Monday, February 25, 2008

Weekend Activities

Oscar party plug[1]

I knew it would be an odd weekend when I asked Shana what time we were supposed to be there on Sunday and she replied with,"What are you talking about?"

She asks that a lot, to be honest. More often it is because I've said something bizarre and out of place than it is that she happened to not be paying attention. I've come to view "What are you talking about?" as a sign of love -- Or at the very least non-aggressive pseudo-interest. And true geeks view love and non-aggressive pseudo-interest as virtually identical, anyway.

"The Academy Awards are Sunday night," I prompted as though that should explain everything.



"What are you talking about?" Ah, sweet music.

"There is bound to be a completely kick-ass Academy Awards party down the street. Are we not invited?" The feeling was like a cold fist around my heart.

"I haven't heard anything, but they have been busy lately," she was able to put the matter behind her. In fact, I think it stayed behind her the whole time, so there was less effort in that than may have been implied.

I, too, put it behind me. If "put it behind me" can be defined as "brooded about it as though the entire social order of the subdivision was crashing down around me".

What was going on?

Our neighbors are good neighbors, wonderful people, awesome parents.

They care for our cats when we leave town.

They alternate school bus duties with Shana.

Their lawn is amazing and they go to the trouble of putting up those huge inflatable yard decorations for even the most minor of holidays.

But if our gay neighbors weren't throwing a giant, costumed, movie trivia-infused Academy Awards party . . . What the hell was going on?

I began to imagine that they were having a party and that we weren't invited. Probably because of something I did.

I say "imagine" because the house looked pretty quiet when I walked down to the mailbox. On a Sunday. Several times.

And it looked like they weren't even watching the Academy Awards when I caught a glimpse of the TV screen. From the roof of their garage. Where I was probably trying to rescue a kitten or something.

It was like the whole natural order was somehow just off. The night birds sounded odd. Sometimes, as I crouched behind the shrubs trying simultaneously to peer inside and determine if the lemurs on the television were part of an Animal Planet program or just some car insurance commercial and not get mud or mulch on my pants, they sounded normal. Other times, they seemed to shriek like the souls of the damned.

My whole exercise, the multiple trips down the street, the obsessive counting of cars in driveways, the inadvertent kicking over of the potted plant, all of it, was my simple attempt to determine just how altered a state our suburban lives have entered.

My intentions were good, and I tried explaining that as best I could to the (I believe but it was dark) miniature roses as I kicked the debris behind a bush as quietly as possible.

And in the end, what did I learn from this experience? How did I grow as a person?

I learned that again the snooty "Academy" snubbed movies involving giant fighting robots for the Best Picture category.

And as for personal growth . . . I'm better at climbing drain pipes.

Like a ninja.

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