partying „in the pacific northwest”

ianuarie 1, 2010

– once i said „on the west coast” in reference to something vancouver/portland, then i realized i was talking to matt who’s californian and i basically have no idea about california things, i.e. where it’s sunny all the time and people really.can. not. live. without.a.car. so i stand corrected.

– the first thing to keep in mind, my parties here have all been house parties. (intelligence from matt again: in NYC no one’s space is big enough for partying haha so they have to go to bars) and i’m not counting readings as parties, even if at points people were drinking hard – a reading is a cultural event, so there. of course they were drinking. that’s the way to imbibe culture. but seriously i don’t think i’ve been in a ‘club’ in vancouver. i’ve seen line-ups on weekend nights downtown though, and weren’t they a pretty sight. i’ve also seen young people stumbling and staggering and puking all over granville and the b-line. so it must be cool.

-but wait. a party is a cultural event too. more than anything else.

-i’m writing this because i’m getting a bit anxious for the NYE party (last one at sonja’s) and i basically have 6 hrs to kill and it’s raining like crazy and i don’t feel like plucking my eyebrows, which would be the alternative right now. also because i’ve been pounded stupid w the phrase „xxx of the decade” these days, and all my facebook feed by now is full of happy new year wishes and  it’s already 2010 in romania, which makes no sense, romania is one year ahead? haha old joke. but, you know. all this stuff.

– i never know what to take to parties, except for myself and my willingness to cry and argue. it could be argued (and cried) that this willingness has served me well  to some extent…and of course, on the other hand undermined my efforts at being taken seriously, except…what were those efforts? oh.  so  i think i usually take a bottle of wine. no one will open mine anyway . i mean any party is supposed to be BYOB (‘bring your own booze – i had to google it oct ’07) but it’s not strictly so…because…it’s a party, not a workshop for drunks. i always hope someone does open my bottle, my poor generic wine bottle, randomly chosen based on name, country of origin or amount of money i have to spare – in the end…i feel a bit bad for it (~her) to abandon her in a foreign fridge. a box in a box. as lonely and befuddled as me.

– then i mingle. well no i don’t, i go straight to the buffet and sample. i remember autumn ’07, trying not to wrinkle my nose at the spectacle of two dozen kinds of dips. ok, dips still don’t make much sense to me. so on the one hand i want to see the difference. on the other hand, i keep liking the familiar for a long long time. unless it’s cumbersome. or unless the familiar was the reason that pushed me to move. mingling is harder than it seems; it involves doing your own thing in a way that keeps stuff homogenous. (cue „dip in” and all sorts of corny follow ups.) mingle. ok.

– well instead of mingling what i normally do is talk to mostly one person the whole night. or at least focus on them. it’s easier. it helps that people are polite, and in ’07 it helped that i was a bit of a rare species(i still am to some extent bc i keep meeting new people, but already vancouver seems a bit small, i dunno:) ). and it’s not that i start off as very interested in that person, but it’s just comfortable to…be following someone, to gravitate around them. back in cluj i always ended up DJ-ing…but here i’ve accepted my inferiority in matters of musical taste so there – ground ceded, that’s that.

-i sort of have a record of losing earrings on couches, which is funny and of course not as dirty as i tried to make it sound.

– i don’t think i’ve ever had to dance. oh, i danced once at the oddball – not a house party but an eastside one so not your standard club fare. i never remember anything about dancing – my memories of parties are always of talking and drinking. yes i drink at parties. it’s fun. i mean even if it’s not fun it becomes fun after 2 glasses. which is the obvious point.

– things that can happen at parties: biographies in a nutshell/having your palm read/starting a crush and getting over it by the end of the night/watching fish and stealing toys (that was the most memorable party of ’07 – i’ll come back to it over and over again)/ overdose on cheese/ mixed tapes/ listening to people reminisce/discuss their childhoods or their common background vs. yours. anger. desire. breathe in, breathe out, go out on the porch, or in the street, or on the balcony where a circle has gathered to share a joint. join in for a puff, cop the feel that you ARE joining something, that you are present. rinse, repeat.

– extra things that can happen at writers’ parties: someone starts actually detailing the subject of a book. someone asks for feedback on a specific point, and an impromptu workshop flares up for 10 mins. the dialogue jumps around very quickly because there are always people wittier than average. or young and easily bored. or both. you learn so many names and titles in the easy flow of just words that you feel maybe you should take notes. you feel the need to sting, scandalize, pull them back with you. say something sudden. you usually shrug and wait to get drunker.

– extra things that can happen at east side parties: people talk about social work all night. people bring foods that they’ve cooked or baked from scratch, everything is organic and vegan. people talk about how organic and vegan things are a great deal. at one point you are convinced you are paranoid. and mean. and uninformed and parasitical. all your good impulses are choked and conflicted. you feel like wide is narrow and all-encompassing is shallow and that you’d rather smash a bottle against a pole.

– when i look around the room and start asking myself how much every one earns a year i know it’s time to switch to juice for the night.

– knowing when to leave is essential. leaving in groups is what vancouver does, because public transport is lousy and because taking joint rides is environmental, or something. people send a text to check when the last bus is. people hunt for cabs. then they get home and add you on facebook before they forget. then they forget.