Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mexican Jumping Scenes

You may not know this about me but I am something of an amateur biogenetic engineer. As hobbies go, this may seem like a pretty strange one, but then again, what about me isn’t pretty strange? I am not making super crops hydroponically in my basement or trying to cross a dog with a cat. My work is in a more social realm, trying to bring disparate peoples together, often to disastrous results.

For a long time, I have been a notorious matchmaker. Without rhyme or reason, I am constantly trying to get people together. It is a horrible habit. And after many decades, I have only one moderate success under my belt. Undeterred by reality, I charge ahead. After all, when you meet a perfect gay specimen of man like Matt Kugelman, it naturally causes the fingers in your brain to start twirling the old mental rolodex. But my social bioengineering is not limited to love. In fact my primary work is in friend bonding. I have been saving up for years for a portable fission machine and until then, I will have to continue to do it the old fashioned way: over dinner at Arriba Arriba.

When I lived in Los Angeles, my friend Paul used to hate my habit of inviting him out to dinner and then in the intervening days or even hours, ballooning the intimate meal for two into a ragtag fugitive fleet of random strangers. B Listers as Paul used to call them. As in, “what B Listers will be there?” Despite his recent woeful claim that he himself has dropped somewhere below C level, I am certain that if I invited him out his first question would be “who else is coming?”

Falling into an old rut, I did some rapid-fire inviting and suddenly I had filled the round table of Arriba Arriba, out back by the bathrooms and emergency exit. I had been wanting to see Ben Harvey forever and as usual invited him to a social setting where any hope of an intimate conversation would be impossible. He was hanging out that night with Dennis Hensley at a screening, so it was a perfect opportunity to see Dennis too. On a whim, I invited Kevin and Christopher, who because of their own nighttime schedules take for granted that people eat dinner at 10:30pm. I threw in two new people (the aforementioned Matt and John Saldivar) into the mix to really stir things up, and asked my roommate, even though he hates going out late on a school night. However, I think the guest list wooed him since it was many of his favorite people too, and no B Listers!

Christopher finished his show early and was starving, and didn’t know other people were coming, so told me to meet him after my show at the bar at Vynl, across the street from Arriba x2 (or as Matt calls it Arriba Squared). Chris was in good spirits despite the literally back breaking new schedule for Shrek The Musical, through which he performs and dances eight shows a week on his knees. We were happily chatting away and I (as I can do) lost all track of time and disregarded the other five people waiting at the restaurant. But moments later, we were there and it turns out I had nothing really to worry about. They were all busy chatting and enjoying margaritas at the bar. And no one was a complete stranger. John knew Mike who knew Dennis who knew Ben who knew Matt. A thin tangential thread but a connection nonetheless. Gay society has thrived on less for far longer.

We all sat down, waiting to order food until Kevin arrived but not hesitating on rounds of margaritas. I pulled a standard Agatha Christie opener “I am sure you are all wondering why I brought you here.” Everyone laughed but there was a grain of truth to it. After all, it was a table full of people whose sole real connection was me. And that isn’t narcissistic at all. Maybe that is the problem I have. The only thing I care about in my social experiments is bringing together the elements I care about, without regard to how they will mix. I am pretty sure that’s how my Uncle blew his finger off in high school. This dinner didn’t blow up in my face and in fact, turned out to be quite a success. And my Uncle had mixed those chemicals before without incident. I guess, we all have our share of successes and even when it all goes badly you can still find a silver lining. That finger in a jar of formaldehyde years later made a killer show and tell item for his daughter. After all, any bad interaction can still leave a juicy story behind.

2 comments:

Viewtiful_Justin said...

My boyfriend Robb has the exact same problem...turning a meal for two into a full-blown party. And I'm a two-person dinner kind of guy.

Anonymous said...

Derek,

You are a wonderful writer and I
so admire your dedication to blogging so intently on a perpetual basis. What I find so puzzling is why someone who enjoys his privacy so deeply would want to
spend his precious, discretionary time detailing the events of his daily life. I know that you enjoy
sleep time as well and are a fantastic cook. You would make some lucky man a wonderful partner.
What is the rationale behind the daily blogging and do you feel that people are really giving your
blogs the attention they so rightly
deserve?

Subway Jarrad