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Laney and Julie/eta - The Literary Exhibitionist
machupicchu
machupicchu
Laney and Julie/eta
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01272017-04


-- चार हजार और बीस-सात --


I guess you could all this Laney and Jessica Weekend. We did see a bit of Ivan, but not much; we ostensibly watched a movie together late Saturday night but he spent nearly the entire time on his phone. I saw no other friends besides Laney and Jessica, for several hours both Friday and Saturday evenings. I'm getting so used to having Jessica around, it's going to feel strange when she's back in Alaska working on boats for Uncruise Adventures when the season starts up again, whenever that will be.

Friday evening combined four different things in one, actually. Laney had suggested that for January and February, we combine our monthly Happy Hour with our monthly Boozy Art Night, make it Happy Hour Art Night, and take our art supplies to a place where we have drinks, instead of drinking while arting at her place as we have in the past. I think it had more to do with consolidating her own social calendar than anything else, but I was fine with it. It does therefore lower her Social Review standing potential but whatever; we all know Shobhit will be #1 for the Winter Review and she'll be #2, regardless.

Anyway! So that was two of the four things: Happy Hour and Boozy Art Night. The third was that we were intentionally using Dilettante Mocha Café as our location, due to their closing, and thus leaving Capitol Hill after a 41-year presence, on Sunday. They opened the year I was born, evidently. I haven't seen any specifics as to why they're leaving Capitol Hill, and this is one of the few "neighborhood institution" closures that genuinely has me saddened, because I actually was at least a semi-regular patron of their establishment. I've been there many times, and Broadway won't be the same without them. (I felt the same way about Broadway Grill when they closed in 2013, after 22 years.) It should be noted, however, that they are not going out of business: they still have several other locations, one of which is at 808 Stewart, which is only 1.1 miles from home -- all of 0.2 miles farther than the Broadway location was. The key difference is that this flagship location, I believe, was the only one that included a martini bar. The others, as I understand it, are strictly dessert places.

And the fourth thing? As seen in the homemade postcards I am holding up in the photo above: political activism! I combined my art with the first action of the Women's March's 10 Actions for the First 100 Days, which is, specifically, sending postcards to our Senators. I took them up one and added a postcard to my Representative as well, in spite of the Democrats being far more outnumbered in the House and also their far less direct influence on Presidential policy than the Senate. Pramila Jayapal is still my representative and I still want her to know what's important to me. I didn't write the text on the postcards until Sunday; on Friday evening, I drew the designs -- which were very much in my wheelhouse, given my long history of "Fruitcake Enterprises" envelope designs.

(It just occurred to me that I never thought to put my "Fruitcake Enterprises" logo on these cards. I will do that if I ever make postcards for my Congresswomen again. And speaking of Congresswomen, I love that all of mine are women -- given that Washington, along with California and New Hampshire, is one of only three states with two female senators, the number of districts in those states which also have a female representative being limited indeed. ...In fact, I spent an inordinate amount of time this morning figuring out that there's a total of 23 districts in those three states with female representatives -- out of a total 435 across the country, or 5% of them.)

-- चार हजार और बीस-सात --


Okay. So let's talk about Julie now. This is a woman I have not seen since she left the Seattle Gay Standard in 2001, and I didn't even know if she still lived in Seattle. Mike had hired her as the receptionist when we opened that paper in November 2000. I can't remember where he found her.

We clearly met well before the paper officially started, as that "Tacky Tourist" gay day-cruise I can barely remember going on with her happened in August 2000 -- the very month of Mike's and my attempted strike at the very end of our tenure at the Seattle Gay News. And actually, I just went through my letter archives -- which I just uploaded to Dropbox from a folder I've had them stored in at work for many years just so I can link to them now -- and it appears, actually, that Julie must have been a freelance writer for Mike while we were still working at the Gay News, because we clearly knew her even before we left there. Mike must have hired her from there when we moved on to the new paper. My memory is fuzzy because it was so long ago, and my written records of the time are spotty because I was so busy then that I had very little time for writing letters, and also I had a huge amount of email archives lost when a laptop was stolen from my very desk at the Seattle Gay News in 2000. I only started this LiveJournal in February 2002, so I have no journal entries from that time.

But I did, this morning, find this letter I wrote to my cousin, Jennifer, in September 2000. On the very first page of that letter, I shared with her a poem I wrote for Julie, which provides some slight insight into the falling out we had that year -- the same year we met. These lines are particularly pertinent:

Your presence in my life has been good for me
You have been an inspiration
It’s been fun where I drove you, where you drove me
I had a great time when we were driving
My presence in your life has been good for you
That has been my inclination
If we’re no longer of use to each other
I don’t want to make room for another

And the gears were oiled and ready for Julie
And the years we’ve toiled made integrity truly
Still the gears are oiled and ready for Julie
And the years we toil will keep turning duly


"It's been fun where I drove you, where you drove me" are words with specific double meaning -- both metaphorically, as fast friends with immediate impact on each other's lives; and as reference to the fact that I got my driver's license, at the age of 24, in 2000 -- with Julie's help. She volunteered to be my driving tutor, and even let me use her car to practice. She was going to let me use her car to take the test in Seattle, and at the last minute revoked that offer. Why? Because she felt I did not show her enough gratitude or say thank you enough. When she confronted me about that, it basically signaled the end of our friendship at the time. That's also directly referenced in the poem, in these lines:

You’ve met so many people
Who have their own ways of pulling rank
When they just want to hurt you
I’m not like other people
I have my own way of saying thanks
And patience is a virtue


I clearly saw Julie at least one more time, because I have a photo from her on New Year's Eve 2000, the day before ringing in 2001. I can't remember where that was, but I have a vague memory of her going away somewhere? I don't know. I probably have a more detailed description of that Tacky Tourist boat ride -- on which I still remember people on the boat more than once assumed she and I were a lesbian couple -- in a letter to Barbara, because she had not yet moved from Spokane to Seattle when that happened, and I was still writing super-long and detailed letters to her. But I lost the electronic archives of maybe the last year of my letters to Barbara and only have them in a file in hard copy printouts, and would thus need to look for the passage in my filing cabinet at home.

Anyway. Julie is one of a few friends from that time with whom I became too close too quickly and it resulted in a falling out. Even Shobhit is so aware of this history that any time I meet someone new and start spending a lot of time with them, he says, "Be careful." He once said that about my friendship with Ev, although I've known her enough years now to know there's nothing to worry about. The last falling out I had was with who had until then been considered "Good Andrea" -- because "Bad Andrea," whom I had met through SLGC, rejected our friendship in the wake of 2004's ridiculous "Boobgate," in which "Good Andrea" had been solidly on my side. But then a separate issue occurred between "Good Andrea" and me in . . . when was it? Ah: 2010: "The Siberian Incident." I suppose I'm skating on thin ice even referring to her by first name again now rather than as "The Siberian" as I started to at the end of all that shit six years ago, and that’s probably why she never really has attempted any reconciliation in the years since. (Curiously, I remain Facebook friends with both her husband and her sister, the latter of whom I believe I only ever met in person once. And last I heard, she does still check in with this journal every once in a while.) The Siberian was the last time anything of this sort has happened in my life, so at the very least I've had about six and a half years friendship-incident free. I should put up a sign somewhere like they do in dangerous workplaces: DAYS WITHOUT ACCIDENTS.

Now I'll actually get to the point of bringing up Julie to begin with! I saw her at Dilettante on Friday. And it wasn't even me she first started talking to at our table -- it was Laney and Jessica. She knew them from hanging out at Rooster's, the Mexican place that used to be Galeria's on Broadway, where Laney and I have now been many times, and she has been even more time with others. It's where we had all spent the evening of the election. And that's where they met each other. I think they said Julie hung out there to watch football games.

Julie was standing at the end of the table, on the other side of Shobhit from me, and she started chatting with Laney and Jessica. It took me a minute, first to recognize her, and then to believe it: Is that who I think it is?

I leaned forward, mouth agape, until she noticed me. And then we had a mutual Oh my god! moment. It was kind of surreal. She stood there chatting with us for several minutes, and we actually covered a lot of stuff in that time. We both clearly had some fuzzy memories of that time. At one point I did say, "You got really mad at me," and she started to talk about that, but it was clear she was thinking of something different that she remembered being upset with me about, rather than my specifically not showing enough gratitude for the use of her car. And certainly neither of us mentioned how she revoked the promised use of her car at the last minute to take my driver's test, a specific detail I actually did not remember clearly until this morning. It turned out for the best in the end: Dad and Sherri let me use their van and I took the test in Olympia instead, where they were so lax that I passed, when I have always been convinced that if I had made the same mistakes in Seattle I would have failed. (The guy conducting the test in Olympia had me pull over three times before I remembered to use my blinker, and did not dock me any points for the mistake.)

Some of the stuff Julie remembered astounded me, though. Within minutes of recognizing me, she said, "Matthew Michael!" Who remembers a person's middle name after not seeing them for a decade and a half? She even remembered the initial of my last name. She wrote down my full name when Jessica said, "Obviously you need to exchange phone numbers. Or Facebook!" She wrote down my name and promised to look me up and friend me the next day.

That hasn't happened. I can't find her on Facebook to friend her myself, so I have no idea now if it will. But whatever; if it happens it happens, if not then fine. I managed without her for sixteen years. It sure felt nice to see each other and be so friendly, though, after what went down way back when. After she left I filled everyone in with a lot more of our backstory, and I noted that, after all, I was 24 then and perhaps I was a bit of an ingrate. I would still say now that revoking the promised use of her car for the driver's test just before I was to take it was still a dick move, but as I noted on Friday night, even Julie was younger then. We all grow and change over sixteen years.

She has apparently been living on Capitol Hill for some time, so whether we connect online or not, I may very well run into her again. And I'm sure it'll be friendly hellos just as it was on Friday, and that's more than good enough for me. I did ask if I could get a photo with her, which Jessica took for me. It's strange to be old enough to see someone for the first time after a sixteen-year estrangement, but overall it was a very positive experience to see her again.

01272017-05


-- चार हजार और बीस-सात --


I had worried about Dilettante being a bit too crowded Friday evening due to its impending closure, but most of the time we were there it was fine. But after a couple of hours they had a long line of people waiting to be seated, and so we got up to leave. Laney and Jessica suggested going to a second location for another cocktail, and Shobhit and I agreed. He would have been happy to go home at that point and not spend any more money, but he also didn't put up much resistance with the idea.

We tried Corvus across the street, but there were no tables. So we wound up at Bait Shop, where Shobhit, who didn't want any more alcohol, ordered the nachos. The rest of us had a cocktail. Beyond that, nothing amazing happened there, except that I got buzzed enough that I can barely remember our time there. I did get a photo of the trinkets Jessica pulled out of her purse. She had a lot of them.

-- चार हजार और बीस-सात --


It was while we were still at Dilettante that Jessica had mentioned wanting to learn how to cook Indian food, and Shobhit wound up inviting the two of them over for dinner the next night, and Jessica could watch him add spices and prepare food. They offered to bring drinks, and that's what they did: Jessica made us all one of my favorite drinks, Black Opals. So they were pretty strong.

As always we invited Ivan to join us, but I'm beginning to suspect he's just not his best in group situations. He seemed to actively avoid the condo, at least for a while, in the afternoon and early evening. First he went to hang out in the U District for lunch, and later, I learned, he took himself to a movie. He wasn't cold or rude when he returned, like he kind of had been with Dad and Sherri on New Year's weekend, but neither was he especially engaging with us -- with the exception of when we were all playing the dice game Laney and Jessica brought over called Farkle and he said, "Who's winning?" while he ate his dinner at the table. And he did happily have some of Shobhit's food for dinner, but that was well after the rest of us were done with ours and had since left the dinner table for playing the game around the coffee table.

So, much as I would like to make that count as social activity with Ivan for the next Social Review, I really can't. Sad face. :(

It certainly counts for Shobhit, though, which will thrill him: a Social Review point for him for all three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I'll get to Sunday in a minute.

We had all of two people over for dinner on Saturday, and he made enough to feed three times that many, with four dishes: stuffed bell peppers; a dish made out of an unusual vegetable that I can never remember the name of and was not my favorite; a lentil soup-type dish that was excellent; and a paneer-based stir fry that was a new one for him and also out of this world. We'll be using the last of the leftovers tonight, and we had the last of the lentils last night with the last of his homemade puris. Dinner last night alone was so fantastic I had to say to him, "This is really good." I even said to Scott this morning when he asked how my weekend was and I mentioned that dinner, "I regularly want to murder him but at least he's an amazing cook!" (And consider this: his beyond-difficult mother is an even better cook.)

That Farkle game was fairly similar to Yahtzee so Shobhit predictably enjoyed it very much. But later we also played Yahtzee. We all had a really good time. Shobhit later asked if they had been angry with him about something when they went home, which mystified me. But this can happen with him: he goes overboard with his passionate political opinions -- as he did briefly at Dilettante on Friday, to the point that Laney had to say, "I don't want to argue with you" -- and then he gets self-conscious about it later. But we really had none of that on Saturday. They were just tired and ready to go home, that's all.

And since Ivan was home by then and they were gone by about 9 p.m., I asked Ivan if he wanted to watch that movie I had gotten from Netflix since he had said he was interested: Only Lovers Left Alive. He and I had gone to see Paterson two weeks prior, and I discovered and then noted to him that the director, Jim Jarmusch, had also directed this other movie about vampires starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston. I told him it was similarly slow, but those details all piqued his interest and so he suggested we watch it.

And watch it we did . . . sort of. Ivan lost interest no more than ten minutes in, I'd say, and spent the next two hours almost exclusively looking at his phone while lying on the love seat. I had already told Shobhit he'd be bored by it: "This is slow," he said at one point, then immediately afterward acknowledged, "but you said I would think it was slow." And even I never thought I'd go out of my way to see that movie again, for that very reason -- but I did because Ivan had expressed interest. I suppose I could have just turned it off once it became clear that none of us were into it, but I hung in there until the movie ended, in spite of getting very sleepy and nearly falling asleep a few times, right around midnight. By then, Ivan had even plugged ear buds into his phone and put them in his ears. Shobhit and I both went to bed almost immediately after the movie finally ended.

-- चार हजार और बीस-सात --


We saw a little bit of Ivan yesterday too, but never really did anything with him. It was really just Shobhit and me yesterday, although I did take myself to see Julieta in the mid-afternoon -- and even that, in spite of it being a Pedro Almodóvar film, was a little bit disappointing.

Before that, though, in the late morning, Shobhit and I took a brief walk to the Broadway Sunday Market. I had misunderstood him when he asked if I wanted to walk to "the market" and I thought we were going to The Market -- as in, Pike Place Market. That would have been about a mile and a half walk one-way. And even when we turned on Broadway to head into the Broadway Market, I thought it was just a brief detour. But then he suggested we go back home. What?

But I had to go get that photo of the garlic lollipops first.

Anyway, the Broadway Sunday Market is all of half a mile from home. It barely counts as a social activity. I always count when we just go on a walk, though, and round trip we walked a mile. I consider this one almost cheating to get a point on the next Social Review, but only almost. He managed it with this one.

I later took Light Rail to the U District and then the #44 bus from there to Wallingford to see the movie at the Guild 45. The guy at the register recognized me, though I didn't remember him: "It's been a while since I've seen you," he said. I noted that I don't work in the U District anymore so now most of the movies I see are downtown.

I stand by the solid B I gave that movie, but being under a B+ that means I was happy to have seen it but wouldn't particularly recommend it to anyone else.

I took the #44 back to the U District Light Rail station and took the train from there back to Capitol Hill, and walked the half mile home again from there. By the time I got back, it was about 4 p.m. I wrote my unusually short review (490 words) and soon enough it was 6:00 and we could watch the fifth episode of The Young Pope. That's literally how the show titles its episodes, by the way: The Fifth Episode. I'm really enjoying that show, although it's mostly because it has some of the best cinematography I've ever seen on a television show.

I had some photos on my phone that I needed to process. And then, while Shobhit was watching more of this murder mystery series from the nineties with a bajillion seasons (okay, nineteen), I watched the fourth episode of the Netflix series I am enjoying but he gave up on after the first epispde, The OA. So now I'm halfway through. I get the feeling I may have a similar reaction to that to what I did to Sense8 -- lots of intrigue building up to something disappointingly anticlimactic and/or clichéd. But we'll see.

-- चार हजार और बीस-सात --


01282017-03

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positive energy please