foxtongue: (canadian)

alt-text: i hear smashing glass in my head, ever time i laugh


I awoke a little panicked, aware of a certain dreadful absence of pinging alarm, not quite damning my day job, but coming close to it. The entire morning thing seemed insurmountable. It had been a long, unexpected evening, the sort I am generally familiar with, but never actually had, so all I wanted to do was sleep in. Drinks in a bar, an invitation up, my cue to pass out chastely on half of a hotel bed, that's how it goes, how it suits my blood. But he was impossibly sweet and it seemed, after an indeterminate sleepy amount of cuddling, that my desire to cling to the familiar had evaporated somewhere, possibly seared from existence by his fiercely protective intellect, and the only path available was towards a new choice.

We went to the Aquarium after dinner later that night, (foreign dishes in a basement, the beginning of my stories, the tragic litany, the darker side of a thousand and one nights), me to crash the party, him with legitimacy, both with an equally sound purpose. Mine was to sneak in, the better to get me into even more later. We split up right away, once it was assured I had successfully bluffed past security, and that was that, I was on my own, a mercenary butterfly released into the opening party of the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

It's startlingly easy to make fast friends at the beginning of conferences. There are always a few people who've been attending since the dawn of time, but the majority of the crowd are strangers thrown together or people who've only known each-other tangentially or on-line, so the ground is primed for the sort of introduction that doesn't generally fly in public, where you simply walk up like a little kid to a friendly looking face and say, "hi!".

I almost immediately fell in a lovely women, Shauna, a fellow burner from Berkeley I knew I would like, then together, after taking pictures with the sharks, we found Elizabeth, there for CNN, best characterized by her amazing smile, as permanent as the moon. We chatted about the fish and science and wondered about the whale, elusive and grand, sequestered in an area of the aquarium that the conference hadn't rented. Occasionally I drifted away, encountering new conversations and faces, making mental notes for later, attaching myself here and there, but made sure to keep swinging back to touch base, so as the night progressed, as I fluttered, I forged a little group with which to found a conspiracy.

Eventually we made a feint at sneaking past security to see the whale, but we'd gained mass, our core blossoming as we went into an unwieldy six or seven, too many to slyly saunter into an area we weren't supposed to go. Then, sadly, after some magic with the otters and the dolphins, it was time to leave, the staff ushering us past the sleeping octopus and the shimmering glass cube of tiny blue fish that look like living streaks of light to a queue in the the parking lot for the hired buses that were shuttling everyone back downtown. I lost my partner in the crush, perhaps because I lingered too long, loitering in a hope to find him, yet I found surprisingly good company in his wake - Alan, Estrella, and Marc, who I first met inside as part of the attempt on the beluga tank. They wanted to walk, but didn't know the way, so I put aside my concerns regarding my misplaced self as less important than the possibility of an entire lost group and appointed myself their guide.

The walk home was beautiful, if long. Mostly I fell in step with Marc, who I pressed for details about the Ig Nobels and traded stories of odd employment paths, but got on well with Alan, too, who possesses a Patient Zero level of infectious cheer. By the time everyone peeled off for their separate hotels, we'd discussed several adventures, planned a couple more, and all traded business cards, a habit I was to pick up even more as the conference went on. (The trick is to remember later which card goes to which face).

My fellow turned out to be table camping with the rest of his crew at the hotel bar, which I walked through on a whim, hoping to stumble across where he might be, my lack of cell phone again a strangely crippling artifact of the shockingly recent past. I joined them, of course, and was immediately taken with RJ, a clever young man from Waterloo University who was sitting at my end of the table. I spent the rest of the evening pulling ideas from him, chatting about clean energy and the internet, until the table finally dissolved, leaving me and mine to drift upstairs into the sweet oblivion that promises endless wonder but only ever delivers tomorrow.
foxtongue: (hot in here)

around the corner
Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.
First time kissing a man shorter than me. First time a few things, actually. I was out with James after dinner, we'd been talking about the death of our personal industries, and we were hunting for a nightclub. Somewhere with people, somewhere with dancing, somewhere with music going on. Stairs and stairs and stairs. Different designs, different prizes. It was like a treasure hunt or playing french doors with real ones. At the top of one set of crude roughly painted steps, ones surrounded by lemurs and monkeys in some kind of imaginary tropical tree, was a bar filled only by intensely drunk under-age girls dancing saucily to Duran Duran. Another set of stairs, these ones low and mirrored, opened up into the inside of a fake airplane with red kanji characters splashed above the bar and filled with atrocious hip-hop. Another place, we didn't even make it up all the way. A song came on, something immediately recognizable from the late seventies, and it kicked us into immediate retreat. We barreled down those stairs as if the eighties hair gods were chasing us with hairspray and lighters.

Somewhere along the way, at the television music place I think, James his his head so hard that I heard it in my teeth. We poked our heads into a few places after that, a two level place playing house on top and 80's music on the floor filled with exact replica's of the strung out lead singer of The Wolf Parade, a sour booze place with choppy wooden floors and too much cigarette smoke to see through, but he'd lost momentum and it was time to head back. One more place though, one last chance to see. Red rope out front, a wicker ball threaded through with christmas lights, the foyer a strangely residential hallway with a make-shift table as the mandatory coat-check at the foot of the metal and tile stairs. This is it, I thought, but first, to walk James home.

Upstairs was a long low room cut into different areas through clever use of stairs and stripper poles. I liked how well crafted the space was. The walls were lined with dark velvet and the mood was Upscale Having Dirty Fun. It's been noted that I appreciate style. The clientele were a different matter. The VIA rail staff party collected some of the IBM staff party, migrated in earlier and now were dominant. Drunk engineers in black suit and tie who called me rude because I wouldn't drink with them. "If you were a francophone girl, you wouldn't be so uppity. I'd be kissing you right now." They kept surrounding me and trying to push shots into my hands. "Where are you from? You're here alone, aren't you?" They were entirely sleazy, but easy enough to shake off and occasionally better entertainment than the music. The music was unbelievably bad. At one point there was an audacious and painful mash-up playing made of Pump Up The Volume and the Miami Vice Themesong. It was a toss-up if the DJ was brilliant or simply brain damaged.

At the point where I'd decided that I either had to leave or burn the place down and salt the earth, things changed.

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foxtongue

April 2012

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