Let Him Eat Cake

I heard about a party near the UCSD campus, but because of other things I had going on that night, I didn't make it there until 11:00 p.m. I found the street easily enough, but parking was difficult to find. I had to park far away, and when I walked to where I thought the street was, I realized I was lost. I walked around with a bottle of wine I brought for Wes's birthday until I met a guy walking toward me. I showed him my directions and asked if he knew were it was. "This looks like the party I'm going to," he said, and we ended up getting lost together, going down several streets before running into four women who knew where the party was. While we walked up the stairs, we told the women about how we got lost and how weird we thought it was that we ran into each other. The women didn't seem to care. They talked about how they weren't going to get as drunk as they did last time. Another said she was looking forward to dancing and that she heard they were going to have a DJ.

There were about 100 pairs of shoes by the front door and a sign that read, "No shoes, to protect the carpet!" I thought how moms always tell their kids to wear clean underwear in case they're in a car accident, but they never warn them to wear socks without holes in case they're at a party where they are told to take their shoes off.

There were a handful of UCSD students at the party, but most of the guests were researchers at the university. There was a diversity of races -- I met people from Vietnam, Germany, Argentina, Denmark, Canada, Italy, Singapore, Iran, London, Japan, China, and when I went on the patio to have a cigar, I talked to a black dude from Temecula. He told me about the good clubs in Temecula to see live music, but when I told him that I didn't care for jazz, he tried to convince me to still check the venues out. Another guy, who had been a music promoter in New York, jumped into the conversation. I asked him why he was here, and he told me he took a job as a scientist at UCSD. A woman approached us and introduced herself. When she said her name was Marsha, Wes said "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha," mimicking a line from The Brady Bunch.

When I got the chance to talk with Wes, I said, "I'm surprised you're white." He laughed. "Yeah, we got a good mix here, huh?" I said, "You're making everyone take off their shoes, but I notice there's some cake on the floor over there." He said, "I noticed some blue food coloring on the carpet, too." When I mentioned that he had an impressive collection of classic movies above his TV, he excitedly started talking about them. I said, "You know who you sound like?" He said, "Yeah. Quentin Tarantino. I hear that all the time.

"I have to go downstairs and dance," Wes said. "I mean, I'm paying a fortune for the go-go dancers and DJs, so I might as well dance a little bit." I grabbed a drink and followed him.

I talked to a woman from France and asked her about parties there. She said that some are similar to this one, but that there are those with "a lot of talking and good wine and cheeses." She said that she'd been to parties in France that went on for two days.

I talked to a guy who said that he was a photographer. He and I talked about concert photography. He was giving me good advice on how to best get a shot of the go-go dancers, but he couldn't help me figure out how to do it without the dancers thinking I was a pervert.

I had to walk back through the kitchen to leave the dance area in the garage. In the kitchen I met a tall Middle-Eastern woman, and we ended up conversing on a variety of topics. When I pointed out that they had three different cakes, she went over to the tables to grab a piece and brought me one. I thanked her, and when I set my drink down to take a bite, I noticed she was gone. The place was so packed, I couldn't see where she went.

Wes came into the kitchen for a drink, and we started talking again. He told me about the hookah pipes out on the patio, and I followed him out there. Two guests were having an interesting debate about smoking. One thought smoking hookahs was worse for your lungs because of all the flavored tobaccos. The other person said they are better because they are filtered and use water. I've heard the latter. It smelled like raspberry and apple on the patio.

A Vietnamese woman out there was acting crazy. She talked loud and waved her arms. A guy talking to her was trying to get her to speak with less accent. "Try it. Just say 'Ricardo.' Say it ten times. Try it." She'd repeat it loudly. He threw other phrases at her, but she said, "I'm tired of this crap."

A woman came up to me and said, "Are you the reporter? Can you put in your story that lab techs and graduate students should be paid excessively for their distinct contributions to the advancement of science and humanity?" Everyone laughed.

I asked one of the students from Argentina why she didn't study in Argentina. "Science there is terrible. The salaries are so low."

One woman who had had a little too much to drink said, "Can you write that the Italian guys all have really dark straight hair on their heads, but they have really curly pubes? And that the great thing about America is that we can get beer from all over the world here."

Wes heard this and told me that when his friend from Germany arrived, the first American beer he had was Pabst Blue Ribbon. "The guy didn't know that is the worst beer you can have."

I headed out hoping that my shoes would still be there and wondering how many people had their feet stepped on. As I was leaving, I saw the Middle-Eastern woman who ditched me in the kitchen and said, "You gave me a piece of cake and then you disappeared. Is that your move for getting rid of someone?" She smiled and said, "You can't complain. I left you with cake."

It was a good point.

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.

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