“so, you’re number two” –the prisoner

I wanted to be relatively quick with my follow-up to the first post, if for no other reason than to prove to myself that I could. I still haven’t told anyone outside of this house that I was setting out to keep a weblog, so there certainly aren’t any friends or readers out there bugging me for updates. That’s nice in a way, but it also leaves it completely up to me to keep this thing going. There’s no momentum, no external force being applied. There’s just me.

And that’s what concerns me.

I’ve set out to do other things in the past that I was very much excited to do, only to lose interest after a few days. My hope is that this is different because it encompasses everything, or at least it could. If worse comes to worse, I could just balance my checkbook here, or make grocery lists.

Loaf of bread
Gallon of milk
Stick of butter

In a way, it’s not so much the content, but the very fact that I’m doing something that’s important to me right now.

I know that as people start reading and commenting, I’ll grow more anxious about it, trying desperately to tell good stories so that people I don’t even know will like me, but for now it’s just the fact that I’m staying awake after midnight that’s exciting. (I usually try to get into bed well before the ungodly hour of 11:00 PM.)

I suppose that I should enjoy it while it lasts, this feeling of freedom without pressure.

…OK, I guess I do feel pressure. Right now I just started thinking, “I promised them a story about the baby shower. I guess I have to write it out.”

I take everything I just said back about there being no pressure. It’s already started.

Love American Style: The Baby Shower Orgy

Last weekend, Linette and I hosted a baby shower for our friends, Dawn and David. We’ve known them for a number of years and they’re expecting to have their first baby, a boy, in about five weeks. We love Dawn and David and we were happy to throw this party for them, in spite of what ended up happening. (I just wanted to get that out of the way right up front.)

As much as it was a huge fucking pain in the ass, we were happy that we could do it for them. Really.

My first mistake: I agreed to the idea of having this event in my house without ever having been to a baby shower.

My second mistake: I trusted, as I often do, in the infallibility of television.

I felt somewhat secure in the knowledge that a baby shower in my house would play out roughly the same as any baby shower I’d seen on TV had. I think I’d seen them before on the Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy, and other shows of that generation, when people first began to admit publicly that babies came out of women’s bellies, even if they still denied the fact that they were brought about through the evils of fornication.

Women at baby showers on those shows wore white gloves and they talked about baby names. They drank tea, ate cookies, circulated baby baskets and other presents, then patted the big, ripe belly, told the mother-to-be how “radiant” she looked, and left while it was still light outside. I didn’t think there was much room for deviation. Of course, I’ve long since given up on the idea that I’d ever see a woman in white gloves in my lifetime, and I knew that the women coming to my house would be telling graphic gynecological horror stories, but I thought that otherwise it would be pretty much unfold like I’d seen it happen so many times on TV.

Nothing, however, is like it seems on TV.

Case in point: When’s the last time you saw “Girls Gone Wild!” with your own eyes? As an entertainment industry insider, I can let you in on a little secret. They pay those girls to go wild. Girls don’t just go wild. Girls just don’t flash their thongs to camera crews like they were flashing their IDs at security checkpoints within the NSA… Not unless they’re getting paid.

Actually, that’s probably a bad example. During this evening in question, I saw just that. I saw girls gone wild. (More on that in a minute.) So, I’m not sure what my point is. I guess it’s that you can’t base real life decisions upon the experiences of fictional, televised characters. In real life, Barney Fife wouldn’t have had a chance with Thelma Lou, and, what’s more, he’d be dead one hundred times over.

So, I’d forgotten that lesson, and I thought I knew exactly what to expect. I though that certain things had to happen at a baby shower, just like certain things had to happen at a Catholic mass. I thought there were rules and regulations. At the center of it, I thought, everything revolved around a big, round, smiling woman and her comfort. TV had conditioned me to believe that this was her day.

Apparently, that thought was more old school than a Sugar Hill Gang eight-track.

These days, as I would soon find out, people raided liquor cabinets, threw drinks at one another and had sex with strangers at baby showers. Maybe if I’d spent more time watching Jenny Jones and less time with Lucy, I’d know that.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m not going to get into details here as to what my friends did or didn’t do at the party. That ties my hands to some extent and I apologize about that. What I can tell you about, however, are the uninvited guests, the folks who came in unannounced with our friends. Specilficly, I can tell you about two women. We’ll call them Summer and Cindy.

These young women were not nasty in a “trailer park singles night” kind of a way, at least not yet. They were, as I recall, actually quite attractive in a tragic, “I see your window of attractiveness closing with rapid speed” kind of way. To put it one way, I would not at all be surprised to see either of them missing teeth within two years, turning tricks in ten. But right now, they were pretty cute.

For those of you who desire such specifics, they were both thin, in their early twenties, and white. I’d later find out that both were social workers. They were among about a dozen people that I didn’t know, people who had come with other friends.

