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Alone at last

This afternoon was the first time in about a month that I haven’t been in close proximity to another human, and it’s sort of nice. I finished my Michael Crichton novel, changed a bunch of light bulbs that had flickered their last (my bedroom is now bathed in 200 glorious watts of incandescent power), cleaned house a bit, scratched myself, and performed a few other activities in which other people generally aren’t interested.

My solitude comes after herding Erin onto the 2:19 bus out of this town, completing a very nice two-day visit. She arrived Thursday night to some of the best cooking Bryan and I (okay, mostly Bryan) have done so far: stuffed mushroom caps and pasta with red wine. She caught the tail end of Kelly and Laurel as they hustled back to Port Angeles, or “the PA” as residents have nicknamed it, and Brett showed up before long in a skin-tight red tee shirt reading “I got crabs in Maryland” across the chest. To his credit, a cartoon crab accompanied the text, and skin-tight is a relative term; my two hands can’t encircle his upper arm, and a full-grown bison could easily curl up inside his ribcage. Guess which one of those metrics is hyperbole and win a nifty prize.

The three of us went to The Irish Emigrant on 60th and the Ave to hear some of Brett’s fraternity brothers play music. The Emigrant is much hyped as the place to be for UW students, but I found it comprised more aging frat boys than any other demographic. Of course, it’s summer time, so maybe the crowd is different. Erin and I shared a few pitchers and Brett bought us both Long Island iced teas, and the alcohol was our refuge – the band made it impossible to carry on a normal conversation, so getting drunk was my only source of entertainment. After my fifth time yelling, “HI! I’M ZACH!” in a potential friend’s ear, I gave up and retreated reluctantly into my glass.

Erin and I walked back to my place around 1am, but for some reason she was bound and determined to spend the night at Brett’s. She wouldn’t let the fact that she was laughably inebriated and had no idea how to get to Brett’s house stand in her way, so I wrote down walking instructions and sent her off. Standing at the edge of my driveway, watching her teeter away on four-inch heels, dragging a suitcase behind her with one hand and carrying a six-pack in the other, I started thinking “maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” but she was so steadfast in her resolve that I suppressed my inhibitions and went back inside where it was warm. She’s a big girl.

She got lost within three blocks and couldn’t find my instructions. She managed to locate a pay phone and call Brett’s house to get a second set, but Brett must not have been very coherent, because she ended up asking a homeless man how to get there. She says he seemed sorry for her.

The next afternoon we laid about with Alexandra at Magnusson park, then bought some barbecue supplies at QFC and went our separate ways. Al was going to a party on Lake Union at which we wouldn’t know anyone, so I called Julian and asked him where the party was at, and he responded that he was already all up in it. We walked to his house, where we cooked meat on the non-vegan side of the barbecue and lost my first game of beer pong most egregiously. Julian’s housemates are like a police line-up of college trends: Adam, aka “Beard”, aka “Eco-Hunk”, is the resident Hippy; Julian and Steve proudly represent the Metal front; various other residents and guests bust out with Indie, Emo, and occasionally Ska, Reggae, and even West Coast Rap. The tension between Emo and Hippy ran especially high: during a hotly-contested beer pong game, I overheard this heated exchange between combatants:

Emo: “Hey Hippy, what’s the matter? Did you have to wash your clothes? All out of patchouli oil? If you lose we shave your head.”

Hippy: “Shut up, Emo! Why don’t you go play a guitar and cry about a girl?”

They actually referred to each other like that. It was very entertaining. Overall, metal seemed to be the dominant subculture in the house, as that’s what blared from the boom box on the front porch. God-awful metal, I might add. No one seemed motivated to walk to Gasworks for the fireworks show, but I rallied the troops as best I could and ended up with me, Julian, Erin, and Jenny, a girl Julian is dating. We were still about 10 minutes down the Burke from the park when the sky overhead burst into vibrant colors. We plunked ourselves down on a grassy patch and enjoyed the show, which I think was actually made better by being far enough away so that we couldn’t hear “Born in the USA.” I was impressed, just like last year. I always forget how loud the fireworks are – their dull booms punch the air like a meaty fist, and the claps periodically set off car alarms as an added patriotic gesture. The final volley of pyrotechnics hung in the air for almost a minute, a golden, shimmering curtain of sparks that slowly faded to black.

Erin and I woke late and made omelets and fatty breakfast sausage before she had to catch her bus to Tacoma. I’ve eaten more meat in the last week living with Bryan than in a month with Nathan, and I love it. Be assured I’ll be trying my damnedest to woo him back to the dark side once he returns from Mexico – with Ashley gone, it will just be difficult, rather than impossible. Hear that Ashley?! He’s mine!

Posted in Musings.

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