Friday, October 28, 2005

Buy one, Get 29 Free

If you’re going to go skydiving, 30 is a good age to do it. That’s what I told my friend Varsey, as her 30th birthday approached. I had it all planned out. Some friends and I were going to pay for her ticket, fly her up high somewhere, toss her out the plane, then have a special “screening” where we all watched the DVD, openly delighting in her fear. It was going to be great.

Going to be. She chickened out before plans were set in motion. Too much stress, she said. Having just gotten a new job at a private school, she insisted her life was stressful enough without dealing with the thought of plummeting hundreds of feet. I was all for doing it anyway -- dragging her bound and gagged into the plane and tossing her out like a sack of potatoes. Surely she would thank me for it later. But no one else thought that was a good idea.

Still, something had to be done. That something took place last Friday. Varsey thought she was going on a blind date, set up by myself and my friend, Shauna, who were to double with her.

We showed up at her house with her date, Dave, in tow. He presented her with a single rose. She grabbed her coat, and off we went. Varsey seemed pleased with Dave, who is the type of person who is always grinning. These kinds of people are either pleasant or really scary. He was the pleasant type. We approached my car and he the opened door for her to get in. When he shut the door, she found herself setting next to someone else, holding out another rose. She looked a little shocked. “Hello!” she said, scooting over. “I guess we’ll just have to make more room.” But Dave was gone, and I was already driving away.

“Where’s Dave?” she asked.
“That’s not my name,” said her new date.
“We’re just going to leave him behind?”
“Leave who behind?” I asked. “Are you feeling okay, Varsey?” Shauna, of course, couldn’t stop laughing.

I stopped for gas, and Varsey’s new date said he needed gum. By the time I was finished at the pump, a third guy was emerging from the store, with another rose.

“But he told me he was just getting gum.” Varsey said, with mock irritation.
“I did get gum,” said the third guy, holding it out for her. “Want a piece?”

By now she knew what was going on, of course. But Varsey’s good at playing along. I drove for a few more minutes, parked, and we all got out of the car.

“You’re turning 30,” I told Varsey. “I figured we’d all go some place nice.”
We walked into the mall food court, taking in the circle of cheap fast food joints packed with teenagers. “Take your pick,” I said.

By the time she got food and found a table, there was a fourth date waiting for her, with another rose. Date #3 feigned anger and stormed out.

“What was that all about?” the fourth guy said, glaring at Varsey. “I thought we didn’t keep secrets from each other.”

It continued like this. My cell phone would vibrate in my pocket. Shauna or I would kick the guy under the table, he would find an excuse to leave, and another guy would show up with another rose. Well, it didn’t always go that smoothly. Sometimes the guy didn’t take the hints, and sometimes the new guy didn’t show up when he was supposed to. Sometimes I even forgot I wasn’t supposed to answer my phone, to the annoyance of Jodi who I had to pretend was my mother.

“Stop calling me, mom,” I would say.
“Shut up, son,” said Jodi who was a few stores away with pools of men waiting to be sent out. “Another one is on the way.”

We had a couple surprises. At dessert, a guy I’d never seen before, sporting tattoos and bandana showed up. Apparently Jodi scooped him up randomly, to replace a no-show. He was “interesting”, to say the least, insisting on giving Varsey a kiss before leaving. Jodi sent out other passer-bys, which made things all the more entertaining. It didn’t take long before we had an audience, half the food court nosily trying to figure out what was going on. Varsey played along nonchalantly, taking it all in stride.

The pile of roses on the table grew until it reached 29. “One more date to go,” Varsey said.
“Excuse me?” said date 29. “All of a sudden I’m not good enough?”

Finally, Dave, her original date, showed up with the 30th rose. It was over. I can't say I was disapointed. You can only stand so much time in a food court. We finished off the night at a campfire, in the woods below a friend’s house. Smores are a good way to end anything, I figure.

By now, it may be that you are gagging on the cuteness of it all, your wind pipe stuffed up with thick chunks of cute. I don’t know what to tell you. This kind of thing is commonplace in Mormondom. Just this week, we had a follow up surprise party for Varsey. Everyone came bearing gifts: 30 of something -- 30 pencils, 30 eggs, 30 band-aids, 30 toilet paper rolls. The main entertainment was a video of the date, which had been taped more or less discreetly. Overly cute? Yes. A good time? Yes.

Still, when I turn 30, I’m going a different route. No need for something complicated and elaborate. No food courts, no campfires, no cute gift ideas. None of that for me. My first idea was the better one, after all. I just want a plane, some anti-anxiety pills, and a long, spiraling plummet. And smores. Don’t forget the smores.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Fall Colors

Photos taken in the Bountiful hills. Cameras don't do it justice. Best seen live.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Here are some things that have happened:

On my daily walk, I start kicking over toadstools that grow all over this pasture near my work. My coworker turns to me and says, “You’re like that one guy, Gargomel, on the Smurfs.” Then I think to myself: Isn’t that the worst insult ever? To be compared to a hideous old man who lives alone with his cat. Fact is, I do live alone. But I don’t have a cat. Also, I’m totally not an old man. Hideous? Eh, I get her point.

While climbing on the roof to drain my evaporate cooler, I slipped on a tile. I slid a good 10 feet on the wet roof but managed to grab on the storm drain before going over the edge. As I was dangling there, my phone started to ring. Part of me REALLY wanted to answer it, just so when they asked, “What are you doing?”, I could say, “falling to my death.”

Death Cab for Cutie sound fantastic live. This was a pleasant surprise. Not so pleasant was the drunk guy dancing next to me. Even though there was a metal gate between us (segregating the intoxicated) his proximity began to get on my nerves. At one point he would dance like a marionette puppet, “feeling” the music like no one I’ve ever seen. The next minute he would yell out, “Fuck you, Ben Gibbard!” Huh? Which is it, drunk guy? Do you like him or hate him? You can’t have it both ways.

Canadians have their own Thanksgiving? That’s adorable. At the dinner celebration I went to, it was all turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberries -- staple foods of the American version. So here’s my question: Do Canadians eat the same food for their day of harvest as Americans? I tried to ask, but no one at the dinner was Canadian. It was at that moment I began to wonder what the hell we were doing.

In the hills above Bountiful, Utah, God reached down his gigantic hand and turned up the planet’s saturation knob. Just a little at first; streaks of oranges and reds and yellows mixed with green. The higher we hiked, the higher he twisted. A mile up and the world was vibrant, overwhelming wonderland of color. Since when did trees come in that many varieties? What’s up with that, God?

Nothing else has happened. Nothing. Oh, and one of those five things is a total lie. Just thought you should know.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I'm not working, I'm not blogging

I have Columbus Day off! I would like to take this opportunity to thank Columbus for whatever it is that he did, which I think had something to do with inventing gravity.

What a handsome devil, that Columbus.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Best Cellphone Accessory Ever

I so want this "Retro Handset" for my cellphone. There's something magical about using 30-year-old technology for no good reason. Of course, after a few walks down the street with this thing, chatting away, looking like a crazy person, the novelty would start to wear off. Too bad. I'll never be as cool as this guy.