Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Archive for August, 2004

Island People

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

Many days have passed since I last wrote. And after this, more days will pass until I write again. One thing that has not been perfected blog-wise is how to do it without a computer. Maybe someday you will just scan things in your brain and it will automatically download to the other people’s brains. The other people could like, subscribe or something. Perhaps there will be a Google search engine, just for brains to transmit information. They could call it, Broogle.

Anyway, the reason I have not been writing is, I went to Maui, to attend my brother’s wedding and the reason I will not be writing is, I have to go to the Central Coast for work. You know, my life is pretty good sometimes. Maui was nice, but driving from winery to winery in the Santa Ynez Valley, and making money doing it, is better.

The wedding was beautiful. There were only ten of us there – the bride and groom, and eight family members. I was a bit worried that the other family would be, well, I can’t use the words weird or bizarre, because weird and bizarre are fine with me. I guess I was worried that they would be ultra suburban, uber-republican, or for the women, “frosty.” Frosty is a term I use for women that are frosted. Frosty lip-gloss, frosty toenails, everything is frosty. My other brother, Tom, sometimes consults me now on the frostiness of his prospective chicks. He understands that frostiness is good only if you plan on never speaking to the frosty one after the night in question.

Anyhow, back to the wedding. I loved Carrie’s family. Her father is a bit of a republican, but also drinks a lot of beer and is, in general, extremely mellow. Her brother is very good looking and has traveled all over the world in search of good surfing spots, and now lives in a kitchen-less ground-floor uber-space that may or may not have rats. Her mother was just incredibly nice, easy-going, and fun. Carrie’s three aunts were there as well, eccentric and talkative and entertaining. I mean that as the hugest compliment, in case they ever discover this thing. There was just the slightest tint of frost on one aunt and since we were in Maui, it was acceptable. In fact, I now realize that I, Shannon Essa, was awfully frosty there, as I took the opportunity of the island locale to apply some Lancome Juicy Tube Lip stuff in some majorly frosty color on my generally unfrosted lips.

There were seats set up in a quiet area on the grounds of the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, and a videographer, photographer, lady singer/guitar player, and the minister were all there to oversee everything. I have to say, that whole video thing sort of bugs. People need to have a few drinks in them before they are going to hula in front of a camera, dude. But whateves, it was part of the package. We sat and talked and my brother was very nervous. Finally Carrie walked up, the minister said stuff like “Huakee caakee maakee” for twenty minutes and then they were married and we could go on to the luau.

My two previous luau experiences consisted of one truly lame luau somewhere in Kauai a million years ago and the luau at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas, which was not really lame only because of the camp value of going to a Vegas luau and the Prince impersonator who “sang” there. Both had an hour of free watered-down mai tais and nasty, inedible food. So I was not expecting much of my brother’s reception dinner at “The Feast of Lele” in Lahaina. It turned out to be a perfect way to celebrate. At this luau, you have your own table; there are five courses (with several dishes in each course), all the drinks you want, and entertainment between every course. This was the first place I saw native islanders waiting tables, which immediately endeared it to me – I’d only seen white chick servers in West Maui up to that point. The servers wore orange and yellow thingies wrapped around themselves and feathers in their hair; several had tattoos, and all had beautiful skin. It was a feast-for-the-eyes, not just Lele.

The food was pretty good two. Each course hailed from a different region – Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti – we tried some new and different items like fern salad and sea beans, but also had some old standbys like pork-baked-in-a-pit and a sweet-sauced sliced steak. I asked our server, “Do they have cows in Samoa?” Our server, a neat little package of good humored wonder and fresh wine-getting efficiency, laughed, like he did pretty much every time you talked to him. “I think I asked the same thing myself,” he said. It didn’t really matter that beef may or may not be a staple of Samoa. Everyone was way too happy to fret about it. The sun went down, there was dancing and fire breathing, and spear throwing. I really, really loved the Feast of Lele.

The trip was short, but my brother and his new bride are still in Maui, alone, probably happy everyone has gone and they can be honeymooners. I am happy because his new family is one I can relate to, and will want to visit. I hope Carrie’s family feel the same way.