I can’t quite recall what happened first. I think it was the incident on the front porch.

Things were getting kind of out of hand by about 10:00 that evening and I started to get a sense that bad things might happen. By this point, there were essentially three parties going on. One was inside, spread from the kitchen to the living room. One was outside, on the side porch. And one was in the back yard, around a fire we had going in a metal pot. It seemed as though there were about 100 people, but it must have been fewer. I navigated between the two outside parties, keeping things in order, while Linette played hostess inside, where the mother-to-be was opening gifts.

At Linette’s request, I tried to herd people in to the house to be there for the gift opening, but most people didn’t want to go in. That was probably a bad sign.

When you’re at a baby shower and no one wants to see the mother-to-be open gifts, it means you’ve asked the wrong people to the shower. People who go to a baby shower should be people who care about the baby. At any rate, few people were interested in going in. They said it was too hot, or they just didn’t bother to speak to me when I mentioned that Dawn was going through her gifts. I got the sense that some people didn’t know who Dawn was, or what I was talking about.

People were drunk and I spent my time going around the lawn and picking up bottles and stomping out smoldering cigarette butts that threatened to ignite our brittle, brown blades of glass.

At some point, I decided to get the dog out of the house. I was walking up to our front gate to make sure that it was closed, so that I could let her out, when I cast a glance over to our front porch. There, under the streetlight, was Summer hunched over a young Russian exchange student who had come with another guest. He was probably about nineteen. He was sitting on the top step of our porch, facing her. She was standing in front of him, facing him, leaning over toward him. She was wearing a short denim skirt.

What I saw next froze me in my tracks and actually caused my jaw to drop as I don’t think it’s done since I saw live footage of the second plane hit the World Trade Center. Summer hiked up her skirt, showing off her white panties and leaned over and took the boy’s hands in hers. This is under the streetlight, just about three feet from the street mind you. She then placed them on the cheeks of her ass and leaned over and kissed him. That wasn’t the shocking part though. That came next, when she took his hands again and guided them to her panties, to the spot where her legs met.

I think at that point I must have channeled some great vaudevillian of years past. The sound I made, I do not believe has been heard live since the passing of Lou Costello. Do you know the scene in every Abbott and Costello movie where Lou notices that some kind of monster/killer/mobster is right behind Bud? Well that’s the sound I made. It was more than a gasp, but wasn’t quite yelling. It was a long utterance of confusion, fear and arousal. I don’t think I could articulate it again if I tried. The next thing I knew, they were looking at me through the tree limbs that separated us. I coughed, turned my head and walked briskly toward my house. “Holy Shit.”

What was I going to do? I live right across the street from other homes where small children live and it’s only ten o’clock at night. “What’s curfew for kids these days?” I wondered. “Is it possible they could have seen something? Am I going to get a visit from some pissed off father who just had to explain heavy petting to a nine year old?” And, Jesus, there’s a church right next door too. “Do they have choir practice on Friday evenings?” And this is taking place under a streetlight, which seems to me in my memory to have been more a spotlight at that moment.

If it had happened in someone else’s yard, it might have been pretty hot. In mine though, it was just plain filthy.

My thoughts quickly raced from my neighbors’ reactions to my own actions and my role in all of this. That was the closest I’d ever come to voyeurism and I felt dirty. I must have been standing there, staring through the branches of the tree for almost a minute. (I may have been hiding in a tree, but I wasn’t Skakeling?)

I went into the house and got Walter, an old friend to who’s wedding Linette and I will be going in a few short weeks, and asked him to go back out there with me. I didn’t tell him why. I just told him that I needed “backup.” I could tell that he was relieved to hear that it wasn’t a potential street fight, but a heavy-petting incident, I needed his help with. At any rate, when we got back to the front yard, the couple was sitting there, side by side on the top step. No more hands in panties in public. I pretended to be showing Walter how sturdy our gate was for a few minutes (I’m sure they didn’t see through that) and then we headed back into the house.

I felt like I was a chaperone at that point and I made it my job to be more aware. I sat down my drink, not to touch it again for the rest of the night. I had appointed myself party sex cop.

Back inside the house, I was in the kitchen when Cindy approached me as I was standing with a group of about four of five friends. “Are you married?” she asked bluntly. I told her that I was and asked her why she wanted to know. She said, “Because I want to make out with you.” She looked me in the eyes and smiled. At that point, I probably let out another insane series of unintelligible sounds. I looked around at the people I had been talking to in order to assure myself that I hadn’t imagined it. I hadn’t. One of the people standing there when we’d been interrupted had been Dawn, the very pregnant mother to be and former bride’s maid at my wedding.

I think that Linette was made aware of the woman’s intentions within a few seconds.

