My life should be a sitcom. Honestly, if there were such a thing as Greek gods who truly like to play with the lives of mortal men, I will be the star performer. My show will be the box office hit on Mount Olympus!
Last night, Gary and I joined our friends at our annual New Year’s party at our friend Rick’s house. This has been an annual ritual for most of the years that we have lived here in the bay area. In the last couple of years, a poker game has been added as an extension of our almost monthly poker game that is held at his home also.
I look forward to those games mainly because it gives us the opportunity to socialize with our dearest friends outside of the bar scene and to also enjoy the banter that only a poker game can bring out.
Rick’s home overlooks the city and he has a patio balcony that has magnificent view of San Francisco. His house operates also as his business so we arrived with our friend, Renn, and immediately started rearranging everything for the game.
Food and drinks were strategically placed in their usual spots. Two tables were set up for the game. Because of the number of people, we were playing tournament style. Top winners of each table will go to the final round. There will also be an extra game for the losers at the loser table. (Gary and I made the final round but we did not win).
Also, when we arrived to Rick’s house; there was a guy that I had invited. While I was out at the Midnight Sun in the Castro the previous week with friends, this guy came up and started talking to us. He seemed nice, intelligent and he mentioned that he really like playing poker. Of course, it was the Christmas holidays and Rick’s party is an open invitation, so I invited the guy. I thought another poker enthusiast will be fun and that will be more money in the pot for the winners. In our games everyone puts in $20 and then there is a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize. This helps control the risks in these hard economic times and preserves friendships.
Lesson# 1 for 2009: Never invite someone you hardly know to a party of your dearest friends.
We drew for spots randomly for which table we will start at and this guy was put on the other table. From where I was seated, I could see most of the guys in that table. Apparently, my guest turned out to be, to put it mildly, really obnoxious, I started getting evil stares from my friends, T.J., Ryan and John. My friend, Robert came over and asked me where I picked up this guy. Renn kept telling me I was going to be banned forever. T.J. was mouthing that we will need to talk later.
Then this guy broke some coat rack and then spilled beer onto computer keyboard and did not even attempt to clean it up. Then he put his hand down Ryan’s pants. Ryan kept announcing that it reminded him of when his Uncle used to do that to him. (Ryan uses humor to deflect…but Ewwwww!).
Then in the middle of all of this, I get a call from my daughter who lives in Los Angeles, that she got mugged walking to the bus station on the way from work. She was listening to her IPod (Yes, I gave her the lecture- Never do that when you are walking on the street in a big city, especially!) and some girl came up and punched her and took her purse. Luckily all she had was bus money and some papers from work. She did no have any ID or Bank cards in it. She was able to walk back to work and get someone to take her home. After about a thousand reassurances to me, that she was okay and did not have any injuries, I was relieved that no further harm came on her. She told me she was more startled than anything else and that she did not fight back fearing that the thief might have a weapon. She was safe and sound now. That was all that mattered to me.
Okay, then obnoxious guy comes up to me, and whispers to me that he is leaving because he thinks my friends (especially Rick) are mad at him. No kidding, Bozo! He was fumbling trying to get my phone number. Thankfully he decided he will email me. There will be no more further contact from me after all this embarrassment. He said goodbye and left. Then I got it from my friends. It was verbal spanking on JP! The jokes and sarcasm were relentless. I certainly made this New Year’s Eve eventful. Curse you, Greek gods!
However, what was wonderful about the night was enjoying the company of these guys who have become like family to Gary and I in the bay area. We have watched the events of our lives unfold and the characters that have come in and out of them. We are a close knit group that loves to bicker, cajole and harass each other like a family. However, here is a warning to others who would endanger any of the group, you would have a whole united front to deal with and it would not be pretty for you. Our Little David, alone, can take anyone of you down!
I also was enjoying the test messages I was receiving from friends and family. Technology is great!
As Gary and I toasted each other with champagne and kissed to greet 2009 overlooking the beautiful city of San Francisco, I looked at our friends again and cannot help but love these guys. We went around and hugged and kissed each of them wishing them the best for the New Year. Having them around us makes the start of this year bright.
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Tasi (can we call you by your usual initials, I forget),
In your own defense, there’s no way of predicting ahead of time the introduction of someone into a group dynamic …it’s a crap-shoot. Given a different mood for the event, or other things that could have been going on his life that day/week/month, he might have easily fit in with the group and had a great time!
The poor guy, I believe, was just trying to hard to mirror to interplay we all had, with our rather harsh sense of humor, developed over time in the social circle. I mean, we can be a tough group to join cold…play it too cool and you’re boring and bland, play it tough fast and loose and you are totally obnoxious.
It was a done deal by the time the Beer Incident happened, what with his escalating attempts to keep up with our interplay and his continued insensitivity to the social clues he was being thrown (practically stabbed with) about how attempts to fit with the group weren’t working and yet not adjusting his approach. A shame, but hopefully he won’t be too hard on himself (or us!) and will live and learn.
I certainly gave you a hard time about it, but you know it was all done with tongue in cheek, out of fondness! If not, you would have gotten the cold shoulder as well for the rest of the night! So consider the hazing to be done out of love!
Happy New Year!
Thanks, Tasi. Fun to read and was a good laugh.
However, it sounds to me that you may have *still* missed the obvious point with which the Greek Gods were slapping you in the face.
If all 15 of your friends were able to determine within a matter of minutes that someone is ‘totally obnoxious’ (I am being nice by using your words), maybe you should have questioned how ‘safe’ it is for you to be so open to everyone from the beginning, and use such little discrimination. Seems the Gods were really trying to get that through to you by making you remember lectures you gave your daughter about protecting herself and being more discriminating about protecting her own space.
But I say Hell to the Greek Gods! In one way or another, you always make the parties that much more colorful and everyone loves you for it… you crazy bitch.
As always, I appreciate your wise counsel. Thanks for your comments, buddy.
My favorite Ho, if we were more careful of the kind of people we invite to our group Rick would have never asked you to come over those many,many years ago. Thanks for your comments, though. You got me on this one. By the way, you have brought more color to our parties than I have ever done. But that I will save for another blog. 🙂
Love ya guys,
I have looked over your blog a few times and I love it.
Thank you so much. That means a lot to me. I hope you continue to visit it often.