Sunday, August 03, 2003

I am Man: Hear Me Roar

**new edition posted noonish Tuesday, August 5. To all my friends, 99% of whom had no idea who these people were in the first place: names and details have been changed [see asterisks **] to assure anonymity to those who fear of being hunted down by a pack of stark raving mad gay male stalkers with a fetish for black lace thongs**

Well, how appropriate... I saved that last post to talk about the male ego.

And on Friday night I sparred with four of them: a Norwegian, an Aussie, a Newfie, and an Edmontonian! (That sounds like the beginning of a bad joke!) When I arrived home at 4:30am from two back-to-back parties, still alive after a week of sleep deprivation, I contemplated the absurdity of the past five hours or so. Friday itself was a very full day, to say the least. I did more in this one day than I could possibly recall, so I spent almost two hours reviewing it by downloading the photos and video off the camera.

I'm sitting in Kevin's office in Sechelt. Yes, Sechelt. I can't believe I'm here on a holiday long weekend when I could be at home, continuing my social streak. But alas, I must try to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the academic hat and write a paper in American History that's worthy of 30% of my final mark.

By far the most amusing part of Friday, aside from maybe a few choice moments during the Kiddie Roadshow (PhotoJam available as of an hour or so ago), was the little gathering **somewhere beyond the rainbow**. After the Swiss Day BBQ at Bernie and Martine's in New Westminster, Kristin and I drove back downtown. When I dropped her off, she invited me to have a look upstairs at **Cookie Monster's** new place. She told me before that the view was amazing, and it really was... it's **just like the palace of the Wizard of Oz**, and it's about twice the size of my apartment. Kristin and **Cookie Monster** were supposed to go to a going-away party at **Never Never Land**, but there was a slight misunderstanding and neither of them were fit to drive there. I offered to drive them, but they didn't look so enthusiastic about going, so we just ended up hanging out with the others -- namely, **Elmo**, the official homeowner, and **Elmo's** friends **Big Bird** and **Snuffleupagus**. I was mystified with **Big Bird's** accent, and I spent some time just listening to it and trying to figure it out. It's a good thing I kept my guesses to myself, because none of them were anywhere remotely near Newfoundland. I should've known, though -- what a talker **Big Bird**was! There was no mistaking the Irish ancestry! In fact, he broke out into full song, which was really impressive, considering how drunk he was. I was MOST AMAZED by his full rendition of "Waltzing Mathilda" -- we sat silently while he sang all the verses, barely able to see straight but not hesitating over a single word. WOW. Did I mention I was impressed?! I only knew the chorus, and had no idea there were so many verses -- **Big Bird** must've been singing for 10 full minutes! **Snuffleupagus**, the Aussie, was just as impressed!

In keeping with my abundant usage of the word "impressed," I should also mention that I was impressed with **Big Bird's** apparent verbal versatility, that is, he's learning Portuguese, too! He and his Brazilian girlfriend set aside Thursday as the day they speak only Portuguese. Sheesh. It's a good thing I didn't mention I'm majoring in Linguistics. I feel so inadequate.

Speaking of impressed, I think I impressed **Elmo** the Norwegian with my non-linear style of conversational acrobatics. I jumped from talking about the arbitrariness of pedagogy in history to a little country in the former USSR called Tuva to a joke about how only men who are gay can talk authoritatively about the colours on paint cans (as opposed to straight men). What a character **Elmo** is. I couldn't really tell if he was drunk or not, since he wasn't slurring his words and he followed my erratic trains of thought very carefully -- probably more carefully than I did.

Meanwhile, **Cookie Monster** kept making more drinks, there were countless more trips to the bathroom (was the black lace thong on the hand towel some kind of joke??), I kept taking more photos and video, the bantering got louder, the music got louder, **Big Bird** tried to win arguments by simply drowning out anyone who disagreed with him, and during this chaotic display of male ego I completely lost all track of time.