Nine months in the womb, two months on the planet

Monday, August 16th, 2004

I love my little ‘hood but if there is one thing it lacks, it is restaurants. There are lots of taco shops, several cheap breakfast places, a couple of Mexican sit-down restaurants, three fancy white table cloth places, a crappy “American Bistro” with bad neon but a killer view, a German restaurant that scares me, and Pepe’s, which is the only place I go to with any regularity. Pepe’s has good pizza and pasta e fagioli and they let me bring my own wine with only $5 for corkage. I guess that sounds like alot of choices and now that I have listed all of them I guess the ‘hood does not really lack restaurants. It just seems to me that it does because there is not much I want to go out for.

So I was really excited when nine months ago I noticed a big sign in the window next door to my bank on Newport Street. “Coming soon – Portugalia” the sign read. A Portugese restaurant! Something new, and even better, something different! As the months went by, though, the placed stayed dark. A little downstairs area that has a bar and a few tables, two refrigerators stocked with a bit of beer, wine and soft drinks is visible from the street. But mail just collected on the floor for months and months. One day I asked some guy entering the building what was going on, and he said the guy opening the place was having trouble with permits. I guess when you open something at the beach there are extra permits, and homie had not done his research.

Finally, after all this time, I get a letter. Actually, my boyfriend gets the letter, I guess he signed some petition the guy from Portugalia needed about how his restaurant would affect parking in the area. It was a two page letter all about how the owner had really struggled for nine months to bring us, his future customers, a little taste of Portugal. He had a long drawn-out tale of woe. The letter was full of spelling typos; also, there was no coupon. Why go through all the expense of mailing that thing without a coupon?

Anyhow, Portugalia opened just under two weeks ago, and last night we went to check it out. Portugalia is not going to make it. Unless a bolt of lightening hits, there is no way.

The little bar is just a teaser as the actual restaurant is upstairs. You would never know it was there if it weren’t for the little bar. The restaurant sign is painted on the wall, but I am not sure you would know what it was all about driving by. Last night the bar was empty and dark; on the street there was a sign that said “come on up!”

We started going up the stairs. Mark was hesitating. He kept saying “are you sure?” I wanted to see what was going on up there. We walked into a little bar where a bartender, a host-person, and a server were all hanging out. The bar is tiny, the dining floor is huge. The tables and chairs all look like 1980’s desk furniture. It looks like a giant conference room with glass tables and cloth chairs. It was very dark. There are some fake grapevines here and there and murals of Portuguese villages on the wall, to try to lighten things up. The host-person said we could sit where we wanted, and we chose one of the ginormous four-tops that could easily seat eight. There were four other tables occupied and it was six P.M. Not bad for a place that no one knows about.

We got menus and the wine list. The wine list had several pages but there was nothing on them. Some were blank and some had a couple of wines listed. Why? There were three red Portuguese wines available. I decided on the mid-range one for $26. Mark said “not a good sign” and pointed to the dead flowers on the table. The server was running around like a chicken with her head cut off, and she only had five tables. The hostess-person came over. “She’s a little busy,” she said. “Can I start you with an appetizer?”

Dude. Beverage first; that is in the Service Rulebook. That would be Rule #1, in fact. “No,” I say sweetly. “But I would like to order some wine.” I give her the order and she goes off to the tiny bar where I can see quite a few bottles of red wine lined up, non of which seem to be on the “list.” She comes back. “uh, we are out of that wine, would you like to try something else?” and hands me the list with the remaining two listed red wines on it. “uh,” I say, looking at it with a furrowed brow, “what DO you have?” She points at the house wine. “We have that one! It is SO good!” Not having a lot of choice, and not being offered one of the many selections behind the bar, we go with the house wine.

The server is still running around and the owner, dressed in a suit, is delivering food. He walks like he hasn’t had a bowel movement in a while, and he is young. The server finally comes over and apologizes over and over. Turns out she is not really a server; she is a family friend. Well, that is pretty obvious because she really has absolutely no idea what she is doing. And the host and the bartender are not doing anything at all to help her cope. “Not a good sign,” my boyfriend, who manages the faculty club/restaurant at San Diego State, keeps saying.

I ask her what appetizers are good. At this point, Mark and I are not sure we are in it for the long haul. We’ll try an appetizer and then decide what to do. The server says the linguica sausage with potatoes and fava beans is good. So we order that. She runs along. All the food for the other tables is coming out and she is trying to figure out where it all goes. Not two minutes after we order our appetizer she comes over to us with two dinners. “Did you order the blah blah blah?” She says. The owner comes out, leads her to the right table. The server is apologizing loudly to everyone.

