i slept 4 hours last night before waking up for the exterminator to arrive at 8am (the scheduled time was moved up an hour). my father showed up at the same time, wanted to see flea killing in action. the man-saviour arrived with an old-fashion pump canister sprayer, and went around the house spraying not only the rugs but the floors as well. what he was spraying was a combination of neurotoxin (pyrethrins, derived from chrysanthemums) to kill the adults and larvae on contact and an insect growth regulator to inhibit any surviving fleas from growing. he said the stuff wasn't toxic to humans, nor to pets as well, and would evaporate in 30 minutes. he asked about pets, "you said you had a cat?" "my old roommate has an outdoors cat who came in at nights," i told him. "there it is," he replied, case closed.
the exterminator left, promising to return in about a week for a routine checkup and to spray again if necessary. he also gave me a stack of glue traps in case i wanted to see if i could snare any lucky fleas. my father, who would've brought me to belmont in case i couldn't stay in the house because of the spraying, went back home alone since the chemicals weren't of any danger (to me at least). i went out to mail back some netflix dvd's when i bumped into sarah at the stop sign in her car. "hi tony," she said, very calmly, "do you remember me?" "of course!" i said with a bit more enthusiasm, and learned she was just on her way to joel's place with breakfast. when i came back inside, i fell asleep soon afterward while waiting for the flea poison to dry. maybe it's the placebo effect, but for the first time in 2 weeks i felt flea-less, and i slept blissfully, the kind of sleep you have when there are no longer any parasites sharing your house. i woke back up before noon, this strange combination of continued tiredness yet a strong desire to get out of bed and start my day.
andrew's surprise birthday party was tonight and i went to harvard square to buy him a present. no one i know has less clutter than andrew, so anything nonessential would probably be tossed or given away the next time he moved. i knew he likes history, and nature as well, so i ended up giving him a copy of the audubon society field guide to new england, an indispensable book for any new england nature lover, a gift i've given before to others (i myself am a proud owner of a first edition). i also stopped by a greek takeout place (runned by mexicans) to get a gyro platter for lunch. during my harvard excursion 2 people asked me for directions: a chinese couple looking for the "yinjing library," i told them where to go in chinese; then a girl asked me where the music library was, i had no idea but told her she was close to the science building. coming back, i remembered my next door neighbor franz inviting me to their house party in 2 weeks, looking forward to mingling with some graduate students.
by nightfall, i was certain renata wasn't coming. i had told her about the surprise party a few weeks ago and she expressed interest in going, but all week long the only response i got from her was a pithy e-mail saying, "sounds great!" and she didn't return any of my recent calls. so i was surprised when she called, asking to know about tonight's plan.
while waiting for renata to arrive, i watched fallen angels on dvd, wong kar wai's 1995 movie that was supposed to be the lost third segment of chungking express. i am in love with wong kar wai's movies. each one is so stylized, beautiful, romantic, lonely, sad, happy, cute. i want to live in one of his movies.
we ended up taking the subway from porter square into the city. renata was dressed surprisingly light and we discussed the possibility of her getting an intermediate jacket. there was a large crowd waiting outside shabuzen in chinatown by the time we got there around 7pm, so we decided to eat at the noodle alcove instead. this was renata's first visit, although she'd seen them make noodles before from outside the window. we each went with a bowl of "daoshiao" knife-cut noodles, and went up front to watch the young noodle chef slice off strips of noodle with a knife. there was way too much food and we both agreed that we could've easily shared a single bowl between the two of us. renata had the chicken (which she said tasted like bananas) while i had the beef. the bill came out to be $10, an amazingly cheap dinner. i wrote some kind words in andrew's birthday card and passed it along to renata. after scribbling her message, renata told the time to decorate the card and envelope with some drawings.
there was a slight drizzle by the time we left the restaurant at 8pm. huddled underneath an umbrella, we walked down to hennessey's bar/club in haymarket, 2 mid-life crisisers shuffling off on an appointment to anoint a new inductee in the exclusive three-oh club. by the time we got there, andrew had just arrived at his surprise party. most of the people i didn't know, with the exception of david and judy, and the handful of friends from andrew's summer barbecues. renata and i were the only representatives of friends from high school. there were college friends, work friends, church friends, and travel friends. a cake covered with candles celebrating andrew's 30th natal anniversary was brought in and we each had a square. renata and i looked at each other after we finished, surprised that we were able to find room after our filling dinner. thirsty, we moseyed along to the bar to get some drinks, renata going with some water while i went with an ice-filled glass of coke. the party then moved upstairs to the lounge.
renata and i spent the evening talking to mainly david and judith as well as andrew, the only people there we both knew. david and judy were catching up with renata, whom they haven't seen in well over a decade. some people left, which seemed like a good time for us to leave as well, and which just so happened to be renata's 10pm bedtime (yeah, even when it's not a school night!). i slipped the present with andrew's other presents, we said good bye to andrew and maura and their friends, and made our exit.
the drizzle was more pronounced, and we walked to the nearest station (haymarket) instead of making it back to downtown crossing. little did we realize there's construction inside some of the stations and there's no continuous orange line service, instead you have to take a shuttle bus. as an alternative, we grabbed the next available green line train, hoping we'd be going in the right direction amidst all the confusion. at park street we caught the outbound red line just as soon as we got to the station. renata demonstrated her versatile scarf and we took turns playing with frilly length of woven fabric. approaching harvard square i eyed renata mischievously: "are you thinking what i'm thinking?" she thought about it, but then decided we should get off at porter square instead, too tired for some lollicup action.