Next thing I know, **Cookie Monster** announces that it's dinnertime. I didn't object, since they were only one step away from alcohol poisoning. We all paraded out of the apartment to **Sesame Street**, my digicam recording all the antics... including a mock scuffle in the elevator between **Elmo** and **Big Bird**, who fell into the elevator wall and broke the glass! Obviously, they never expected the glass to crack like that, and the look of horror on their faces -- captured on video -- was like a couple of Catholic school boys caught red-handed with a porn mag. About as remoseful, too.

Luckily Denny's was **literally down the yellow brick road**, that's how wobbly these lads were, particularly **Big Bird**. After walking out of **somewhere beyond the rainbow**, **Cookie Monster** pointed out the relatively worse condition of a guy who was slumped over the steering wheel of his Jeep. The others continued down the street, and I walked over to see if I could prevent the guy from starting his vehicle and killing himself. He was so pissed, he didn't even notice me poking and prodding him and trying to wake him up. So I reached over through his open window and fumbled around the ignition area for keys. I figured, if the keys were not in the ignition, he was probably too uncoordinated to find them, start the engine or take it out of gear and roll down **Sesame Street**. At least before waking up. I couldn't find the keys, so I thought it was OK to leave him.

Weaving down **Sesame Street**, **Cookie Monster** picked out a flower from a planter and put it behind his ear, while **Big Bird** unceremoniously whipped himself out to take a leak. Yeah, it was that kind of evening. I couldn't even tell if he was consciously standing north to face away from me, or if that was just my luck. After all, I'll happily sit in the second row to watch willies flop about in a choreographed musical, but I am not keen to watch streams of thinly-filtered beer flow forth from one.

Denny's was abuzz with other inebriated folk in a decibel competition. I noticed people staring at my bright blue "Superland" Swiss t-shirt as I grabbed a chair so I would not be held captive in the booth occupied by the others. There was a very real potential for vomiting that I was happy to avoid. A quick trip to the ladies' was met with more breaking of glass as a woman in the first stall dropped a pint glass on the floor. I told the Denny's people tout suite, since I was feeling especially shard-conscious after cutting myself slightly earlier in the day, trying to clean up a glass that Maddy broke at Tinseltown.

I kept filming the absurd conversations that we were having at Denny's, and noticed mid-recording that **Big Bird** had been gone for what suddenly seemed like an awfully long time. **Cookie Monster** went after him, and I was in a time warp, so I really had no idea how long either of them were gone for. After **Cookie Monster** returned, sans **Big Bird**, he reported that he couldn't make **Big Bird** budge, and was rewarded for his efforts by shoe-covering vomit. Lovely. Not to be outdone in volume or inflammatory remarks, **Cookie Monster** declared loudly that at least Canadians took care of each other, unlike the shithead Norwegians and Aussies... which was followed, of course, by the obligatory counter-attack. At some point the heated debate over the stupidity of taking care of drunk people was interrupted by the arrival of the bill, and **Cookie Monster** borrowed **Elmo's** keys to go find **Big Bird**. He even argued with me -- the only sober one in the bunch -- that **only Count Dracula knew his buzzer code**! I was not about to waste my time arguing with a guy who would not remember this conversation in an hour.

**Snuffleupagus** took off north towards home, and **Elmo** and I headed south up **Sesame Street**. I only found out a number of hours later that **Big Bird** was huddled in front of the **Hotel California** across the street, and with help from **Cookie Monster** ended up back **at somewhere beyond the rainbow** as he could not remember where he lived. Well, **Cookie Monster** says **Big Bird** may have remembered his address, but he couldn't communicate it.

Yeah, it was that kind of evening.

Either **Elmo** holds his alcohol very well, or he was just too busy verbally jousting with me to drink at the same pace as the others. Because in an indirect yet articulate way, he apologized for the uncouthness of the evening and hoped that I would not view them as just a drunken bunch of louts. In a show of cheekiness keeping in the spirit of things, I told him not to worry, the evening had not changed my view of men...

(It hadn't. If anything, it reinforced it -- men are competitive in ways that women are not. I'm glad that we don't try to compete with them in these ways, either -- that would be about as attractive as a woman with a willy.... **No, make that Oscar the Grouch with a willy!**)