My softball team! Great bunch of guys that they are.
All day long at work, I was dreading the coming battle with my father. He'd beg. He'd plead. He'd lay on the guilt like cream chipped beef on toast. Maybe I'd relent and spend the next week being all sullen and resentful. Maybe I'd stick to my guns and go and feel rotten.
During the day, I got to spend some more time up in Christmas. As always, it restored my soul. Although it was a different experience. Since Christmas is strictly a "While Supplies Last!" affair at Ho(t)me(n) Depot, I ended up disappointing as many folks as those whose Christmas Dreams I managed to make come true. ("Ornament hooks? Sorry to say we're fresh out.") I clocked out at 3 p.m. and headed for home. After giving Faithful Companion a walk, I took a two hour long nap (right on schedule!). When I got up, feeling refreshed, I decided to have it out with my father. Only having slept on it, I took a different approach...
"Dad, my softball team is having a Christmas Party tonight, and I'm going. I've heard the weather report. Most of the trip is highway driving, and the salt trucks are out there already. I'm a safe and careful driver. I'll be heading home early enough so I'll miss the worst of it. I'll be back safe and sound around midnight."
That took the wind out of his sails! He could only respond with a paltry "Do you have to go? I wish you wouldn't. But okay."
After fixing some hot dogs, I hit the road.
The drive out to my former hometown of Beautiful Jersey City went off without a hitch and I arrived right on time. And ooooh, the party was good! We feasted on shrimp cocktail and pigs in the blanket and scallops wrapped in bacon. We all got each other caught up on what we've been up to, and I think I impressed them all with my tales of Ho(t)me(n) Depot.
For no good reason, I was reminded of when I was a hotline crisis counselor for the New York City Gay And Lesbian Anti-Violence Project about a million years ago. Most of the calls we received were, in fact, from gay and lesbian survivors of bias related violence, domestic violence and such. But we also received calls from people asking for bar recommendations, complaining that they couldn't meet anybody, and, believe it or not, the occasional jerk off call.
That's right, jerk off calls!
And suddenly I was reminded of one of those jerk off calls. This guy called and said that he was at what he called a "gay party." He was verrrry upset, speaking in whispered tones, explaining that he had snuck away to the bedroom. He felt that he was in danger because everyone at the "gay party" was taking off their pants. (This, apparently, is what usually happened at "gay parties.") Unfortunately, as this was his first "gay party," he didn't know about the taking-off-the-pants thing, and he was wearing women's underwear. He was sure that if all those gays found out he was wearing women's underwear, they'd promptly gang rape him.
I think I advised him to not take off his pants, explaining that he had a terrible rash or something.
"But if I don't take my pants off, they'll gang rape me!" he protested.
I had to admit he had a point there. He was pretty much stuck. Either way he was going to get gang raped. "But," I pointed out, "what do you expect, going to a 'gay party' after all?"
So here I was, all these years later, at a "gay party." No one suggested we all take our pants off. Not that I would have been in any danger of gang rape since I was going commando as always and not women's underpants. But even absent the possibility of gang rape, those "gay parties" are a whole lotta fun. The pigs-in-the-blanket alone were worth the trip.
At 10:30, I had to hit the road. Some sort of precipitation had started to fall. I took it slow heading west on I-78, finishing up my latté and taking hits off my Rosenberger's Iced Tea to stay alert. On the highway, I had no problem, even though I did switch up to four wheel drive. Unfortunately, four wheel drive means I could see the needle on my gas gauge moving to the right. I was worried about winding, narrow River Road, and then the steep hill coming up from the river I'd need to take to get home.
But, I'm a safe and careful driver. Taking it slow, I got home just fine.