today is my friend nathan’s birthday and he’s married to my 2nd oldest friend hane and hane is one of the smartest people i know and smart people are good to know and when me and hane met in college i was really into slovenly and then SHE got really into slovenly and once for the magazine i edited we went to their flat in san francisco to interview them and hane offered to drive both ways so i could get drunk. it ended up being a very good interview because i was pretty up to scratch on the band and knew what questions to ask and that’s the key to a good interview, knowing what to ask. slovenly ended up being on the cover of Osmotic Tongue Pressure #4 and hane had a big hand in making it happen.
when i say that hane is smart i mean it and the reason i would even remark on it is because apart from her intellectual capacities she is very much grounded in reality and knows what she wants and knows how to make it happen, and i don’t know a lot of people like that. i’m certainly not like that at all but hane is a tough cookie, she’s tenacious and patient in equal measure and that’s a deadly combo for anyone who might try to thwart her well-constructed plan for a successful strut through the maze that is life. nobody has to worry about hane and hane is nobody’s fool.
i was pretty honored when she asked me to be the speaker at her wedding in los angeles, it was held at union station downtown and there was a LOT of people there. i had flown down from portland to participate in the event and was staying at my brother’s and was on something of bender, a little loose and a little sloppy. my brother lent me a suit to wear and an SUV to drive(my bro lives in long beach) and when i arrived i found a liquor store and bought a half-pint of whiskey. i hadn’t prepared anything too awesome for the ceremony, i had found a rumi poem that seemed suited to the occasion even though i later found out that rumi was pretty standard marriage fare and a little on the sappy side to boot, i’m glad nobody told me at the time because it was all i had. right before the ceremony began i went into a stall in the bathroom and downed the half-pint in one gulp and before i knew it i was out in the courtyard at union station standing in front of a large gathering in my capacity as the wedding’s orator. i remember being less nervous than i should have been, i’ve always hated being in front of large groups and did not like being the center of attention but i think maybe the whiskey helped because i was able to say something appropriate and sincere before reading the rumi thing and then sat down on a bench next to the minister, a pretty asian woman who told me that i had done just fine, which was nice to hear.
what wasn’t so nice was that after the ceremony i found myself too drunk to make my way to the reception where i would no doubt drink much more and i knew if that happened there was no way i was getting back to my brother’s place. so instead i just sort of wandered off and got back in the SUV and started the 30 minute(or so) drive back to long beach, feeling pretty stupid about having to miss the reception. i ran into heavy traffic on what must have been the 10 or the 710 freeway and for the next 3 hours me and a gazillion other motorists CRAWLED our way in a southwesterly direction, i’ve been in plenty of LA traffic in my life and this was without a doubt the WORST. i might’ve even had a 6-pack in the car with me but either way i was drunk and tired and i remember at one point i rolled down the window and started talking to a dude in the car next to me and things were so stalled that i was able to have a decent-sized conversation with the fellow and things never sped up the whole way down. somehow i made it to my exit and after that ordeal i decided to stop and have a few at a bar near my brother’s and i remember that afterwards when i was pulling out of the parking space i was in i rammed into the car behind me but since i was drunk and it was a bumper-to-bumper type thing i drove off.
the next morning my brother took me out to the car and showed me a long scratch along the side of it and asked me what the hell. i told him about the ramming but said i didn’t sideswipe anything and didn’t mention the drinking although he’s no dummy and must have known anyhow. and for some reason the way i remember it is that he had lent me his OLD SUV even though(as i have finally come to accept) it was actually his NEW SUV that i had fucked up. so now i had screwed up twice, first by having to ditch hane and nathan on their wedding day and then by scratching up my brother’s new car and even though at the time i didn’t sweat it too much this was just one more instance in a long line of instances where drinking got in the way of something that was actually kind of IMPORTANT. which is what it tends to do. but to get back to my point…happy birthday nathan!
today is wookie’s “day off” which is actually packed with appointments and preparing things for the big slumber party tonight, leni’s having a couple of friends over to celebrate HER birthday. again. i wonder if i should’ve invited hane?