Aside

At the party last night …

At the party last night a Spanish teacher hovered on the edge of our group and then broke in with, what else to call it, material, anecdotes that seemed rehearsed, proclamations and declarations, punchlines repeated to elicit second rounds of laughter. His fly was down.

At the party last night I spoke with the editorialist about athletic programs in town, the failure of students to become fully self-sufficient, and the importance of the university as a place of pure intellectual exploration apart from common custom. We did not mention any of his recent editorials and my frequent disagreements them. Anyway, my disagreements had been politely wreathed with rhetorical bits of validation, so they may not seem have seemed disagreeable at all. Or perhaps our current gregariousness was cover for political animosity. This is what I contemplated while we talked.

At the party last night many people remarked on the height of my son. He is tall, thirteen. The family joke is that he may be in love with the daughter of the editorialist, in the way that thirteen understands love, privately, perhaps fiercely, perhaps as a powerful abstraction, perhaps not at all. He may only love the hours of solitude in the yard, listening to music on earbuds while kicking the soccer ball into the net over and over again. Or maybe these loves are not strictly compartmentalized for him. He seems wholly himself wherever he is.

At the party last night I did not speak with the surgeon who writes historical fiction but I did speak with the technical writer who edits software manuals. Topics discussed: the late films of Robert Redford, whether one should shower before bed or upon waking, real estate in San Francisco, pot dispensaries.

After the party last night we went to another party, a smaller party, hardly a gathering, really, and played Trivial Pursuit. Bill Clinton was the first president to use a seven-person hot tub in the White House. A free man from the borough is part of the bourgeoisie. Tom Wolfe was a bestselling social critic who coined this or that phrase. In a certain decade a certain group backed a certain politician for governor of a certain state.

Happy New Year.