Low Key

You know you’ve had a good weekend when you don’t update about it until the following Tuesday, right? My friends Anna and Rob were here ostensibly for Stockstock purposes but really it was so they could spend twenty-four hours a day entertaining me. I appreciate that about them very much.

They came in Friday evening and we had our usual hour-long “miscommunication” about where to meet at the airport. Okay, guess what. If you are coming to visit me and I’m going to pick you up at the airport, I’m picking you up at baggage claim. Right where all the escalators are. Not outside and not upstairs at ticketing and not in the bathroom and not physically on the baggage carousel itself. Inside, by the escalators at baggage claim. I seem to always omit this information when I email people to tell them how excited I am that they’re coming to visit. Inside, escalators, baggage claim, you, me. Okay.

So we found each other eventually, after I’d left an incoherent message on the ABL machine in Sunnyvale: “Uh, hey, yeah, it’s Chiara, um, does anyone know if Anna and Rob actually got on the plane to Seattle? Um, if not, could you like, call me? Or something? Yeah. Okay. Thanks.” Because we are boring people who like to sleep, we came back to the new house, which of course was new to them too, and ate cookies and read a bedtime story and all went to sleep. I told them about the Jacuzzi in my bathroom and they were pretty excited about that until I told them it’s really just a one person Jacuzzi, which I think disappointed their expectations of my stripper-friendly lifestyle. We did have the idea to get some carrots and potatoes and put them in the tub with whomever was attempting to sit in it, thereby creating some sort of delicious cannibal soup, but as with all my great ideas this one didn’t come to fruition. I told them I would be waking them up if the Rustler made an appearance, but it didn’t, so I didn’t, and I got plenty of sleep to insure my waking up at six the next morning as usual.

That is one of the bycatches of responsible jobliness, I have found…I set the alarm for six every morning and it goes off and I wake up and usually stay in bed murmuring reasons why I don’t have to get up quite yet until about seven. That’s all fine and good but I do this on weekends too, which is not so good. I try to sleep late but I am very rarely successful at it, which is a really terrible thing. Anyway, I was up and ready to head up a shopping expedition for barbecue stuff, which I had stupidly told people I would be having that day.

I am possibly the world’s worst hostess ever. I like people and I am trying to get around the idea that I may occasionally want to have people enter my house but it’s been brought to my attention that those people may not actually want to enter my house for any reason whatsoever. Case in point: my little cookout. It started with my realizing I don’t know how to use the grill, and while we did get that figured out eventually, it didn’t stop me from a) burning the pizza to a carbon crisp, b) just sort of randomly throwing delicious feta-spinach and sundried tomato sausages at people, and going, “Yeah, there are some forks over there if you’re picky” and c) toting out the paper towel roll in lieu of you know, napkins or anything. This was especially humiliating as Mark (of Fish Fin Dinner fame) was there and he’d just had a delicious dinner party just the weekend before and I felt that he must be judging my complete lack of hostessly grace. The man grills polenta and decorates the outdoor table with fresh sprigs of rosemary cut from the rosemary bush, people. How can I compete? Certainly not by going “Uh, yeah, just scrape off the burnt bit, okay?”

Fortunately all my guests were much more refined than I am and we managed to avoid food poisoning and hang out by the lake before heading out to see Ian’s Twisted Flick. Rob won a door prize to begin with, which was nice, and we happily settled down to laugh at everything Ian said during the film. It’s a pretty cool type of improve…the actors take suggestions from the audience beforehand and just adlib over the film and hilarity ensues. We’re biased, I think, but Ian really is the best cast member and we felt super cool knowing him. And I got a little glowing skull to go along with the glowing devil duckie I’d got that afternoon (for free!) at Archie McPhee, an important spot on Anna’s agenda whenever she comes to Seattle. I am tolerably well set up for glowing macabre things right now, which is good because my decorating efforts haven’t been going well lately and I was in search of a new theme. Oh, and then I made everyone watch Krull because clearly I wanted to make my own Twisted Flick. Krull, while an absolutely terrible movie that I remember being on TV every week for most of 1986 for some reason, is much improved either if you scream “Lasers!” at will or if you fall asleep for twenty minutes of it. Doing both of those things (at the same time if you can manage it) is even better.

Sunday we had delicious pastries for breakfast and headed out to the zoo for a while. There is a spider exhibit there in what used to be the old bug zoo and that was pretty exciting, and of course the two-toed sloth, fruit bats, and armadillos (armadillo?) at the Day and Night exhibit never fail to please. I was off my game though and feeling a little down and so there was nothing for it but to come home and pour my heart out to Anna, who proved her mettle as my friend even though she’s been listening to me cry to her about boys for fully ten years now. At the ABL party this year we’d been kind of joking about this being our ten year anniversary of being friends and that we were going to have a cake…and so, my tear ducts being fully exhausted, we immediately ingested some that we happened to have picked up the day before on one of our several shopping trips to several grocery stores. She tried to make carrot cake soup a la Penny Arcade and just like that it was time to go to Stockstock.

It was fun to see what different entries did with the same footage…it’s really more of an editing festival than a film festival, since the whole idea is to put together a short film out of existing footage. There were music videos (including an excellent one for “I Hung My Head as sung by Johnny Cash) and true crime stories and superhero promotions and political ads and obscure film documentaries and a truly inspired DVD deleted scenes for a movie that doesn’t exist. Plus a couple of others that gave me a headache and that I didn’t think compared to Anna and Rob’s submission, which didn’t make it into the festival, sadly, although they did get their names in the credits as “Filmmakers.” I was very proud. I was also pleasantly surprised that the whole thing was like an hour and a half, which is the perfect non-fidgety time frame for this sort of thing. I made good use of the time between the movies by writing pithy one-word reviews of each on the program. Sadly, I now have no idea what “Woo!” and “Meh,” and “Oh HELL no” refers to for most of them. But whatever. Good fun and good films and plenty of time to get home and watch more movies and eat pizza and ice cream and regret that I had to go to work the next morning and that I don’t live closer to Anna and Rob.

This visit was a lot like the one we had in February, where I got on a plane so that I could go to the mall and make dinner. I guess that counts as a vacation for me and I think that is just great. While it’s definitely fun to go on adventures and expeditions and things with your friends, it’s also deeply satisfying to…I don’t know, just pretend like you all live together again the way you did in 1994 and go and do fun things but low-key fun things because since you see each other all the time there’s no need to make a production out of it. And maybe in 2014 we’ll all be living together again anyway and spending all this low-key time together again and remembering when we had to fly to see each other and could only spend weekends in each others’ company. I can hardly wait.

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