--It all started the previous weekend with the Harvard-Yale game. Which I flew 3,000 miles not to attend. If a normal college football game mated with a high school game, the offspring would be an Ivy League game. So I've never been able to muster enough interest to get into Harvard football. As a big sports fan who would have had a lifetime of fun rooting for a college football team, this is just a shame. The main problem is the lack of consequence involved-- my sophomore year Harvard went undefeated for the first time since 1913, and what for? Ivy League bragging rights? It hit me then that that was as good as it could possibly get-- the equivalent of winning the World Series or Superbowl-- and it wasn't the least bit gratifying. So I threw in the towel and haven't cared since.
Plus, at a train station a few days later a weird-looking girl in front of me in line saw a guy walk by wearing a Yale sweatshirt, and yelled out, "Finally! We womped 'em!" (Yale won for the first time in 6 years), and the guy was like, "Yeah, a total thrashing!" and then they stared at each other for 2 seconds of hideous awkwardness and the guy moved on. Just not something I want to be a part of.
Anyway, the thing Harvard-Yale is good for is an annual excuse for a drunken reunion with college friends. Plus, the Saturday tailgate is the one day each year that I am invariably shitfaced by 11am, and hungover and regretful by 7pm. And other than an upsetting situation that arose which involved me forcing my sister's 17-year-old friend into a cab home so she'd stop making out with 28-year-olds, the reunion was a grand old time (although I did have the pleasure of witnessing one of these 28-year-olds being told her real age the next day, which made him choke on his soup).
--From Harvard-Yale I continued on to New York for a couple days. There's nothing like arriving in New York-- each time I go, for the first hour I'm there, I wish I had a turtle shell to retreat into. The sheer amount of people, and honking, and swerving through traffic in that first cab ride always overwhelms me initially. After I adjust, I get used to it and I'm fine, but I'm never quite ready for it when I first get there.
Two things that are better about New York than LA:
- In LA nothing is walking distance away from where you live and everything closes at 10pm. In New York you walk outside and everything you need is within 3 blocks, and nothing ever closes.
- New York has public transportation, something I yearn for every weekend night in LA, and every time I'm sitting in traffic.
- It's frigid in New York, and in LA I wear jeans and a t-shirt 365 days a year and there are palm trees outside my window.
--On Thursday, I ended up back in Boston at a 20-person Thanksgiving dinner. At events like this, there's one problem that always plagues me. I pick up a couple bottles of wine on the way, and when I arrive, I have two options:
1) Go on my own to the kitchen and deposit the wine onto the counter with the other wine.
2) Hold onto the wine until I say hi to the host, then ask where I should put the wine, and then proceed to the kitchen to deposit the wine onto the counter with the other wine.
Both options are bad. In the first case, I just spent $30 on wine and I'm getting no credit for it. As far as anyone knows, I brought nothing to the party. I spent $30 to anonymously turn 15 wine bottles into 17. Which, of course, defeats the entire purpose of buying the wine in the first place-- to show the host that I spent $30 as a thank you for inviting me and feeding me.
In the second case, it's completely obvious to the host and everyone else that I'm only holding onto the wine for such a long time and asking where it goes for the purpose of getting credit for bringing it. "Oh-- and where should I put this?" I ask, which means the exact same thing as, "Look, I brought wine." And everyone knows it. In the first case I have no class for not bringing anything (as far as they know). In the second I have no class for demanding credit for bringing something. (Putting money in a tip jar can lead to a similar quandary, as George Costanza so perfectly exemplified).
This problem is further magnified anytime I've brought something especially nice or excessive. In that case, I certainly have to go with the second approach, and not only do I need to make it crystal clear that I brought something, but I have to make sure they really get a good look at it so they can realize the full extent of my benevolence. "Oh-- I brought this-- and these-- where will I find enough counter space for everything I brought?"
At one point in my life I thought I had found a solution-- simply call the host ahead of time and ask, "Should I bring red wine or white?" The problem is, when they answer, "Oh, don't bring anything" (while fully expecting you to bring something), you arrive at the house with your wine and the exact same problem. And times they actually say, "red", you arrive with red wine and realize that they probably already forgot the conversation since they probably had 10 of those calls, and you're back at ground zero.
I think what I may do in the future is intentionally drop the wine I bring immediately upon entry into the house, and the commotion involved with cleaning will leave everyone with no choice but to acknowledge my generous ways.
Anyway, the other noteworthy occurrence of the night was 7 of the 7 men at the dinner being bald. It was quite a feat. What a bright future to look forward to.
And now, here I am back in LA-- America is already waist-deep in the Christmas spirit, I'll soon begin polishing my menorah, and another Thanksgiving has come and gone.