i left close to 3:00, stopping by the cafe to pick up a package of chinese sausages for rob's barbecue that i was going to next. i came home, went out and bought a case of ginger ale (what i really wanted was canned seltzer water but star market didn't have any), took a shower, and left. while tying down the soda and sausages to the back of my motorcycle, i ran into bram who was coming back from having indian buffet lunch at diva's in davis square. this was already his second time in 4 days; where he lives in atlanta there are no indian restaurants so he was indulging while he was here in town. i showed him the spare bicycle and while i was at it i gently asked if he could be more careful about the water splashes when he takes a shower (there was water again on the floor when i got home). he actually said he noticed that as well and promised to be more careful in the future.
it was actually kind of cold with temperature in the 60's and would be even colder by tonight. i wore my hooded sweatshirt just in case (i'd put it away in the closet last week, thinking i wouldn't need it for the rest of the season). rob lived in central square, on a cul-de-sac behind the prospect street whole foods. i'm not sure how long he'd lived there; the last time i visited him he was still living in east cambridge. rob flagged me down and said i could park in front of their unused driveway. i met his russian girlfriend anya. they were sitting outside enjoying the warm afternoon sun. rob brought out these large jackie onassis sunglasses. because i didn't want to lug around my heavy camera equipment, i borrowed my parents' canon XS230. we were enjoying our drinks, chatting about photography and blogs, when the guests started to arrive.
rob confessed he only knew a handful of the folks who showed up; most were friends of either his german roommate anna or his girlfriend. rob fired up the weber grill, dangerously close to the house (potentially melting the vinyl siding), with a rusty leg at risk of going at anytime. this barbecue party was in honor of anna completing her phd and rob getting his jack the ripper book published. although rob started the grilling, i ended up taking over cooking duty eventually. i didn't mind since it was warm around the fire. later when i went to go take a break, rob's awkward friend matt was working the grill, doing some searing on an oven pan1. there were hamburgers, veggie burgers, and sausages of all kinds (hot dogs, bratwurst, chinese links). we grilled sliced eggplants and zucchini. at one point somebody even brought some octopus (i've had better, it tasted too fishy).
there was a distinct international flare as far as the guest list went, with turkish, germans, austrians, russians, french, and belarusians2. the only other person i knew there was rob's friend dave. while we were talking, i discovered dave is an urban forager, and actually wrote a book about it. he said 30% of his food comes from foraging in places like parks. later we learned he also dumpster dives as well, which everyone seemed to be more interested in than the foraging.
guests left and new ones arrived to take their place, bringing more food and drinks. it got cold enough that i put on my jacket. a few girls came out of the house wrapped in blankets (including anya, who also sported a tricorne hat3, a very washington-crossing-the-delaware look). when it became dark, everyone piled inside the house, where we had cake. dave wailed away on the piano while rob strummed on a guitar. some frat guys showed up (at one point one of them even turned his baseball cap backwards) talking incessantly4; i excused myself, found rob, and told him i was leaving.
it was colder than i realized, and i shivered during the whole ride. i could've sworn the light in bram's bedroom was on but when i walked towards the house it was dark again. i thought it was unusual that the water pressure in the bathroom seemed weak, but i figured it was just because i just flushed the toilet. later when i watched the news i saw the big story: a major water main had burst open in cambridge (at broadway and trowbridge), causing disruption in services for 75% of all its customers.
Human Sexual Response - "Jackie Onassis"
1 matt seemed to know a lot about barbecue, testing the heat with his hand (he said it was much too hot, not optimal for cooking) but nobody worried about that, we're not barbecue scientists. he also decided to put the cover on the grill when we were all standing around it trying to keep warm. later i saw him kicking a ball against a wall, like a truculent child who everyone ignored.
2 not all turkish are oglus, i got austria confused with australia, the french love their wild mushrooms just as much as russians, and the belarusian girl who showed up in the evening thought that she thought she was the best dressed person at the party.
4 i think he arrived drunk, but that didn't stop him from having another beer. i was talking with another guy and he just sort of butt into our conversation and kept on talking and wouldn't stop: about his recent trip to amsterdam with his girlfriend, visiting the anne frank museum, riding bicycles, how everyone strives to visit london, etc. the guy i was talking to earlier was more polite; the first change i had i got up and left.