Last Wednesday my friends Peter and Tracy let me know that they were going to be up from Eugene for the long weekend and that they’d very much like to spend a night on my purple futon. We (and a bunch of other friends) had been talking about it for a couple weeks but no real plans were made until the preceding Wednesday, so I only had a couple days to understand that the weekend would not involve many Netflix and tackling the huge stack of books by my bed and the leisurely making of some marble magnets, perhaps, but that there would, in fact, be other people around, and that they would be be awesome and funny and make me stay up late and then eat vegan doughnuts the next morning.
So Friday night I stayed home and worked some more on Top Secret Plans, which I really hope that I can get done soon because I am getting a little tired of my Top Secret Plans for some reason. I mean, I am still excited about the Plans themselves but I am tried of thinking about them all the time. I would just like them to come to fruition so I can get on with my life, you know? But I worked on them anyway and that was my Friday, woo.
Saturday morning I got up early-ish and went over to Discovery Park to take part in this volunteer gig I’m doing through Seattle Works. What you do is spend one Saturday a month doing various chores at various organizations around town. Last month my team did some organic gardening (in the freezing sleet, apparently) at Lettuce Link but I couldn’t go because my mom was in town. This month we were pulling out the invasive Scotch broom from a certain section of the park.
It was a gorgeous day to be outside: sort of chilly and fresh but very sunny and we could see out across the Sound to the mountains and the sky was very blue. Some of us had weed wrenches but mostly we pulled the stuff out by hand. It was really hard. I’m still a little sore from it, actually, which is really embarrassing and perhaps indicates a need for more resistance training in my workout regimen, or something. It was funny, all the other people in the group who were, like me, well-meaning liberals who can’t seem to commit to a weekly volunteer gig, got very into it with figuring out how best to eradicate those gol-darn weeds. We started throwing pseudo-jargon around, like, “Uh, yeah, we need a wrench over here because there’s a nodule of dirt-related biomass that needs to be externalized, so can we have the approach team do their job first and then we’ll get in the heavy muscle?” Some people worked in groups, with a clearer-outer, a wrencher, and a cleanup person who would go behind and get all the smaller weeds. Others preferred to work in solitude with occasional calls for backup support: “Yeah, this is going to be a three-person weed, I can tell already.” Everyone was extremely friendly and nice and I could tell I was hanging out with a bunch of new people because they all laughed at my jokes. That only lasts a little while, I find…give them a couple more afternoons with me and they’ll be rolling their eyes and sidling away from whatever patch of weeds to which I happen to be dispensing habitat-based justice.
I managed to get my embarrassingly sore body home for a shower and a cursory attempt to clean up the house a little so that Peter and Tracy could actually find the purple futon, and then it was off to meet everyone at Chris and Audrey’s house before dinner and improvisational theater. Word won’t let me just type improv, I’m afraid. Oh, look, it just did. Huh. Anyway, it was the Seattle Festival of Improv that weekend and since our friend Ian is very involved in the seedy underbelly of the Seattle improv scene, our presence was required at a couple of the shows. We’d been told that we had to see Pimprov and I certainly wasn’t going to complain. John and I wondered if perhaps pimp hands would, somehow, be involved. Little did we know that it wouldn’t even matter if there were pimp hands involved because we were treated to not only the Pimp Warmup Exercise (“Pimp. Pimp. Pimp. Pimp. Ho. Ho. Ho. Ho…”) but also to the single funniest and most disgusting enactment of a blow job I have ever seen ever in the world. Now, you know normally Ampersand is an extraordinarily family-friendly site, and I don’t even say the f-word here most of the time, but I am still laughing about “Two fingers! Two fingers!” Probably nothing will ever be funny ever again to me.
