Playing Doctor

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Monday, December 20

Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me

Last night was the Luminaria.

As the Riverside Avondale Preservation Society writes in their newsletter, Luminaria is a Christmas celebration where candles are placed along roads of a neighborhood while people carol and visit. It originated in Mexico, they write, but now has become 'universal.' By ‘universal’ they mean celebrated by upper-middle class whites.

Many people have their Christmas parties that night. Visitors from outside the neighborhood have a lovely drive to your party. And people who live in the neighborhood don't have to watch their own homes burn down when a stray candle sets its bag on fire, sending sparks and flaming wisps of paper into their eves.

So my friend Cecil throws a party and I go, mingling with people I half-know. The doorbell rings and we have carolers.

"This story is old," they begin to sing. The hodge-podge of well-groomed people in their thirties wearing red sweaters seem a little unusual for a caroling crowd. And the song seems both familiar and foreign, like a jazz version of a familiar tune. It sounds like Christmas and it isn't until the next line that I can place it. "I know but it goes on."

Beautiful. I had never thought about it before, but it works as an agnostic Christmas carol. Who would have thought of that?

Last night I dreamt that somebody loved me
No hope, no harm
Just another false alarm

This story is old,
I know but it goes on.

So at the party there was a seventeen year-old girl who knew the surest way to a man's heart was to appear stupid and beautiful. To that end, she was regaled in Gap wear and spent a considerable amount of wit and guile appearing stupid. She won my heart with the line of the night. She asked my friend what he did for a living.

"I work for Charles Schwab,” he said.

"Is he a lawyer?" She replied.

When the party ended a group of us went to Cuba Libre, a Cuban nightclub in San Marco. We were having a good time as we entered and when the doorman asked to see my ID, I said, "I'm old enough to be your father, ya mothafucker."

Logically, I should have been thrown out right there, but apparently last night some unseen force really did love me, because the situation was smoothed over with a smile and a quick apology. Smoothed over enough that I ended up wearing his cowboy hat home which, miraculously, had not burned down.

Feliz Navidad!


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