I really hate it when I go to swim practice, and some new macho guy in my lane assumes that he's faster than me ('cause I'm y'know, a feeble girl) and goes ahead of me the ENTIRE WORKOUT. Meanwhile, I'm nipping at his toes, while he's making me MISS MY INTERVAL. Grrrrr. I was grousing about this to Zack, who quite sweetly and reasonably replied, "Not everything is a competition honey." Yes baby, but swimming is.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Thursday, September 02, 2004
“It had ceased to be a blank space of delightful mystery – a white patch for a [child] to dream gloriously over. It had become a place of darkness.”
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
I went to my high school reunion this past weekend. It was a fucking disaster. Traumatic and scarring. Where shall I begin? As you may be aware, I had some doubts going in... but decided, to hell with it. Better to know what happened than wonder what happened. I'd made a pact with one of my friends - if she went, I would go, and vice versa. But she betrayed me early on. Another recently engaged friend decided to go as well, so I felt relatively safe. But before we even arrived at our hosts' (Justin, Brian and Rusty) home on Friday night, the stress level was high, due to a delayed flight, a lost car rental reservation because of the delay, and pure hunger. We spent most of the next day relaxing with our hosts by brunching with Angela and Steven and watching Ali G. But it soon came time to pass before the crucible. I girded myself with psychological armor. My shields were tangible though, carefully culled from my closet, and their craftsmen had names: Catherine, Marc, Manolo and Miuccia (I had decided to forgo the requested "luau wear" in lieu of a dress with floral appliques. It's the closest I could get - my sarong has a mildew problem. Yech.) We hit the road, but despite my preparations, I still felt the cold fingers of trepidation squeezing my heart. But I took a deep breath, and told myself it was the coffee I’d consumed earlier that made me jittery. Zack tried to ease my fears as best he could, but when I tried to get ahold of Leanne, the aforementioned friend, I learned her boyfriend got into a biking accident that afternoon, so she wisely bailed.
The event was held at the House of Blues in Anaheim. Now, I though it was going to be in some strip mall off of Ball Road or some standard thoroughfare. I hadn't been in the Anaheim area for about 15 years, so I was ignorant of what lay ahead. We exited the freeway and passed a behemoth corridor of hotels, amusement parks, monorails and shopping centers dubbed "Downtown Disney" (an axis of evil if I ever heard of one). Pretty soon, we were driving through a residential area, when we realized that we had shot past it, naively hoping our gathering place had no association with the Disney Corporation. We stopped to ask for directions, and much to our dismay, we learned that the House of Blues was located inside "Downtown Disney." (the horror! the horror!) We resentfully turned into the Disneyland hotel parking lot and followed the trail of bourgeois cattle adorned with Bermuda shorts, slogan t-shirts, Tevas and fanny packs. Walt's labyrinth of signs dictated contradictory directions of "Downtown Disney", "Disney California," the Disneyland Hotel and the lair of the black rodent itself, Disneyland. ("Paths, paths, everywhere...") We decided to continue with the crowd. As we drew closer, the din of neon lights, theme music and screaming babies magnified exponentially. We feared that we were in the right place. Suddenly, we found ourselves thrust into what the Disney corporation considered a utopian urban downtown. Chain restaurants and corporate-owned stores ornamented with the mark of the rodent abounded. Demon spawn darted about underfoot festooned with the rodent’s ears, as slower ones trailed after, dragging helium receptacles shaped like the rodent’s head. Those who lacked rodent paraphernalia were throwing temper tantrums in an attempt to coerce their guardians in obtaining some for them. Adults clad in raiment of the rodent wandered about dully, hypnotized by the spectacle of flashing lights and the mariachi music. I wondered if any of the “Downtown Disney” developers ever read Day of the Locust. Didn’t they know what happened at the end? We had to cut through the Mariachi audience in order to get to the House of Blues. (Have you ever seen a large audience for Mariachi players? Very scary) For a moment I froze, paralyzed by the cacophony of swirling lights, mariachi music and rodent motifs. I was absolutely terrified. I hadn’t been that terrified in quite some time. But we had some place to be, so we forged ahead.
We arrived at the House of Blues (House of Horror was more like it) where we were both forced to don tacky polyester rainbow leis. Mine immediately began to shed on my dress (it goes without saying that it did *not* match), and I was also bullied into wearing a name tag with my senior picture in which I was sporting unibrow, pancake makeup and set hair on it. Things did not look good.
To be continued.
"...I was completely unnerved by a sheer blank fright, pure abstract terror... as if something altogether monstrous, intolerable to thought and odious to the soul, had been thrust upon me unexpectedly."