The menu consists of a few appetizers, some sandwiches, a few “Euro-Pizzas,” and several entrees. There is one entree called “a taste of Portugal” where you can choose three of the entrees; only in Mark’s menu there is a sticker over that item. The server comes over, and I ask her if “a taste of Portugal” is available. “Nope.” She says bluntly. “The kitchen couldn’t handle it.” She runs off. “After 10 days?” I say. “Not a good sign,” Mark says. “We could try a Euro-Pizza,” I say.

Our appetizer arrives. It is a plate of French fries and a few pieces of linguica on toothpicks. It tastes good, and we are starving so we eat it. I can’t understand how sausage cooked with fava beans, onions, and potatoes turned into sausage and French fries. “Not a good sign, not a good sign…” Mark comes over to sit by me so we can check out the carnage together. “This place is never going to make it.” I say.

We still have a half bottle of wine. It doesn’t taste good unless you are eating something with it. I am thinking of the Euro-Pizza for $7.95 as I am not willing to take a chance on the skewer of beef thing for $17.95. Most of the tables leave and three guys come in. Then a party of ten come in. The server is totally incapable of dealing with it. She simply, can’t deal. The owner walks through from time to time; I wish he would come over to our table – I might feel sorry for him and want to help him. But he doesn’t. A little kid, part of the 10-top, points to the wall above us. “Jesus,” he says. His daddy says, “yes, that is Jesus.” I look up.

There is a mural above us of a little fishing village. Above the ocean, a giant Jesus spreads his arms. Jesus is, strangely, blue. He has a blue face. He is the blue Jesus. Where he spreads his arms the waves are huge, like he got pissed off at the town and is sending tidal waves to wreck the village and kill all the people. “Not a good sign, for that village.” I say.

The server is trying to take an order from the three guys. They have some strange requests, like wanting diet Coke. This nearly sends the server over the edge, though I have no idea why. “Sorry!” she tells the guys. “We are out of that!” They are also out of most everything on the menu at 6:45 on a Sunday night. “Sorry!” She tells them. “We just served our last pizza!”

Ok, that was it. Mark and I decide there is only one thing to do and that is to go to Pepe’s. I go to the bathroom first, and then I look into the giant kitchen where the owner, the bartender, and the host-person are all hanging out. The owner is making a salad or something and barking orders at the other two, who are totally ignoring him. The host-person sees me, so I ask her for the check. She tells me she’ll get my server. She then goes out on the floor where the server is STILL trying to take an order from the three guys, and WAITS there to tell her to bring us our check.

“Not a good sign.” Mark says.
“This place is never going to make it.” I say.

The server comes by, sort of in a shitty mood now, and says “I’ll get your check.” But first she has to tackle the beverage order for the table of ten. We wait, and wait. I tell Mark we should just leave $30 and split. That would cover the bill and even leave more of a tip than was deserved. He wants to wait though. The server runs to the bar, gets two drinks, brings them, then runs back for two more. Rule #7 – get all your drinks, then deliver them at the same time.

Finally we get up and go to the bar where we are going to hand her the money and leave. She looks at us like we are the most horrible assholes. “I am sorry,” she sniffs. “I am the only one here.”

“No you aren’t,” I say. “There are three other people on the floor besides you.”
“I’m the only server,” she argues.
“You have to make them help you,” I say.
“You’ll never make it here like this,” Mark says, being Mr. Restaurant Manager.
“Can you tell the owner that?” she says. “He needs to hear it.”

Mark and I look at each other. “Okay,” we say. She goes into the kitchen and screams, “JASON, A COUPLE AT THE BAR WANT TO SPEAK WITH YOU.”

But Jason is delivering skewers of beef to the party of ten. I, for one, am not going to wait until he is done doing this so that I can tell him he is going to fail.

“Let’s go to Pepe’s,” Mark says.
“They are never going to make it,” I say. “Nope, they aren’t.” Mark says. We walk down the stairs, away from the blue Jesus and into the sunlight.

Ocean People

Sunday, August 15th, 2004

I dreamed about my ex-boyfriend Chris this morning. It’s been a trillion years since we were together, and I don’t think of him too often any more. I’m not sure why I dreamed of him, but maybe it was because I am going to Hawaii soon and I spent alot of time in Hawaii, with Chris. A trillion years ago.

