I hadn't put much thought into Christmas Eve plans. In the past I've mostly spent my Christmas Eves wrapping presents or baking cookies. All of which I did yesterday, but got finished at around 2:30pm. This year was going to be a little different, I knew, because H. was scheduled to DJ at a new lounge in Berkeley from 10pm-2am. Whoa. I kept thinking to myself, No one's going to be there, it's Christmas Eve! But found myself thinking, Well, maybe lots of people go to clubs on Christmas Eve, who knows? It has been a while since I could call myself a party girl.
So I finished up all my Christmas prep, put out all the gifts under the tree, and took a walk with H. at Fort Mason Park, which made me finally understand why rich people love to populate the Marina. God, the views were gorgeous. The mist shrouding Mount Tam and the bay were amazing, and the park's gentle slopes were sensuous and very San Francisco.
H. and I packed up to head over to Berkeley for his DJ gig at around 8:30pm. He has to bring turntables to this gig so we were fully loaded and ready to rock. It's freezing in Berkeley when we get there, and downtown is super DEAD. I'm wondering again, Is anyone gonna be at this place? Then I think, No worries, this is a paid gig and H. has a commitment from the promoter. Right. I should've known better.
We get into the bar and a cool dreaded brother comes up to us and says, 'You want a drink?' and I think, 'Wow, how friendly.' The place is dead. There are two older dudes sitting at the bar a few stools away from each other, engaging in obligatory drunken banter. There's dude sitting on one of the velvet chairs reading out of a binder. I'm guessing he works there. The dreaded brother doesn't realize that H. is the DJ for another minute or two, and then he says, 'Oh, you don't have to stay.' H. and I looked at each other like, 'Is this guy for real? Did we not just haul over a box plus two bags of records and two turntables from San Francisco to DJ this muthafucka?'
I know the guy is just a bartender so clearly there's been some miscommunication. 'Oh, didn't he call you?' Referring to aforementioned party promoter. No, H. attests, no call. We waited around for a little while and checked out the slightly spooky interior of the hotel that the lounge is located in, then took off when it was clear that Mr. Party Promoter was no where to be located via cell phone. So much for global communications.
A bit dejected (I had gotten all dolled up, but mostly I felt bad that H. got stiffed) we headed back to the City and dropped off all our stuff, then walked over to the Video Cafe, where I ate breakfast at 11pm and we watched 'Ace Ventura, Pet Detective'. The guy in the next booth laughed even louder than we did. That Jim Carrey is one kooky white dude.
Ain't nothin' like some fried potatoes to cheer me up, so after gobbling down my hash browns and finishing the movie we walked back home and cozied up on the couch. Our tree looked so cute with its multi-colored lights and random Christmas ornaments that we had bought from Casa Bonampak in the Mission and elsewhere, and with all our presents for folks piled under it. I love our tree.
Finally, we settled into bed to finish reading Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, which we've been reading together off and on for the past six months or so. It's one of my favorites and I wanted to share it with H., who isn't big into reading books. I knew he'd dig it, though, and once we got past the difficulties of reading in deep Black Southern dialect, we had a grand time.
Last night we read the climactic two final chapters. You'll have to read it yourself because I'm not spoiling it for you by telling you what happens. Suffice it to say that Janie and Tea-Cake (the novel's two main characters) have a deep and abiding and laughter-filled love that finds its unexpected resolution in these final pages of the book. They leave you crying and smiling at the same time. I'd forgotten how quickly Hurston wraps up the book after 19 chapters of adventure and whimsy and romance, but it is in these final two chapters that Hurston's genius is at its most brilliant.
I fell asleep after H. told me he had to "check his emails". Right, on Christmas Eve, you're expecting some news from a client? I knew what that meant. He hadn't celebrated enough Christmases to be smooth enough to sneak my present past me, which meant he had to wrap it while I was in bed. That was cool with me, even though I whined to him about not coming to bed with me on Christmas Eve.
I slept well, although I had some crazy dreams, and woke up this morning not quite feeling like it was Christmas. But then I went out to the tree, plugged in the lights, and smiled at the sight of all the gold and silver and red and green wrapped gifts laying there. Almost on a reflex, I peeked around to see if anything new had appeared in the night. Had Santa come to visit us?
And there, on the right hand side of the tree, wrapped in gold with silver ribbon and a sprig of flowers on top of it, was a present that I knew was for me. The gift tag read: "To Janie. From Tea-Cake."
Beast Crawl, Oakland, Saturday, September 2
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