California Knows How To Party

New and Improved! With linked pictures!

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh man. Oh, I am so tired. I got smashed in the face during jello wrestling and hurt my wrist during the Amazing Water Circus. I got a splinter. I got a sunburn. I ate too much greasy, fatty, sugary, salty, crunchy, crispy, yummy food. My sides still hurt from laughing and dancing too much. It was such a good party.

There were tons of people there, starting from when Carl and I got in at 10:00 Friday morning to…well, to now, probably. On Saturday morning all the bedrooms, the floors, and the garage were paved with sleepy partygoers. There was a lot of good food. There were many many many many good conversations going on at any given time:

Liberals Aren’t Very Visceral, And Thus Are Not So Compelling
Hey, I Really Like Spider-Man
So, All These People Went To The Same School, Pretty Much?
I Sure Hate My Job, Yet I Sure Like Money
Science Is Fun!
Other People’s Relationships Are Weird, Aren’t They
What Is “Mainstream,” Anyway?
I Don’t Think I Could Be A Drag Queen Because It’s Too Much Work
Colonialism Is Alive And Well In Our World Today
Campus-Based Evangelical Movements and Their Discontents
I Vastly Prefer Boca Burgers To Gardenburgers for a Variety of Reasons
Body Image Issues Are An Albatross Around My Neck
Here’s How You Tie An Alpine Butterfly Knot
The Point of Grad School Is…?

There was a band. There were many henna designs on various parts of various people’s bodies. There were many scandalously scandalous strappy tank tops in evidence, my own included…I save up all my skimpy clothes-wearing desires for this party once a year, you see. There was a gigantic fruit salad and ice cream made with a hand-cranked machine. There were lines for the bathrooms and a lot of bed head. There were Stupid Human Tricks, during which various limber-limbed folks would contort themselves into pleasing configurations. There was flirting. There was much reminiscing about college days, idealized and otherwise. There was a scavenger hunt in which people attending the party were themselves clues you had to gather. There was even a trip to the emergency room, which thankfully ended up just fine.

I talked with people I hadn’t seen for several years, and found them highly amusing and very easy on the eyes. I talked with people I see all the time, and gave them an extra hug just in case. I met some new people and hoped I could see them again. I made hazelnut trufffles. I admired costumes. I danced a couple of tangos, a couple of swings, and a very aerobic dance that can only be correctly danced with My Friend Anna, to Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps. I also did the only dance I know how to do to regular music, which goes like this, if you haven’t had the opportunity of seeing it performed: 1) Form hands into fists. 2) Raise hands to level of head. 3)Bend arms rapidly and rhythmically at elbows. 4) For extra fun, lower fists to level of chest and hips, and repeat. I “went to the bathroom” several times with Anna for gossip purposes. I sat in the hot tub until I felt vaguely parboiled. I spent an hour just walking around through various parts of the house, just looking at people and getting a little snack and sitting on the couch and smiling. Needless to say, I was in full party mode for the entire weekend, where I was just in love with everyone and thought everyone was so cute, and I laughed really loudly at pretty much everything everyone said. I was also the queen of ridiculous remarks at a moment’s notice, of which this is only one example:

Boy 1 to Boy 2: Hey, what kind of fabric is that shirt made of? It’s really shiny.
Chiara(popping up out of nowhere): It’s one hundred percent faaaaaaaaabulous!
Boy 1 and Boy 2: [raised eyebrows]