OK, so maybe Hawaii is not the reason. Whatever. Just the dreaming of him takes me back to the time I knew him, and how that time empowered, and at the same time, wrecked me. There is nothing so heady as being nineteen and tan and also, somewhat intelligent. My pink running shorts and blue Vuarnets and Chris’s faded blue jeans and weird East Coast sports jacket, Chardonnay and cocaine and Steely Dan and Prince and, well, puking up crab dinners. These are what the early eighties were made of.

Seriously though, I learned to cook because of Chris. He nurtured that part of me which had been totally neglected, mostly by me. I hated to cook before I met him. He loved to eat though, and I was a young girl in love. I cooked Dungeness crab in a sea of butter, whole cauliflowers drenched in olive oil, and within months, Thanksgiving for 35 people. We drank martinis by the bucket. I was 19 and in that space where a pound of chocolate had no affect on my body. Chris was eight years older than me and between the butter, the wine, and the cocaine, he got sort of fat and unhealthy. I got skinnier and sniffeled alot. It was the eighties, after all. Though I think maybe I got older, but the times stayed the same.

I started up with Chris just hours after I turned 18 and ended just after I turned 21. He made a huge impact on my life. He taught me about things I never would have even thought twice about at that point – jazz music, for instance, and it was he that brought me to San Francisco and made me fall in love with it and eventually, I would leave the man for the city. By way of a Chilean waiter named Luis. Who was very short-lived, I might add.

Between the meeting and the leaving, though, there were a couple of trips to Hawaii. Chris and I liked it there, the tropical hedonism of it all. Strange things happened there, like one day, we met Joe Zawinul at snack bar in Kauai. Chris was a musician, and knew alot of people, but snarfing fishburgers with one of the guys from Weather Report made a fairly big impression on him.

It’s strange to think that this all happened 20 years ago. While it doesn’t seem like yesterday, it also doesn’t seem like a trillion years, either. I am going back to that place on Wednesday. Probably I have changed, but the place has not. No, the place has changed, but I have not. Whatever. The importance of those Chris years will never change. Creativity, and destruction – I wish I could go back, but my body would never let me.

I must be getting old

Thursday, August 12th, 2004

Everything has caught up with me and this has affected the one part of my life I thought would never change. Live music – going to shows – used to be the most important thing. It still is, but life is getting in the way.

I had P.J. Harvey tickets for tomorrow night, at the Belly Up in Solana Beach, a tiny place for her to be playing. But, I am working all weekend and I just know how I am at shows so, I sold the tickets. I know I am going to regret this. At least I sold them to a really cool guy who met his girlfriend at a P.J. show three years ago and is surprising her with these tickets, which sold out in a flash.

Me: That place is so small you’ll be able to lick P.J.’s shoe!
Him: I am ready for some shoe licking!

He deserves the tickets.

I also have tickets for the Curiosa festival a week from Tuesday, but I get home from my brother’s shotgun wedding in Hawaii on the Monday morning before (after that gawdawful night flight, how I hate that flight) and have to leave for a work trip on the Central Coast the day after. How can I possibly go to a concert that starts at 5:00 P.M. forty-five minutes away from here? Not to mention, driving 300 miles the next day in who knows what condition.

A year ago, even six months ago, I would have figured out a way. I really want to see Mogwai and Interpol bad, and the Cure are so awesome live, and they are all playing at that festival. Plus my seats are fantastic. But I feel a scary edge coming on and that edge, to me, means nervous breakdown. As in, I cannot do it all anymore. I’ve got to sell these tickets. I’ve got a sinking feeling, just thinking about it.

Sailing fast, in a Rickety Boat

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

Once again, I find myself in the last half of a year and with insane amounts of stuff going on in the months leading up ’till the end. What is this all about, anyway? Why is time going so fast and why is there so much going on all the time? Even when I’m not doing anything, it still exhausts me. Like tonight I am not doing anything really, just throwing some stuff on ebay and looking at websites about Malta. Pretty mellow stuff. To make things easier I am going to eat a baked potato. The ultimate low-stress meal. I can’t figure it out, this being tired when nothing is going on/being tired when there is too much going on thing. Maybe it is all the dreaming I do at night. Maybe my dreams are a parallel universe so really, I’m not getting any sleep at all. Maybe, I am suffering from sleep deprivation because there isn’t really a thing like sleep anymore, because the mind reels with dreams because the days are so insane that the mind can’t cope.