As I could have predicted, Linette didn’t care. There was no cat fight, no pulling of hair. There was only laughter at my expense because I had, I’ll admit, felt a little proud of myself for being hit on by the skanky party crasher.

Just minutes after that, I left the kitchen for the dining room where I saw Summer grab another uninvited party-goer and lead him by the hand into our bathroom. Again, I stood there dumbfounded. It never would have crossed my mind to come into the home of someone I’d never met and fuck in their bathroom, let alone the fact that half the room is filled with people surrounding a mother-to-be admiring the hat my wife knitted for her soon-to-be-born baby son. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend the depths to which I was realizing society had sunk.

Was this MTV’s fault? I know the Real World had something to do with it.

So, after waiting about two minutes, just standing there, staring at the door, I went up to it and pounded on it. I then ran back into the kitchen and hid. Heaven forbid they know that it was me, the owner of the house, who didn’t want them to ejaculate on my countertop. (I’m such a fucking chicken.) A few minutes later, they came out. After popping in for a quick semen inspection (I didn’t find any), I came back out into the living room. They were gone. I’d later find that they had left for another party up the street, but for the next half hour, I searched every bedroom, bathroom, closet and crawlspace from the basement to the attic.

Walking around quiet parts of my house, stamping my feet and making lots on noise in hopes of delaying the copulation of strangers while my guests continued to eat and drink was not my idea of fun, but, then again, I do love Dawn and David. Actually, that time alone, spent policing my property gave me time to reflect and consider how much of a curmudgeonly old man I had become in just 34 short years of life.

(If you liked that story, remind me some day to tell you the story of how I had to try to follow the plot to David Lynch’s film Mulholland Drive while trying to tune out the sounds of two sixteen-year-olds in baggy pants and kerchiefs receiving oral sex two rows behind me.)

If I had any balls at all, I’d find where those girls live and have sex in their bathrooms after doing a panty-touching show for the neighbors on their front porch.

I’d like to go on and sum this up somehow, but I don’t know if it’s possible. Let’s just say that I’m old and grumpy and perhaps, to some extent, jealous of the young and the stupid. I feel as though I grew up old. I certainly grew up overly responsible. If I was going to have sex in a bathroom, I would have at least asked.

My Damned Underwear, It Mocks Me

I’m 34 years old and, to my knowledge, I’ve never gone an entire day with my underwear on backward until today. It’s 7:57 PM right now, and I just figured it out two minutes ago. I can’t believe I didn’t realize it sooner. I’ve gone to the bathroom at least five times today and each time I reached in and looked around for the opening that’s supposed to be in the front. Each time I got frustrated and ended up going “over the top.” This last time though, I wasn’t so easily discouraged. I kept looking and, when I didn’t find the opening in front, I looked around back. Sure enough, there it was. It’s not so much the fact that I put them on backwards. I can live with that. It’s that on numerous occasions throughout the day I struggled to find that front opening and didn’t make the damned connection. It’s like forgetting to pull down your pants when you sit down to take a shit. Once should be enough.

The Pylon interview

I have to go now while I still have some strength. I want to get something done for the new issue of Crimewave before I drift off into restful slumber. I think I’ll start with the Pylon interview. I need to edit it and send it off to Vanessa (their former lead singer) for her comments. It would be nice to get it done tonight, but I know it won’t be… Maybe I should brew a pot of coffee.

About the Pylon interview, I did it a few weeks ago, when I was in Athens, Georgia recording the 8th Monkey Power Trio record. I thought that as long as I was going to be in Athens anyway, I should try to meet up with one of my all-time favorite bands. A few weeks before the trip, I started doing my research and going to Pylon fan sites and leaving messages for the band in care of the folks who kept the sites up. As luck would have it, Vanessa and Michael (the bass player) got my messages and we began exchanging notes. I sent back issues of Crimewave and they agreed to an interview.

I’d like to go into detail here, but I think I need to save it for the magazine. I’ll just say that Vanessa and Michael were great. We had a few beers, Vanessa gave me a wedding gift to bring home to Linette (she had just read the wedding issue of Crimewave), and we talked about the history of the band and the Athens, Georgia scene in the days of Pylon and the B52’s, before that second wave of bands, like REM, broke out.

Having been hugely influenced in 1987 by my repeated viewing of the documentary “Athens, Georgia: Inside/Out,” it felt like I had come full circle. It was Michael in that documentary who talked about making a band without first knowing how to play instruments. He talked about going out to a yard sale and buying a bass, just wanting to form a band for fun. It was liberating for me to hear that message at that time. Taking his advice, I went out and bought a guitar shortly thereafter. Sitting there, having beer with him in Athens while my band-mates waited in the bar downstairs truly defines the idea of “coming full circle” for me, as clich

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