I had to separate this post for obvious reasons when you read it. It didn’t quite merge with the flow of the other post; for that matter, it didn’t really even match the flow of the entire weekend. But yet again, I find myself in situations bereft of sanity and fit only for blogging. I suppose I should be thankful for that in light of NaBloPoMo.
“There are parties like this…”
I spent most of Saturday with three Ph.D. students who had also presented at the conference. Which included PhDboy, a guy in two of my classes who presented in my panel on open source software. (Hello!) Saturday was the easy day – two sessions and out by noon. As a group we decided to walk down Mill Avenue, a trendy local street to get food and do some sightseeing.
Now after PhDboy and I were being relatively friendly during the conference, milling around together and both a bit baffled by the dry atmosphere. He was decidedly more enthused about the sessions where as I was very enthused by the free cookies. (Showing you were our priorities lay, in theory.) Our conversation had been riddled with sexual jokes all day after he got a call from an ex-girlfriend that he asked me to interpret.
“I say it’s a booty call.”
“Well, you ask if you can call her back when you’re in town and she says no and that she only wants to do lunch today. That would be my first thought – booty call.”
“During the day?!”
“That’s just not right.”
Before we left campus, the host of the conference walked by our group, thanked us for coming and invited anyone that was staying in town to come to his house for a “Curry and Lager” party. PhDboy and I were the only ones staying in the area and we collectively agreed. This agreement meant a night trip out into the rolling freeways – the 101N to I-10E to 202 to 101S – I was back on the other side of town, trying to find the house of a well-placed Arizona academic.
I walked into the immaculate two story house, recognized the conference host, and sadly noticed that I was probably the youngest person there by a good ten or twenty years. That is, except for PhDboy.
I grab some food and lean against the wall. It is awkward. PhDboy and I start gossiping. He starts gossiping about himself to pull gossip out of me. There is a slight lull between us when he mentions that we’ve only hit the beginning of the party and these academics will be up on the tables in about an hour and a half. We start making jokes about how this probably is an “academic” party that our teachers like to jokingly mention, when we hear from the circle of people formed around the coffee table, “The theory that Derrida would superimpose upon the paradigm is…”
PhDboy and I whip toward each other and murmur at the same, “There are parties…” and “Did you hear that?”
“How am I supposed to respond to that?”
PhDboy and I take up some bar stools by the Derrida group and for a few minutes to talk to a friendly wife of one of the presenting academics, who was not above telling us that she worked for Fortune 500 company. She politely goes to refills her drink, doesn’t come back, and PhD boy and I continue on with a sexual history conversation – more specifically, his sexual history.
I keep shaking my head but the journalist in me keeps asking questions. Then he tells me how he lost his virginity, which I won’t repeat here because I do have to keep that veil of being “the nice one”, but that line seemed to be a climax (pun slightly intended) of the conversation. I asked him how I was to respond to that and he seems to deflate, hunching over in the bar stool and giving me a weary glance. At that point, a man in his fifties and a woman in her sixties flank us on a recliner and bar stool respectively. PhDboy catches my eye, “Do you want to get out of here?” I nod.
“Jamba Juice it is.”
We drive down the street and find a Jamba Juice. We continue on talking about PhDboy’s past, present, and neuroses. We wind our way to talking about chemistry in dating. “When I find myself in a situation where I’m not enjoying myself, I’ll just make up excuses to leave,” he said offhandedly.
Oh. Okay. Noted. Anyone want a newspaper?
“I see,” I replied.
We returned to more carnal topics and in the midst of the strangely sexually laced conversation he stopped and said, “I read your blog.”
I thought, ‘Oh, I know. I can track some of my hits,’ but I said, “Oh really?”
He looked at me quizzically, “Am I the guy you were talking about in your aura reading?”
“What?” I blinked, “I…What? No. NO.” I then break up in laughter. “God, no. That’s HWSNBN.” Still laughing, “But I have mentioned you [here].”
We drive back. “I’m sorry for the vulgarity of the conversation,” he says. I think this is where I expressed my confusion at the entire conversation, which wasn’t really explained. He hesitated before getting out the car and then I drove back to Peoria.
I told this story The Rebuker who is a soon to be English literature grad student. Shaking my head I said, “You can’t make this up.”
“I know – writers would kill for this,” she said.
“That’s the thing though, this would never be believable. All of this – you’d be watching this movie saying, ‘Where is this story going? What is up this character?’”
“You’re right,” she paused, “He totally lacks a consistency as a believable character.”