I dream about merry-go-rounds and ferris wheels spinning manically. Colors fly off of them. I simply don’t get any rest, this way. But I love my dreams, even if they are sick and twisted and full of sex and violence. (Except for the ones where people are trying to kill me. I hate those.) Maybe I am Quentin Tarantino in a parallel universe? Or maybe Todd Solondz. No, that is too suburban weirdo. I was never living in the suburbs. Was I? Hmm… maybe I did, in a dream once. I suppose my nighttime visions are all mine. Daytime seems pretty boring, when you get right down to it. All that barreling down freeways one second from death, threats of terrorism and disaster everywhere you look, disease, mean people, etc etc. It’s all pretty boring these days, since we get so much of it. But dreams! They are different every night! (Well, for me, but I’m not one of those people who dreams the same dream. Though I think it would be really cool if the dreams were good.)

Sometimes when I go to sleep I try to ask for a certain kind of dream, but I never get it. I read that in a dream book, that you could ask for the answer to a problem, and the dream would tell you the solution. Sadly I have never been that “in-tune” that I could figure out the symbolism. Plus, the symbolism is different, depending on what book you read. And really when you get right down to it, if you are trying to read all this shit into it, that takes the fun out of it. Then dreams become as severe and boring as being awake! Now that is a frightening thought.

OK I’ll stop now. Sorry.

She’s Going the Distance

Sunday, August 8th, 2004

It’s 10:15 PM on a Sunday night, and my neighbor Neil, who may or may not be gay, is having a party. I’ve never seen him entertain, but tonight he’s got some dudes in the back and they are all drumming on stuff. Man, it’s all primal and shit. Like, I am so thinking I am ready to die. Go back to the earth, as it were. The drumming is making me crazy.

I’m probably ready to die, not only from the drumming, but from the excess. Yesterday I excessed to the point of frenzy. It was only slightly out of control, though. The day left me wondering, in this order: What? Why? How? When? But in the end, the highest power redeemed everything.

I’ll leave it to ya’all to figure out the one thing that slays me. If you can’t figure it out well, you don’t really know me at all, also you haven’t been paying attention.

There are some questions that have been haunting me for the last fifteen minutes.

1) Is it just me or are the a) the drug experiences and b) the sex scenes in Six Feet Under totally contrived? Were they written by people who only write dialogue and who have never really smoked crack or screwed guys that work at Paintball fields?

2) Is it really necessary to crowd-surf at every single show, even to the slow songs? Doesn’t anyone remember why crowd-surfing started? Do I?

3) When my liver fails, will there be new technology that will rebuild it?

4) Why does everyone love the pizza at Pizza Port in Solana Beach? That pizza is nasty. It’s like white bread with sugar and tomato sauce on top. That shit is rank. And I am an expert, I swear.

5) Why are there drumming circles?

Maybe the answers to all these questions will come to me someday. In the meantime, I will probably sleep a little and have bizarre dreams of ex-husbands and murder and stuff.

Thinking About Venice

Thursday, August 5th, 2004

If I were to think of my favorite Venice memory, I think it would be of a moment. One of many, of course, that I experienced in this most fantastic of places. I can think of several moments, but the one that most stands out, to me at this moment, is something that happened on October 3, 2000.

Now you might think that something crazy happened, like I fell off a motoscafo and was rescued by Val Kilmer who was there filming something or someother, or that perhaps there was a lightning storm and I ran out into Campo Santa Margherita from the bar Marguerite DuChamps and saved a small child from being hit from lightning. Or even, just sitting on the steps in front of Santa Lucia Train Station – this has slayed others, for sure. But my memory is a bit simpler, and comes back faster, because I am listening, right now, to the sounds that I listened to then.

I had come from Sicily. I’d spent ten days there and then flew to Venice for four, because I could not go to Italy and not go to Venice. My time in Sicily had been incredible, but when I boarded the plane for Venice it felt like I was going home. And really, I was going home.

The weather in those first days of October was warm and gray and humid, with some flooding. I stayed at the La Calcina on the Giudecca Canal in a tiny single room looking over a small canal that constantly overflowed onto the Calle. While I was there, Radiohead’s “Kid A” was released, and I bought it in the record store on Salizzada San Lio. I was with a friend, and went into the store inquiring, and when they had it I jumped up and down with joy. My friend said, “I wish I could still get excited about music like that.” Kid A went into my walkman, and I walked all over Venice listening to that record. I have a photo on my ‘fridge, of my walkman, the Kid A cover, a split of Prosecco, and my room key at the La Calcina, with the Giudecca canal in the background. I call it, “Still Life with Kid A and the Giudecca Canal.”

Anyway. Walking one afternoon, I was taking a shortcut to the Zattere that I know, a tiny, unnamed, unmapped, long and skinny calle that no one goes down because it looks too dark and poop-worthy. I love that calle because moss grows in it. I walked down it with the actual song Kid A, the title track, which no one knows what the hell means, blaring in my earphones. Out of nowhere, a little kid blasts past me on his bike. I could feel his spirit as he went by. I looked back, and his mom, a young, pretty Venetian, was walking behind me. She smiled, and I smiled. It was a beautiful moment, and a moment of truth. I decided right there I would make Venice my home, even if briefly.

And I did. Six months later I was living there. We all make things happen for ourselves, sometimes in odd and unproductive, even scary ways. It’s pretty insane what we are capable of when we really want something. But it is all part of being human, I guess.

Super Sexy Bocce Bowl

Monday, August 2nd, 2004

Yesterday I had to go top my boyfriend’s family picnic and Bocce ball tournament. He has a big family – there are so many of them that it is common to ask, at the reunion, “who is that” and be answered with “hell if I know.” I come from a small contingent of loners. These large family things frighten me. In the morning before we had to go, I fortified myself with a little fino sherry, just to cope.

Once we got there, it was OK. The family, being so huge and all, sets up in little clusters of family-who-know-each-other, in a park by Mission Bay. I almost ate a Krispy Kreme Donut off another cluster’s table. Mark quickly told me, “that is not our table.” (Meaning, those are not our donuts.) It was only two feet away, but whateves, at least I didn’t eat the donut, which is good because if I had eaten it I would have wanted more donuts. Almost every cluster table had a box of Krispy Kreme Donuts on it.

After a couple of hours, the Bocce tournament started. Names were drawn and teammates paired. I was ecstatic to be paired with Mark’s sister Chris, who is the same age as me, and plays well, and also, there would be no stress about meeting someone new, talking to someone new, or getting paired with some freak, like I did last year at the reunion.

Last year my teammate had never played Bocce, which is fine. The scary thing was, he was skittish and withdrawn, and after a couple of rounds he told me his “ol’ lady was pissed, that he was playing with another woman.” He would often leave and go console her, leaving me to throw his balls. It was annoying and also, bizarre.

Chris and I won our first game. That is when we stopped winning. On our second game, we had to play Pete and Rich. Word on the street (or in the park) was, they were unbeatable. Two guys who somehow got paired up at random that were both insanely good.

Well, after watching them all day yesterday, I can tell you that is complete bullshit. Rich was good. Pete was a load of crap riding on Good?s coattails.

At any rate, I immediately hated both of them, just because of the way they treated Chris and I. Sort of like looking us up and down and you could just tell, they were muttering under their breath, “no contest, here.” While we played, if they scored a point, they practically would butt chests and emit caveman sounds. It was pretty disgusting.

They won, but mostly because we wanted to get away from them so bad we lost on purpose.

They went on to beat Mark and his teammate, and Mark’s sister Lisa and her teammate. I wanted Pete and Rich to lose SO BAD. Everything about them totally bugged. I had told Mark if he beat them, I would buy him a pizza and also, perform a sexual act he is not use to anymore (one that sort of stops just shy of month eight.) Mark still lost, despite the promise of, well, pepperoni and pleasure.

No one reckoned on Mark’s little brother Paul though. Paul and his teammate, Denise, made it all the way to the uber finals. They had to play Pete and Rich and everyone thought Pete and Rich had it made. We all sat on the perimeter, drinking the dregs of the day and watching the last game. I have never wanted someone to win so bad as yesterday, when I was desperate for Paul and Denise to beat those guys ass and bring home the trophy.

It was close all the way, but the cool thing was, everyone was screaming for Paul and Denise. No one did anything when Pete or Rich scored. The crowd was clearly on the side of the underdog.

At the end, the teams were tied at 12, and Paul and Denise scored two points to win, with Paul winning the scoring point. Everyone got up and hugged and kissed him, everyone was totally freaking out. I’m not an into-sports kind of person, but that was pretty cool, let me tell you.

It’s another year until another one of these things, and who knows where I will be then. Maybe far away from the family, maybe not part of them any more. But for one day, I felt like I was part of this huge thing, even though I fought it. Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the disgust, maybe it was the pride I felt for my sort of brother-in-law. Maybe it was too much sun. Maybe I’ll beat Pete and Rich next year. Who knows?