this happen?
We arrived early and thus got to spend a lot of quality time harassing Emily and eating un-salsa-ed corn chips. Conor and Flynn gave Emily a smorgasbord of presents that rivaled mine, including a really nice cell phone/marble holder. And, or course, marbles. Conor also solved the cube puzzle, which has evaded Emily's grasp for years, in about five minutes.
Melissa and Liz arrived shortly thereafter, to my delight, carrying an armload of presents. Just so we're clear, the delight was for their presence not their presents. Melissa had the inspired idea of collecting money from Liz and Evan and buying as much as possible for Emily in Wal-mart. I was brought along and given the privilege of vetoing (or I gave myself the privilege in my own mind), though I don't think I really felt the need to exercise it. We ended up overshooting the budget by a bit (which is to say, quite a lot), though nothing cost more than $5. We also had a long discussion while waiting in line, surrounded by children, which began and concluded with Melissa's assertion that oral sex tastes like Zero bars (the bad side of neutral).
Incidentally, on this shopping trip, we ended up at a spontaneous carnival at the dirt mall. I had seen no ads for it nor was there much reason to be holding one. Nonetheless, it was a carnival at the dirt mall. A blessed occurrence in the realm of white trashiness. We definitely had to indulge. Well, indulge in as much that Liz and her boyfriend went on a nauseating ride on their own and joined Melissa and I on a ride that abused the concept of centripetal force.
While I was there I spotted a girl who seemed familiar and I recalled having vaguely mixed feelings about her existence. When she went out of her way to point me out to the Blink-182 inspired boy drone at her side, I realized who she was. Irish Bird from Dutchess. I quickly decided that ignoring her existence as she did mine was the best course of action when one decides, apropos of nothing, that you are a stalker because you chatted with them once. Erm.
Oh, yes, back to the story at hand. Melissa and I were waiting with slightly bated breathe for the addition of Evan and his girlfriend. As he is our age and has never before been really linked with someone romantically, we had our doubts.
 
Stoat (c) The Mammal Society 2002
We were half expecting his friend Mike in a wig. Instead, a definite Vassar girl with shoulder length brown hair and glasses greeted us. She was one that might otherwise be called mousy, but I think this in inaccurate. She was more like a stoat (I just really wanted to work a stoat into this, as I was busy researching what sort of sounds a chinchilla should make). She and I didn't get to speak much, aside from my trying to show her Emily's skittish greyhound, but Evan informs me she enjoyed the party.
I went to speak with Melissa shortly after and she inquired as to how one would get bloodstains out of her work clothes, which were rather nice and thankfully red and black. I asked her why she had bloodstains and she briefly explained that she prevented a girl from hurting herself at work and got them as a result of the act. I love Melissa, she has such good stories. I told her that I wasn't certain. I knew that white wine got out red wine, so I suggested she find something that bled white. This logic didn't seem to work, so I polled the audience and we eventually decided that a few good washings would do the trick. It is never about slaying white blooded hellbeasts, is it?
Melissa and Liz hid in the corner of the room, observing people. Slowly, they began barricading their corner with pillows for protection. Of course, given an hour, this became The Fort. Melissa and Liz had seceded from the rest of the party and formed a sovereign nation. Zack quickly decided that he was an expatriate and joined The Fort. I stood guard for them briefly, though Evan took my post when I got up for some green peppers. Around this time, I believe it became MeLiZackstan.
Of course, as all good seceding nations, they needed a common enemy. This was more that easily found in the bitchy Beauty School Drop-Out. While everyone else was enjoying Flynn engaging in a fifteen minute conversation using the developmentally disabled chinchilla as a cell phone (though he insists that he was on hold for eight minutes of it), she was acting as though he were a complete idiot and unbelievably annoying. I checked, and it wasn't that she was sharing in the rest of us loathing her, she really didn't like Flynn. We were thus going to plan a war on her, but we got bored of that when Emily decided to open presents.
 
I'm apparently saying something amusing, given Melissa and Liz's reaction. No, wait, they are looking at Flynn.
My mother got remarkably lost on the way to the party with my younger brother. Evidently Emily's street isn't very well marked or cows were not used as landmarks. She was quite harried by my brother's irate chatter. He, by the way, took all the digital pictures of us at the party and somehow killed the battery in fifteen minutes, a feat I cannot reconcile. You may think that these are nice pictures, however, these are the only usable ones out of twenty or so. The rest look a bit like a stoned Bob Ross (like there is any other kind) attempting photographic impressionism. They both left shortly after they arrived. Emily thinks that my mother didn't have anyone to speak with, though I pointed out that my mother was evidently loquacious enough to tell Emily's mother that I am arrogant. How dare that finical mopsy dare to speak against such a one as I?!
After the party, Zack, Conor, Flynn, BSDO (self-invited), Jerame, M and I went to see Star Wars - Episode II, Attack of the Clones. Aside from laughing at all the wrong points and the fact that the movie had no substance once you got past the pretty CGI scenery, we liked it. It has the educational moral that all of the evil that occurs in the universe is the fault of Jar Jar. Though to accomplish this, he had to be given an important role, which frankly hurts me as a storyteller. Oh, and the pain continued over the fact that everyone is supposed to be ten years older, though this evidently only affected Aniken. And let us not forget the hideously badly written and unnecessary lines of C3PO. At least R2D2 has the class to never, ever speak. Yeah, this movie kind of sucked. However, it will be an extraordinarily great source of mocking hilarity once it comes out on DVD.


Soon in Xenology: Theories of the paranormal making our heads explode. M's belief in fairies. Trying to hang out with Venessa. New claddaugh ring. Loving M more. Being on a diet.


last watched: Rock 'n' Roll High School (Not willingly, you understand)
reading: Lasher: Lives of the Mayfair Witches
listening: Woodstock 99 Vol. 2 - Blue Album
wanting: Emily around before Sunday.
interesting thought: a wee piece of silver can make me so happy.
moment of zen: going out to lunch with M.
someday I must: run a marathon.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



eXTReMe Tracker