Uh, let’s see. So I think after that show we did a lot of driving to various places to get various cars and bring them back to my house, where Peter and Tracy were staying. They were nice enough to listen to me tell them my entire life story and then we gossiped for a while and I spent some time being really really happy that these two are back in my life again. I was friends with Peter in college, when I was a totally rad senior, man, at the awesome hippie college and he was a totally dorky frosh at the totally dorky engineering school. (Confidential to dorks: please don’t tell anyone that I spent the majority of my time in college hanging out with you guys instead of at the drum circles at my own school, okay?) The summer I graduated he was living on campus and I was living across from campus and a bunch of us hung out every night and I think we were all going swing dancing a lot and Peter is about six four or something and so dancing with him was super fun. Also I think we were in a play together at one point. Now he is a crazy hippie PhD student who recently landscaped his hedges to look like crocodiles…clearly, he is my kind of people. I didn’t know Tracy as well back in college…in fact I’ve only started emailing with her recently, when she started reading this journal somehow and then we had a lot to say to each other and I wondered what the hell I’ve been doing for all these years, not being better friends with her. Fortunately for me, she was staying physically in my house and so we got to hang out a lot and drink tea and generally enjoy ourselves. Also, she left her bra in my room, so that’s a little memento.
Sunday morning we crawled out of our various beds and laughed at Peter’s bed head and ate vegan donuts and made plans to go to the Seattle Aquarium for some of the Octopus Week festivities…which we ended up missing completely, but whatever, at least the octopus was still there and we got to see it. Katie and John came along too and we busted down to downtown and soaked in the glory of the octopus. Well, I did, anyway. Not all members of our party were as interested in the octopus as I was…several of them decamped to the otter tank…but I spent some time with one of the octopus docents (who said “They’re like my kids’) and I was sort of hinting around that gosh, my lifelong dream was to handle an octopus because they are just such interesting creatures and really, even though I have an affinity for all cephalopods, I just love the octopus most of all. I think I was sort of hoping she’d be all “An octopus fancier! Well…I don’t normally do this, but….oh, what the heck, go on and stick your hand in the tank! She’s real playful!” She didn’t fall for it and so I was reduced to standing in a big crowd to watch the octopus feeding. Which was a little anticlimactic because she didn’t even come out from her den, just snaked an arm up and grabbed the fish filet or whatever it was. Oh well. My octopus dreams of glory go, for the moment, unfulfilled.
Everyone came over to my house for pizza after we went to the cheese shop…where I accidentally bought a package of ludicrously expensive crackers, which we dubbed “fittys” because that’s how many cents each cost…and then it was time to take a bunch of cars to yet another improv show, this time involving a group that our friend Ian is actually in. It was some sort of Battle Of The Alternative Theater Groups or something, where you had to vote on which of two groups was the best. It was very tense. We think the other group stacked the game, man, because they brought like eight hundred people from Bellingham to see the show. Poor Sisters of Sal could not compete…although, at leat their supporters clapped for the other side, unlike the supporters of another group I could mention. Anyway, so sore was our disappointment that there was nothing for it but to go to John’s house to watch Napoleon Dynamite and eat ice cream, and then stagger off home to the flannel sheets, after many declarations of love and devotion both to and from Peter and Tracy.
Clearly I am not living the rock star lifestyle I was meant to live because really, it wasn’t that big of a weekend. It involved a lot of logistics and driving around and gathering bags up and calling peoples’ cell phones and wondering where they were, but it was really pretty low-key, all in all. We spent a lot of time talking and downloading music and drinking hot chocolate and just sitting around. So I don’t know why I was so sluggish yesterday morning when it came time to get out of bed and get some laundry done before the lovely and talented Sundry came over for lunch. We went to conveyor-belt sushi and for a walk by the canal in Fremont and a poke around in pretty boutiques, which has to be one of my favorite activities in the world. It was another absolutely gorgeous Seattle day and it was so great to be outside and in the sun and looking at the ducks. We talked some smack and told some secrets and thought about how great it would be if you could extend the conveyor-belt theme to your house, like there’s a conveyor-belt that goes right by your bed and you can have a cupcake whenever you want to.
The rest of my day off yesterday was spent puttering around and putting laundry away and watching one of my poor neglected Netflix and switching my journal template and even reading a book for a little while before I fell asleep. I didn’t get the quiet weekend I’d anticipated but it was so good to be with my friends that I don’t even mind that I didn’t get to make marble magnets. And, plus, you know, “Two Fingers! Two fingers!”