Monday, March 19, 2007

St. Patrick's Day

It was the strangest St. Patrick’s Day ever. I spent it with Craig in a hospital in Boise, Idaho, visiting his maternal aunt, Marlene. The poor woman was in a car wreck. She has a fractured neck and is on life support. Lots of images are rushing through my mind.

Being in Love

I watched Craig comfort his aunt and I remembered (as if I ever forgot) why I fell in love with him. His is a gentle and kind soul. I never know what to say in these situations, but he always does. He said sweet simple things, hummed hymns for her and reminded her of beautiful days they had together. She can’t speak. But he knew just what to say. He was an angel. I married an angel. The truth is, I never had a chance—I was in love with by our second phone call, before we’d even physically met. Craig’s soul is beautiful. I will always love him and be in love with him.

My Last St. Patrick’s Day Party

That was St. Patrick’s Day 2001. I had a pub band called We Oughta Been Irish (cause none of us were). The joke ran something like, “So an Arab, a German, a Norwegian and two Jews walk into a bar and order a beer. They asked, ‘Can you play?’ so here we are…” We were the original pub band of perpetual revolution. We never got the t-shirts made, but we had a logo, courtesy of Chris Davis.

Our keyboard man and drummer, Aaron Sarnat, has a dad who’s a doctor and a mom who’s a real-estate tycoon. They have this really awesome mansion in Tacoma that they rent out for affairs as a business. Well, they let us use it for free. Three of my best and closest friends, Kirk Anthony, Briggs Moon and Brian McGrath flew in from Boston, Dallas and Washington, respectively to be at this party. My goddaughter Michelle drove up from Portland. Naturally, Peter Hovde was there (he was the Norwegian in the band) as was Carrie Doan. Katharina Roeckpe, our German fiddler was there, too. Judy, our mandolin player had not yet joined the band. But between all the members of the band and their friends, this was one huge party. The energy was wild, the liquor was copious. There was some weed in there, too, and Aaron got laid that night. Drummers always get laid, right?

I was triumphant that night. I tended a full bar (cream drinks, martinis, margaritas, you name it, I mixed it and served it up with the correct garnish), made fish and chips and sang to bring the house down. I don’t think I realized it, but that was the last time the old Talal was really and truly alive. By September he’d be a queer multiple sclerotic. Yeah, that poor SOB never got laid, but he could drink all you sorry sons of bitches under the table, and that after having mixed everybody drinks and made and fed you the best fish ‘n chips you ever ate (Dave Huntoon had to grudgingly admit that I kicked Ivar’s ass when it comes to making fish ‘n chips). If only the old Talal had been smart enough to figure out he was queer, he’d probably been laid that night too. Sex or none, though, it was one of the best nights of my life.

And the next day, after everyone else left, Brian McGrath and I walked to O’Shea’s after doing shots of 151 at my shithole apartment and got totally smashed again. It was Tuesday night—Irish Heritage night—and who could say no to $2.50 shots of Irish whiskey and $2.50 pints of Irish beer? That was the day I took the best picture of Brain McGrath ever. This is the guy they let into the State Department, the suckers! Marxist radical alcoholic hockey fan. He's now a master of dry understatement, believe it or not.

You know what? I don’t care what anyone says about how obnoxious the old Talal was. He was a good guy. He had three friends who flew in from the ends of the continent to drink with him on St. Patrick’s Day and, good Arab that he was, threw the mother of all parties to celebrate. My people may lose every war (God help us), but goddamnit it, no one throws a better party. The boy knew how to live (poor virgin that he was). Would you believe that we even sang “American Pie” that night, too, after my famous rendition of “Seven Drunken Nights?” It couldn’t have been more perfect.

That, brothers and sisters, was that day that I died.

Dave Huntoon got married

This isn’t a memory—it’s announcement. I just got the e-mail today! May Dave and Heather be as happy as Craig and me. It’s the best I could wish anyone. And don’t you dare die in this war, hear me, Dave? Live for many years and be ludicrously happy. Speaking of great karma—

Dinur and Mai-Anh both got into grad school

While they haven’t heard from all their choices, both Dinur and Mai-Anh will be in graduate school next year. I couldn’t be more proud.

I got a letter from Mark, my college roomie

Mark’s now a priest. We’re getting to know each other again, after his great transformation and mine. It’s a little awkward, but it’s good to hear from him again.

Would you believe that I still have grading to do? Back to the grind... But I hope you had a blessed (and suitibly wet) St. Paddy's Day, wherever you may be!

No comments: