#265: WHAT I DID OVER MY LONG WEEKEND IN COSMOPOLIS, WHICH INCLUDED A PACKAGE I DID NOT EXPECT
My Easter weekend in Cosmopolis was a busy one. It always is, because both my parents and the Fiery One's parents live there, as well as our group of friends. It seems that we rush from one house to a pub to another house and back to the bus depot and our weekend is over. I feel like I need a good two weeks to spend there so I can settle in a bit, relax, and take the time to see everyone at a more amenable pace. I miss that city like mad and rushing around for three days leaves me little time to really enjoy my hometown.
I arrived in Cosmopolis on Thursday night, spent an hour at the Fiery One's parents' house, and then ran out to a pub to meet up with Batty, Warhol, and Stuart. Stuart was overflowing with generosity and kept me in beer and cigarettes throughout the evening, which I was deeply thankful for, because, as usual, I showed up in Cosmopolis with twenty bucks in the bank and fifteen in my wallet. I really must learn to plan these trips around my paycheque.
The Fiery One arrived on Friday, because his oh-so-important television producer job kept him late at the office the evening before. We hung out with his parents, and then we all went over to my parents to visit and look at their photographs from their trip to Cuba a month ago. Of course, according to my parents, all Cuban music sounds the same despite the fact that they spent most of their time in a tourist resort catering to non-Cubans, all darker-skinned Cuban children are adorable, and they express a certain sense of personal pride at giving out pesos to women who let them take their picture, assuming that their looks of confusion were not about the possible awkwardness of being paid for nothing by foreign tourists but about not knowing their own country's banks and currency exchange. I bit the inside of my cheek and ate half a cheese log generously spread on garlic-flavoured Ritz crackers to keep myself focussed on the task of being a pleasant individual.
The rest of Friday, we hung out with my parents at their house drinking coffee, watching television shows produced by the Fiery One's company, and then watching the much less than barely satisfactory "13 Going On 30" with Jennifer Garner. I kept feeling embarrassed for the poor woman over and over as she pushed her way through horrendous script writing and scenes with obviously disinterested cast members.
The highlight of my Friday night was playing Scrabble with my mother. Neither she nor I get to play it with real, live people, because most people are too dull to understand the finer joys of playing a word like jiao with the J on a triple-letter score in a spot that totally messes up your opponent's next move. I won with a score of 307, which is actually kind of low, but I won, which always sends a self-satisfied thrill through the shallower parts of my sense of self-worth. Oh, how I did wallow, although outwardly I displayed less gloating and more good sportsmanship than is usual for me.
On Saturday, we walked around my old neighbourhood's main drag, poking our heads into shops. The weather was so fine that we picked up coffees to go and wandered around outside, chatting with acquaintances that we kept running into. After that, we met up with Batty at our favourite Cosmopolian Vietnamese restaurant, and I had my customary bowl of rice noodles with two spring rolls and barbeque pork. The proprietor always knows my order and rarely bothers to even bring me a menu.
Saturday evening was spent at my friend Ray's house, drinking wine like it was Kool-Aid. I got to hang out and talk with her and other mutual friends that I haven't seen in ages, which always makes me feel as though I am getting reacquainted with myself somehow. It is as though I forget bits of myself when I am in Cityville for too long. Perhaps I will write a very bad poem entitled "The City: An Amnesia of Origins". Then again, perhaps I won't.
Okay, I have to mention this one incident. I was going to avoid it altogether, because Ray reads this here site, but what the hell. (Forgive me, Ray). I met her boyfriend for the first time on Saturday night. I had my hopes up for liking him, because Ray is dear to me. I have to admit that I was having some difficulties finding a spark of affection for the man, and as the evening wore on, the strange tension between Ray and him did not make it any easier. What really did it in, though, was when we were all preparing to leave, and the three of us were alone in the kitchen. Completely unprovoked, the boyfriend pulled down his jeans and his underwear, revealing the whole dangling package. I think I said something like "no one needs to see that" and excused myself to go get my shoes and coat. The Fiery One thought that he should go back into the kitchen to say a proper goodbye to Ray, but I told him that no one needed to go in there and that I would explain in the car. We left with shouts of apology from Ray echoing out her front door, which were completely unnecessary, since it was his package that was being presented spontaneously without any encouragement on her part. RAY, IT'S OKAY. I'VE SEEN SUCH PACKAGES BEFORE. IMAGINE THAT I AM LIKE A DOCTOR AND IT WAS LIKE MY SEEING HIS ELBOW. REALLY.
On Sunday, we battled hangovers with ibuprofen and had brunch with both sets of parents, packed up, and then headed to the bus depot for our three-hour trip back to Cityville. It was actually an excellent bus ride, because I've been reading Henry Miller's Sexus, which is one of the lustiest, socially astute literary rants I've read in a long, long time. You have to kind of overlook some of the more sexist and racist language as a product of the period, but aside from that, I can't put it down. I keep folding over the corners of pages with particularly stimulating passages, such as this:
When finally I picked myself up and staggered off I was like a man under an anesthetic who has managed to slip away from the operating table. Everything looked familiar yet made no sense; it took ages to coordinate a few simple impressions which by ordinary reflex calculus would mean table, chair, building, person. Buildings emptied of their automatons are even more desolate than tombs; when the machines are left idle they create a void deeper than death itself. I was a ghost moving about in a vacuum. To sit down, to stop and light a cigarette, not to sit down, not to smoke, to think or not think, breathe or stop breathing, it was all one and the same. Drop dead and the man behind you walks over you; fire a revolver and another man fires at you; yell and you wake the dead who, oddly enough, also have powerful lungs. Traffic is now going East and West; in a minute it will be going North and South. Everything is proceeding blindly according to rule and nobody is getting anywhere. Lurch and stagger in and out, up and down, some dropping out like flies, others swarming in like gnats. Eat standing up, with slots, levers, greasy nickels, greasy cellophane, greasy appetite. Wipe your mouth, belch, pick your teeth, cock your hat, tramp, slide, stagger, whistle, blow your brains out. In the next life I will be a vulture feeding on rich carrion: I will perch on top of the tall buildings and dive like a shot the moment I smell death.
- Miller, Henry. The Rosy Crucifixion: Sexus Book I. Evanston, Illinois: The Greenleaf Publishing Company, 1965. 11.