Thursday, December 30, 2010

Festivus Fever Dreams

Here's the thing: I have just turned 29. This means I am now in my 30th year of life. Jesus H. Christ. I wasn't prepared to see it in print. I guess it's real now, the truth, no denying it. What am I supposed to do with that truth? Hell if I know. I don't know that there is anything to do. It's just a number and as a rule I don't subscribe to timelines and deadlines on life events or goals. At least, that's what I tell myself and that's what I'd like you to believe about me. But I am nothing if not an unreliable narrator of my own life. 

The sun rises over ATL
With 1/3rd-life crisis (is that a thing?) thoughts like these swirling in my head, I set off once again for a pre-birthday trip to Vegas for Kash and Dan's 3rd annual, and first to be graced with my presence, Festivus party. More on the Festivus merriment in a moment, but first the retelling of a dream. 

On the eve of my departure I had a vision in my sleep that gnawed at my unconscious until it broke through while I was sitting in the plane, high above Florida, somewhere between Del Boca Vista and Atlanta. I had not remembered the dream until then but had felt a nagging neurotic sensation radiating from the back of my brain all morning. When the sensation manifested in conscious thought I recognized immediately where it came from and I didn't want to forget it... I needed a pen and paper, stat! No such luck. I needed to use my phone to take notes! Phones had been strictly forboden by the flight attendants. Out of options and my feeble mind losing grip on the memory of the dream by the second, I had to do it: I reached for my phone, studied it for a second not wanting to break the rules and somehow doom us to a fiery death in a crash caused improbably by Blackberry interference, put my finger on the power button, and finally said my prayers (to what god, I do not know) and hit the button. I had to write down what was going through my head. This is what I wrote:

Last night I awoke in a sweat with my heart pounding and a deep, lingering sense of an insane longing gone unfulfilled, just beyond my grasp. I realize now what I wanted so desperately in my dream. Studying child psychology and seeing kids first hand as a substitute has stirred up a powerful, morbidly curious, narcissistic impulse/need/craving in me to go back in time and view myself as a kid in school. I don't want to just see pictures, I want to literally travel back in time and BE there. I want to see first hand, with my own adult eyes what kind of kid I was. 

I think the fact that I can shut my eyes and remember my kindergarten classroom - where the letter people hung on the wall over the windows, where the gold stars for being good were taped to the cabinet, where I daily rolled out my nap mat and mostly refused to nap - the fact that I can remember these things indicates the near grotesque importance of these years in my life. I mean, that was practically 25 years ago for fuck's sake! Sometimes I think I can't remember much, but it's actually kind of insane that we can remember these times at all, when you think about it.  

And it's not like I was traumatized, it's just I'm so sure that my personality today can be traced back in so many ways to that kid in grade school who now seems like a stranger, or at least an alternate self. So alike and so different from that kid have I become in adulthood... Would I rather be more alike or more different today? I don't know. That's why I want to go back and see scenes from my life, A Christmas Carol style. A Festivus fever dream style.

After I got it out I turned off my phone as quickly as possible (we had not crashed... whew) and quietly slipped into a peaceful ipod induced stupor, disturbed only by the offering and accepting of coffee (blech) and cookies (surprisingly, the best part of flying Delta). Later, I thought more about this craving to see myself as a kid in grade school: was I really formed by my experiences there? Is that when I developed my shy/asshole tendencies? Is it too late to overcome the personality defects imprinted in me at that age? Is trying to come up with material for this blog causing me to think entirely too much about myself? Questions, lots of questions.

One question I have thought about before. Shy/asshole confusion is a big motif in my life, I think. Let's just get this out of the way now: If I don't call or don't talk to you it's either because I couldn't care less about you and I am enough of an asshole to not pretend to care, or I care very deeply about you, but I am too shy to call for fear that I do not mean as much to you as you mean to me. See, I'm either shy or I'm an asshole... you decide. Hint: if you are reading this you can be sure that I care about you... I'll overcome my embarrassment and call you one of these days, I promise. You're all waiting with baited breath, I'm sure.

Festivus Now!
Anyway, enough! Festivus was rad! Kash and Dan throw a helluva party... There we all are in our ugly sweaters (a Festivus tradition). While it may look in the photo that the party had all the trappings of a traditional Christmas event, in reality it was ever so much more. Not too long after this photo we were airing grievances, displaying feats of strength, and winning raffle prizes. I won a very nice tub of popcorn! Three flavors! Also, I believe I was nominated in both the "disgruntled elf" and "Festivus cheerleader" categories. I did not win either of those competitions, but I consider my paradoxical nominations in both categories to be a moral (amoral?) victory. The party unfolded in two parts, the first at a Gordon Biersch restaurant, the second at a suite at the Golden Nugget... the "Vegas Baby Suite"! We were partying in high style, a jug of Costco rum in one hand, a tall cup of "purple drink" in the other. Both halves of the party were a lot of fun and it was great to be back running with the Vegas crew. See you next Festivus!

Bingo! I've got Bingo here!
And Donuts!
While in Vegas I also partook in some poker playing (lost); early morning bingo playing with Dan (lost, but with free donuts to ease the pain); blackjack, because Dan is addicted and attracted me to the game with the force of his addiction (lost... fuck blackjack); pai gow poker (won 6 bucks!); and roulette (won 36 greasy downtown Vegas dollars!). I had been hoping to parlay my rather small gambling budget into a rather small but perfectly adequate fortune, which I would have then shared with all of you. Oh well... maybe sometime in my 31st year of life.

Besides not making a fortune, the only thing wrong with my trip to Vegas was that it rained for one whole week straight, only stopping on one occasion I can remember. The sun came out for about two hours one afternoon when Dan and I were at the Neon Boneyard, which is pretty much what it sounds like, an old-neon-sign junkyard. Turns out they don't let you dance on the signs like they do in Vegas Vacation, but it was pretty cool to see all the old-Vegas signs up close. Look, there's a demented neon duck! Don't see that everyday.

When all was said and done in Vegas I got back on a plane and reconsidered my crazy making desire to be a witness to my own formation. I hope I don't get that particular craving again. Why do that to myself? It's all in the past. I am that I am.
Always double down on 11! or
We're so money!
Seeing my past will not really make a difference to my future. I can be who I am or who I want to be starting now, no looking back. The moral of the movie Greenberg, which no one saw, but which I loved, was: Embrace the life you never planned on. There's a truth I know what to do with.


  1. Liked the blog, especially the parts describing my awesomeness. A few things. You don't call me, and I don't call you, but I know you care. You can count on that I care. Festivus needed to be described more in this story, yet I understand since we forgot most of the night when the morning came around. Finally I saw Greenberg too. I liked it. Thought the trailer made it out to be something it was not. What is with that?!

  2. BINGO BINGO BINGO! It's a sham that we didn't win. No one was younger than 89 in that place! They don't need the money!