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2005-05-01 - 2:36 p.m.

My head's still foggy but I've got some coffee. I haven't been hungover in a while. And while this is not exactly true, it is true that when I was dating Suzy I woke up hungover often. It's familiar, for sure, this general overall sleepy slow-motion feeling. For instance, as I was walking out of the coffee shop, dog-walking and sunglasses on all sidewalks, I went right by my car and I'd parked my car only about twenty feet from the door. Being hungover is very close to an excuse for acting kind of stupid. And who can't get into that now and then?

The party was fun and I drank everyone else's beer. Five or six coolers on the back deck, jammed with ice and a rainbow of drinks, and I brought cheap beer, drank one and sampled everyone else's. I like drinking beer at outdoor parties. Perfect night last night. There was a chimenea in the back yard and I spent a lot of time next to it, not because it was cold out but because that's where the best action was. The girl I was supposed to take couldn't go because of a fuck-ton (thanks, Kevin) of papers and finals due tomorrow. I thought it over quite a bit and I don't think she was standing me up or backing out. I think she's generally just a considerate student and thought she would've fretted at the party about these papers. This was confirmed by another officemate at the party, who said she liked me and I liked her, right? Yes, I said.

This other officemate, she's a student playwright (I think they prefer to be called "dramatists" but fuck that) and I'd always suspected she was sort of, I don't know, light. I want to say "light in the loafers," but I'm pretty sure that's a euphemism for "gay." She's not "gay" but it's true she is "not very smart." She got drunk on two glasses of chardonnay and her med-school fiance got uncomfortable at how giggly she was getting and it was fun to watch. As we were eating, she told me she voted for Bush. I'm not surprised. I don't know what this says about me (actually, I do) but of the people I know and talk to and consider friends, she's the first to say she voted for the guy. It's not surprising because she comes from a very specific upper-class sort-of-southern social class. Parents either lawyers or very rich entrepreneurs. Brothers and sisters graduates of U. of Virginia and the kind of people you see in the photo spreads for local charity balls for the new neo-natal unit, that sort of thing. And now she's marrying a doctor. We need F. Scott Fitzgerald.

There was a reading; the poets were great and the prose writers were OK. And there was the party and by the end of the night, it was me and my guy and his very nice wife and Janet Peery and her boyfriend Knox and Knox noodled on his guitar and we all talked for hours and Janet didn't get antsy and want to kick everyone out. I think they gave me lots of very practical career advice and I slurred my words only a little and Mike's wife bummed cigarettes from me and Mike didn't give me any dirty looks about that. It was all great and the only embarrassing thing I said all night was the admission that I'd used one of Janet's stories to woo a girl once. I actually used the word "woo." And Janet turned kind of sheepish but I suspect she was flattered and it wasn't really that embarrassing because everyone there knows her stories have this power. And at the end of the night I gave her a hug and told her she's been a big influence on me and it was kind of sad because I won't be seeing as much of those people now but I'm certainly glad I made the most of last night.

And since the girl couldn't go to the party yesterday on the phone I made a deal with her, saying I'm taking her out to a late lunch after she turns in a paper tomorrow and she sounded excited about this.

It's seventy degrees and ridiculous here today, Sunday, and I've still got The Shins in my head from last night and everything's good. And I start a two-week temp job on Tuesday and that's just about the right length so that I can visit home, see my family, and go for hikes behind my parents' house and see my nephew. He's about three months old and I've been working on a sort of time capsule for him, a shoebox with stuff I hope he'll find interesting when he's fifteen or so. That's the idea anyway. And I'm working on a letter to him, inspired by James Baldwin's letter to his nephew called "Down at the Cross," I think, but with less about racism and more about his parents (my little brother and his wife) and me and my family.

In the end, for my thesis, I settled on this epigraph from Andre Aciman:

"What if things didn't have to always disappear?"

I think that's what writing's always been about for me. A flailing against the oblivion. I like the sense of purpose in that line.

Also, I like the feeling of holiness. I wonder if that's why some people like certain drugs so much.

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