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The Syndicate

 Nine days (part 2)   
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Saturday, October 09 2004 @ 04:54 AM PDT
 Viewed:  963 times  
LifeDay the second: Near death and a burgeoning fascination

As the attempt at a second chorus of the song degraded into sporadic laughter and conversation, I decided it was time to crack a beer. Because we were pretty much the only guests in the place, we were having our party right in the back of the parking lot in front of the groom's parents' cottage. Before long the people that had run back to their respective other hotels had arrived, including the bride and groom, and (separately) Tara.

Many toasts were offered and the party progressed, but Tara remained somewhat aloof from the crowd. I suppose that she probably knew fewer people there than I did, and I suspect that her venture into dish washing had left her feeling a bit alienated from the merriment. By virtue of the tacit understanding between the two of us and the friend that was trying to set us up, it seemed to be my job to help integrate her into the party. This, however, had its difficulties.

When I'm at a party, I'm far from being in my element. While my nature is not precisely misanthropic, I tend to function best away from other people. The somewhat gregarious facade that you may know me to have quickly becomes exhausting to maintain, and I want nothing more than to sit quietly somewhere, smoke a butt, sip my drink, and spend some time processing the night.

What I should've done is gone for a walk alone with Tara and taken care of the getting-to-know-you part right at the outset, and then returned to the party as, at a minimum, two people that had some brief amount of shared experience from which to act as a foundation for the remainder of small talk. Two kindred (even by convenience) loners approaching a crowd is a much easier situation to be in than that of two people individually orbiting the crowd.

As they say, hindsight.

The impulse to do just that was, in fact overridden by two factors. The first was that there were a few people there that I hadn't seen in quite a while, and with whom I wanted to catch up. The other factor, the one that wasn't complete bullshit, was that I'm fundamentally a shy person that over analyzes everything, so asking a girl to go for a walk like that for me (unlike other guys) isn't as easy as asking whether she'd like another beer. In my world, posing that question would be about as easy as asking her to drop trow in front of the whole party and start diddling herself. In some circumstances the request might actually pass my lips, but as a practical matter, the circumstances really have to be just right.

So we orbited, occasionally colliding (which was nice). She found a sort of kinship with the groom's youngest brother's girlfriend, and we managed bits and pieces of conversation through the remainder of the evening. At some point she said goodnight, and headed for the back seat of a truck in which she had blown up an air mattress. It was about three in the morning, and I found myself once again to be dateless and bedless through nothing other than inaction, but the bar, as it were, was still open.

About an hour later, the groom's parents went to bed. The father's parting request was not that we keep it quiet, or anything of the like. He simply asked that we make sure there was one can of Budweiser left for him in the morning. By five in the morning there were only four of us still at it. By five thirty, it was down to three. Just before six, my two remaining compatriots stumbled away and I began to make my preparations for bed by fishing out a cigarette and popping another beer.

Unlike the last wedding that I went to, in addition to my lack of lodging, I also had a lack of clothing. So it was that as the sun rose on day two, I climbed into the passenger seat of my jeep wearing my five hundred dollar suit and a pair of sunglasses, wrapped myself up in a blanket that had last been used as bedding for a small dog, and quickly fell asleep.

I awoke to the noise of a vehicle pulling in next to me. I doubt I would have remembered that fact, except that the vehicle in question was a large white van whose sole purpose seemed to be to reflect as much sunlight as possible into my still-pickled brain. It was about nine thirty, and I was still very far from sober.

I made my way slowly over to the cottage, where the parents were on the porch chatting merrily with some friends of theirs that had been at the wedding but hadn't made it to the party afterward. On my way over, I noticed that Tara was giving me a funny look from the window of the truck she had camped out in, but I was in no condition to interpret it. I made the requisite greetings to the smiling group on the porch and found a chair to slump in while I worked on the gallon jug of water I had bought on the way to the hotel the previous night. Before long, some of the others had crawled out of the woodwork and the porch was rapidly turning into a genial, if overtly hung over and food-free, picnic.

Tara eventually roused herself, and whereas I looked like the poster boy for hangovers, complete with rumpled suit pants, partially unbuttoned dress shirt and shoes with a high polish shine and laces untied, she looked almost refreshed. Sure, the pink hair dye from the night before had stained her neck a little bit from where she'd slept on it, and the gel that had performed flawlessly in its efforts to provide a subtly spiky hairstyle was noticeably worse for wear, but her eyes were alert and she moved with a purpose.

As it turned out, she did have a purpose. Two, in fact.

The first was to inform me that the reason she'd slept in the truck was so that I could use a pullout couch in one of the rooms that had been offered to her. She further asserted that I had been there when that was all being discussed. To be frank, I vaguely recollect some sort of conversation between her and the room's occupant shortly before she crashed in the truck, but I can't remember now what the thrust of the conversation was, much less in the condition I was in when I finally went to bed. So, for the second time in a twenty-four hour period, she had taken one for the team and her efforts went mostly unnoticed.

Once that was out of the way, her second purpose was made clear to me. We were going to get some breakfast.

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  • Nine days (part 2)
    Authored by: Dan4th on Saturday, October 09 2004 @ 12:50 PM PDT
    I think I have a bit more excuse than most guys my age to slipback into the
    jargon of junior high, but I still feel slightly awkward when I say: "Smooth
    move, ex-lax."
    Nine days (part 2)
    Authored by: matt on Saturday, October 09 2004 @ 05:05 PM PDT
    I have my moments.
    Nine days (part 2)
    Authored by: Dan4th on Tuesday, October 19 2004 @ 08:53 AM PDT
    "And just when our hero reached the most exciting part of his tale, he was
    whisked away on another whirlwind adventure, leaving his audience
    befuddled and bemused."
    Nine days (part 2)
    Authored by: matt on Tuesday, October 19 2004 @ 07:46 PM PDT
    Yeah, sorry about the blue balls. I'll eventually get around to finishing this, but work, life, and more work have conspired to distract.
    Nine days (part 2)
    Authored by: Dan4th on Wednesday, October 20 2004 @ 09:45 AM PDT
    *shrug* s'okay. Not the first time it's happened, and not as if I haven't caused
    my share of literal and figurative blue balls in my time.