June 15th, 2003


Two people you haven't met, for $200, Alex

At the end of a lazy day, at the end of a long weekend, I sat down to check my email, and I was saddened to learn that two of my friends have split up. You don't know them, so I guess it's OK to use their names. Paul and Stacy were each friends of mine from High School, and they've been together for at least as long as I've been back in this part of the world - so that's five years plus. They had bought a house together up in Everett (slightly less rural than my neighborhood - good whitebread cul-de-sac middle America basketball hoop in the driveway kind of place) maybe a year before I was ready to find a house of my own.

Several months ago, our circle of friends heard that they would be selling the house and moving into Seattle - which made sense, as each of them worked in the city. Then for several months, it was rare to see either one at any sort of social gathering. And never both in the same place. Now it seems that indeed they are moving to Seattle, but to separate apartments.

It's not surprising, I suppose - I was beginning to put the pieces together, and I define cluelessness.

In a very small way, it's the end of an era. Sigh.

SPF? How do you spell that?

When I was maybe 8 or 9 years old, I went to a summer camp and spent one very bright thursday afternoon at the waterfront. I'm sure I was swimming and splashing and having a grand time, but the next day I was bright red. Coincidentally, I had got a t-shirt that was roughly the color of cream of tomato soup, and it pretty well matched.

It's the curse of all that Northern European blood that I have stockpiled in my body, I suppose.

Many years later, before moving from Boston, I picked up a souvenir t-shirt in about the same color. And today, once again, I am the color (if not the consistency) of Mom's favorite comfort food that goes well with grilled cheese.

All of that is a roundabout way of saying that I had my annual birthday barbecue lawn party yesterday, and it was a fine time. Nobody was injured (we'll leave the sad case of the idiot who buys sunblock but doesn't wear it out of that count), and much food was grilled, many beverages were consumed, and I believe that I lost every game that I played outdoors. But really, as long as I get friends together in my backyard, it's a good day.

Today, I refused to get out of bed until I had finished the book I was reading (Vertical Burn, by Earl Emerson), so it was around 1:30 when I finally got outside, and the sun was bright to the point of hostility. So I took down the volleyball set (I spent maybe 6 hours of mowing and remowing and removing clippings and filling dangerous holes all for 20 minutes of casually tossing the ball over the net and running into the neighbor's yard to retrieve said ball) and retreated back indoors.

Yep, good times. Maybe I'll have to have another party this summer. Shame to let a perfectly good bocce set lay idle until my next birthday.