The Fifth Century Party and other recent phenomena

August has proven to be thus far almost exactly what I had hoped it to be: quiet, relaxing, but with no shortage of fun. I don’t feel useless as I normally might when unemployed and largely unoccupied because I’ve been writing regularly, if not terribly prolifically. I’ve been writing a poem a day and will continue for the duration of the month. I’m not sure this is necessarily the best way to write, but it’s certainly gotten some things out of me, and I’m again happy to just have something to show for myself. I convince myself there is nothing less than an infinite multitude of things to do in this world, yet spend a surprising portion of my days watching television or other such things (the latest incredibly delightful distraction: Neverwinter Nights 2, but best thing to happen to computer games since Baldur’s Gate II. Yes, I am a dork). But with a growing pile of things written down at least I’m documenting the experience. I think the documentation obsession stems from the desire to leave a mark on the world that can last longer than myself. It all goes back to the fear of one’s own mortality. But this isn’t the time for more circular introspection. It’s the time to once again catalogue recent activities, knowing that I won’t remember them and hoping that some day I will be happy to have a partial record of what the hell I did with my youth (or, say, early twenties).

For my birthday we had an amazing party, toga-adorned and game faces worn. I could ask for little better, my birthday falling on a Friday and a venue conveniently available. I wore golden laurel leaves along with DJ, whose birthday had been the week prior. We had 30 kids over, pretty much all old favorites (the elusive Mr. Berman even made an appearance). The dress code adherence was fairly high, to my delight, although eventually it was too hot and / or impractical to continue wearing togas and many people changed or shed theirs. I wandered upstairs to sleep around 3:30, woke up an ungodly 7 the next morning and cleaned the house with Katie. I caught a ride home with the last people to leave, went home and slept.

Last Thursday Anita and I went hiking at Fox Ridge State Park, located a few easy miles outside of Charleston. It rained torrentially in the morning and early afternoon and even on the drive down, but my careful study of the weather maps paid off: as soon as we arrived it cleared up, just as we had timed it. We walked up and down the ridges and around the lake until the humidity got the better of us and we retired back to the city. Still, it’s nice to get out, and save for one person working on something who we caught a brief glimpse of we were the only people in the park. The advantage of going on a rainy day, I suppose.

Yesterday I babysat for Suzanne’s stepkids in the morning, caught up with her when she got home, then went and saw Superbad with Lydia. It was funny, I cannot deny it. A little stupid, but definitely enjoyable. After the usual dinner at home I went to Colette’s for a “birthday wowohoww” hosted by Colette and Lucy. Another enjoyable all-class gathering (or at least, the part of the class who I ever actually see).

Today was all errands, the beginnings of a full-scale onslaught of China preparation. I leave in 12 days. This is intense. Summer, I love you unconditionally, but you know I can’t stay.

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