And did you think I was just being silly, up there in the first paragraph, when I mentioned jello wrestling? Oh no. They had a kiddie pool filled with unflavored gelatin, which had to be mixed in a bucket in the bathtub with a drill attachment. Apparently they’d ordered bulk gelatin, but it didn’t get to the house on time, and so they had to run out and get some at the last minute. Like thirteen pounds, I think it was. The gelatin they previously ordered should be arriving today, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what they’ll do with it now that wrestling is over for the year. They will definitely all have very strong nails though, so that’s a comfort. Anyway, so they mixed up the jello, put it in the pool overnight, and in the morning it was all set up, and extremely disgusting. It sort of melted during the day, but by the time everyone was ready to wrestle, it had sort of congealed again, in an even more revolting manner. People signed up in pairs for two-minute rounds, which were duly cheered on and refereed. I thought I would die laughing when Andy picked Patri up and (sort of) slammed him, or when Anna and Dawn got these really frustrated looks on their faces, like the jello was just so slippery, and they just couldn’t get a grip on anything, and they just wanted to pin the other person already!, or when Rob pretty much had his head under the level of the jello and had to spit out a huge horrid mouthful, much to the glee of the onlookers. I hope I can get some pictures to post here…faces blurred out to protect folks’ reputations, if neccesary…because my slender powers of description just do not do this justice. Maybe if I had wrestled my ownself, with Craig, wearing orange board shorts, screaming myself hoarse, and had managed to pin him for the required three seconds instead of only two, I could paint a better picture for you, but since no one can prove I did (no one who can’t be bribed, that is), I guess I can’t. Oh well, you’ll just have to trust me when I say that if you are having a party, and you don’t want people just to stand around with drinks in their hands talking about their work week, then Jello Wrestling should be your first consideration. It really has a way of pulling people together.

The next morning Carl left for his Harvard program as planned, causing a little weepiness on my part…I think I may have even tried to smooch him one more time through the car window as he left for the airport. He’s there right now, probably going to his first lecture as I write this. Hi Carl! Sure is muggy on the East Coast, ain’t it? I was feeling sad after he left, so I decided to distract myself by getting into the pool and pretending to be a whale.

I was introduced to this technique by Amy at theVenetian Pool. To emulate your friends of the briny deep, go underwater and crouch down at the bottom of the pool, and then, with your arms pinioned tightly to your sides, push off up out of the water and fall sideways. As if you’re breaching, you know? People immediately recognize this as a whale when it’s done properly. For extra hilarity, make humpback whale noises as you breach, or make a fin with your elbow, or spout water as you go over. I promise you there is nothing funnier in the whole world. I spent something like four hours in the pool doing this. My former career as a little kid “playing in the pool” was in evidence as various people started joining in…we did sort of a synchronized whale swimming routine in various configurations. Then we turned to more complicated manuevers like underwater handstands where you have to touch with your feet the feet of other people doing a handstand, and putting on a diving bell made out of a plastic recycle bin over your head and having people push you down so you can breathe underwater as if you were in a space suit. This was me, bouncing up and down: “I love the pool! I love whales! I love handstands!” I think the next time I have to diagnose someone with depression, I’m going to write under Treatment Plan: “Pretend to be a whale in the pool for a couple of hours.”

At one point yesterday, after a lot of people had left and people were sitting around the living room waiting to go to the airport, just chatting, I wondered aloud if the reason the weekend was so fun was because it was especially childlike. With, like, scheduled activities, and a bathtub full of root beer. No one could quite decide, because we were all pretty sure that real kids wouldn’t be allowed to stay up that late or to jello wrestle or a good number of other things. If I could barely afford the plane fare to get down there, I’m sure a ten-year-old couldn’t. So what I thought, later, on the plane home, was that this weekend was what you dream, as a kid, adulthood will be like. Before you start thinking about negative body image and institutionalized racism and what to do about people who don’t love you even though you really really want them to. You have this idea that, as a grownup, you’ll be able to do all the things you long to but can’t: eat your weight in Skittles, stay up all night, be with your friends whenever you want to, play in the pool a whole afternoon. I am awed by the ability of the members of the Alpine Butterfly Lodge to put so much time and thoughtfulness and effort into bringing their friends together the way they do every year at the summer solstice, and by their unique gifts for hospitality and general fun, and for letting us enjoy being grown-ups by letting us act like kids in their very own Barbie Dream House. I can’t wait for next year!

Me, drinking it all in.

1 comment

  1. The pics links are broken! WAH!