Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Little Black Keebler Elf...Complete With Cookies

This morning finds me feeling terrible, but in good spirits. Another December has past, and New Year's Eve is on the horizon, which is an enjoyable holiday. You take a moment to look back, then forward, perhaps make a resolution that you'll almost certainly break, and then have Chinese food and do some drugs while waiting patiently for the big ball to drop. It's almost as much fun as Halloween.

Unfortunately, New Year's Day marks the beginning of the long, interminable Purgatory between the cold, short days of Winter and the long, green days of Spring. January through April in New England is a depressing affair. It's worth it to live here, though. When leaves and grass begin to reappear, and the forsythia pop out with their canary yellow flowers, life actually seems like it's good for awhile. Before we get there, however, we have this "waiting room of the world" as C.S. Lewis put it. I actually like the cold, but the early sunset, that's the killer.

My favorite moment, by far, of this holiday season was last week when my beloved Linda and I went to Governor Deval Patrick's First Annual Holiday Ball at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, where I used to work as a "Houseman." That's the person who cleans and helps get guests whatever they want, at any hour of the day or night. I worked the overnight shift, 11pm-7am, and loved it. Some crazy shit went on there, and by going back there for a party I was halfway to a good time already.

I got a letter from Deval Patrick's people several weeks ago, since I did some "visibility" for them and am listed as a volunteer on their mailing list. The "suggested" donation to attend this ball was "$100 or $250" (one imagines that any amount in between would have sufficed, as well). I told them that I wanted to go, but had not a dollar to donate. So Linda and I ended up as volunteers at the big ball, if only for an hour or so, signing people in as they showed up.

Now, a few words about how this event was advertised. The invitation spoke of "desserts and dancing until 11pm" and requested "festive attire." Both Linda and I imagined well-dressed, stylish and wealthy people mixed with college student activists, perhaps dressed more casually. We had that pretty well pinned. Some people were dressed to kill, mostly women. But three African American gentlemen joined the party who looked fabulous, and festive. Linda postulated that they were gay, which seems likely. Eloquent, funny, well-educated and well-dressed people are usually gay. Ha!

We also expected that the desserts to be served would be wonderful pastries, pies and cakes. When we started our brief volunteer stint, we were given a list of donors. Some people gave as much as $5000. We figured that a donation like that would bring out some sinful delights to go with the free coffee. We figured wrong. The "desserts" that circulated around the room were actually just cookies. Some were jazzed up with fresh fruit or drizzled chocolate, but I know a cookie when I see one. More importantly, I know a cookie when I taste one. These were cookies.

No matter. There was a live band and a ballroom full of rich people dancing poorly. Linda and I danced, and I kept the lid on my furious sexual power so nobody would get hurt. Visions of my YouTube dance festival come to mind.

After dancing and filling up on cookies and free coffee (or tap water..."sparkling water" cost $6), we set out into the huge ballroom to find Deval Patrick. Easier said than done, given that Deval is only 11 inches tall. Ha! He's actually just a bit shorter than I am. Linda and I shook his little black hand and I told him that he was doing a "good job." I'm sure he's relieved to get my seal of approval.

Before we left, I revisited my days as a Houseman and showed Linda the spot where I rode the floor buffer for two seconds before it sent me flying into a table. And I pointed out the Oak Room, a very fancy and expensive steakhouse in the lobby. I used to sleep in that bar, with my co-workers, for an hour or so every night. And of course I had to show her the bathroom where I tried to commit suicide via overdose, and the sidewalk outside where I collapsed and was surrounded by dozens of people. Ah, those were the days. The shitty, suicide, sex addicted days that I'm glad to be rid of.

Linda and I had fun, we didn't slip on the ice and we got to party with the rich hippies. Hopefully something equally fun will happen on New Year's Day. And if you're out there, Deval, feel free to drop by anytime for coffee and cookies.

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