Wednesday, December 26 2007
For the first time ever Gretchen and I ended a fight by agreeing to disagree. Though she thinks I am injuring myself with caffeine (yeah I know, this seems a little extreme), she has agreed not to chastise me for my coffee habits even if it causes me the occasional heart palpitation (which is not something she would have known about had I not told her). For the record, I've had heart palpitations since 1994, coinciding with the arrival of the the specialty coffee revolution wave in the East, a wave that started in Seattle in the late 1980s. (This wave, started in various European epicenters, has already swept Europe and the Mideast but has yet to reach such places as South Africa and Guatemala, places where instant Nescafé persists like the egg-laying mammals of Australia.)
This evening our friends at the top of Eagle's Nest Road were hosting their annual Boxing Day party and we'd been invited. But Gretchen was not in the proper spirits to be attending, so I went by myself. Aside from the hosts, it was a completely different crowd than usual. None of the Eagle's Nest locals were there and neither were any of the Woodstock regulars at these parties. I placed myself in a chair along a wall and disappeared into the background with my plastic glass of wine. I talked to a few people briefly, but it felt awkward. I wondered if perhaps my intense involvement in developing the database mapping tool over the past week had temporarily disabled the part of my brain capable of interacting with other human beings. Ironically, of course, the main focus of that tool had been the mapping of relationships, but I couldn't seem to maintain one with another human of even the briefest sort, the minimal kind necessary for a light conversation over wine and finger food. When I overheard other people talking it sounded completely banal and uninteresting and I felt no need to contribute. Hadn't this already been discussed a million times already? Why again? Is this what happens as one grows older? Does one's threshold for interest rise so high that one eventually becomes entombed in late-onset autism?
At some point several people gave narrated slide shows of their photo collections, culminating with the host and hostess' show of their pictures from Antarctica. During this time I felt better integrated into the party, since all that was being asked of me was that I sit still to watch and listen, which is what I had been doing anyway.
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