You're going to have to forgive the somewhat scattered nature of this entry… I've been busy.
No, we didn't see any movies. Mike Moore is just going to have to do without my opening-weekend dollars, but we will be seeing Sicko on Wednesday. This weekend, Vicky's high school reunion pretty much gobbled up the whole thing.
Friday night, I hung out with Keith. My brother has recently moved to Washington and, like most ex-Californians, now spends most of his time complaining about California and those hailing from there as if he'd never entered the state. I run into this a lot from people who move out of state and the hypocrisy is just a little rich for my taste. I also run into it with people who move out of Orange County – this egotistical view that, while it might have had some redeeming quality when you were here, not it sucks. Well, tell you what, if you hate it here so much, stay away! Save everyone from the mundane repetitiveness of your complaints and stay at home. There. Problem solved.
Anyway, we headed out to Lancaster yesterday afternoon with a certainty that we did not want to arrive early. Earliness would be for leaving, not arriving. Only after we pulled up in front of the Best Western Inn, where the reunion would be, did we realize that "too early" was any time in our lives. This place looked like it landed pre-fabbed in the middle of the desert, like a bad drug trip or horror film. The front office was dank and our room was… occupied. "Just give me a minute," the maid asked us, cleaning our room very late in the day. Okay, so we waited.
During the 15 minutes or so it took her to clean the room, she also succeeded in spraying it with this horrible smell that permeated everything. The room was small, dank, uncomfortable… we were so happy to be staying for only one night. We would have been happier to stay at home (see above paragraph). It was easy for me to dress. I wore a slimming black slacks, purple dress shirt, and black coat… and looked fat, of course. Vicky wore a very nice, black dress. We were supposed to leave at 5pm… so I told Vicky when it was 6pm. She was totally ready to go and said, "Ummm, just a minute." That turned into a few more minutes. Vicky wasn't exactly excited to be there. But we finally did leave, walking over to the "convention center", which was little more than a few classrooms and meeting rooms with movable walls. Vicky immediately found a few, old friends – and the bar (our best friend of the evening!). We greeted the bar early and often.
I can't tell you what Vicky thought of the whole thing but it made me very glad that I haven't attended mine and I have no plans to start. The most pathetic guy there was someone who had created a CD of '80's memorabilia and, after showing it, he kept trying to sell it to people. That's the only thing all these people are going to remember about him, now: him and his crappy CD. It seems to me that you only take one thing away from you about each person, which is probably all your inebriated mind can hold. I don't want mine to be: wash-out, failure, loser. No thanks. I'll keep mine to myself. (And you…. The entire population of the world!) (I really have to rethink this whole "blogging" thing…) (Good thing nobody reads!)
There were two other things I noticed. Obviously, the first one is: the tits. Man, there were a lot of tits there! Most of them were fake and displayed prominently, like fleshy hood ornaments. There are some very insecure people at class reunions. (Oh, and there are pervs, too…) The other thing was what a bizarre, little time capsule the whole thing was. You had clips from '80's movies and TV shows (sadly) being projected before you, '80's candy on the table, '80's music being played, and people you knew (or didn't know) in the '80's. It was enough to make you curse the '80's… yet again. And I don't think that's indicative of the '80's. I figure all reunions are probably like that, sad dreams of the past that can never, ever come close.
That might explain why Vicky and I kept drinking. In my case, though, it was mostly boredom. We had six or seven drinks before we left and, for some reason, Vicky was staying sober while I was very much not. I wasn't getting embarrassing, I don't think, but I was getting quite the buzz going on. After we left, we hit the resident lounge to cash in our free drink tickets (only one each… dammit!) for even more booze. By the time we got back to our room, I was pretty sloppy. The bed was hard, without enough pillows. I just wanted to get to sleep so we could check out the next morning!
But that wasn't to be. At about 2am, I was standing, trying to figure out who was in the bed. You'd think that sleepwalkers think slowly; you'd be amazed at how much our minds race. And yet, it took me a couple of hours to realize I was with my wife and get back into bed. But I couldn't really sleep. So, I got dressed, accidentally waking Vicky ("I'm just going for a walk, hon."), and went for a walk. This is always a stupid idea. You're up; you're outside. Everyone else in the world is sleeping. On top of that, you're in Lancaster, the world's capital of Nowhere To Go! So, I walked laps around the motel for a while. Then, I saw this tiny kitten on the grounds. He was black and white, with an enormous head (probably the result of being undernourished). One eye was either closed or injured; he wouldn't come anywhere near me but we talked a bit. Then, I went out to lie down by the pool… at 6:30 in the morning…
I should tell you about the books. A new version of A Grand Canyon should be posted on Digital Word pretty soon. Breaking it into parts turned out to be a underwhelming idea – actually, crappy – so the complete book will be posted soon. As for the new book I'm working on, Daughter of a One-Armed Man, I finished the first quarter last week, halfway to halfway!
Vicky and I went home but were both so tired that we didn't want to do too much. I watched a little TV – everything we have is DVR'ed these days so viewing times and air times are never equal. I watched the premier of Burn Notice. It wasn't too bad. Bruce Campbell was there, so points for that, and the star, a young man named Jeffrey Donovan, has the charm of a young James Coburn. It's a little bit too MacGuyver at times and, at other times, it seems to want to be The A-Team. We'll just hope they don't do the same story every week. I'll give it a four out of five: nothing amazing but a good waste of time. Then, we watched one of the last episodes of Studio 60. We've loved this show so much that we're going to hate seeing the final episode. If it's possible for something to be "too good for TV", this was it. Of course, the thing that popped into my head was how come Matt Albie's (Matthew Perry's) ties aren't totally fat, like the ugly ties department stores sell these days. "He had a whole wardrobe department to find him clothes," Vicky contended, to which I replied, "That's what I need!"
But the night went too quickly and, soon, it was Monday morning. I awoke to go to the gym but made the mistake of checking my emails. Someone had sent me one of those completely useless surveys that fills the net these days and I, good little sheep that I am, had to take it. And there went my time to hit the gym. Instead, I decided to do some Tai Chi. Many years ago, I used to practice Tai Chi on a regular basis…. Stop laughing. Here's a good, basic move, if you'd like on. Standing with your feet about shoulder's-length apart, lower your butt a few feet, bending your knees. You should feel like you're sitting on a stool. Now, hold it. Tai Chi isn't about moving around; most of it is about very little movement. In this case, there's none at all. I used to be able to hold this for ten minutes. Not anymore, and it's just a warm up!
I've been thinking that changing things up a bit might help reduce my mental issues. And Tai Chi is something you don't need a whole lot of time, equipment, or a commute to do… it might be time for a change.