Thinking late thoughts

And so, Winter Ball has passed.

For one glorious night, two hundred glamorous twenty-somethings descended on a mansion in the Fremont hills. Months of preparation, of plotting and designing and planning, came to fruition.

There was a quiet moment, around 8:00 on Saturday night, when I stood in the marble entryway staring into the rain, when I worried. I waited, with my guest list and a glass of Glenlivet. My suit was pressed, and I tried not to let the sleepless week show in my posture. For a moment, I feared things would fail. Even saints have their doubts, I suppose.

Then a car came winding up the drive. And another.

And another.

And another.

I smiled.

——————

The Japra Mahal did a lot of the work for us. Palatial in a tasteful way, the place has an air of class and taste that puts it above the new-money Orange County opulence of the neighboring estates. Wide eyed and wrestling to get their smiles under control, our guests wiped their feet at the door, and marveled. I waited inside, enjoying their reactions, shaking hands with those guests I didn’t know and shouting and hugging with those I did. Timidly, with just a hint of that kid-in-a-candy store look they wore at the door, our guests proliferated, exploring the open areas of the house. Downstairs, our DJ’s started the music, filling the mahogany ballroom with hip hop and house. The vast array of alcohol on the bar, purchased and towed from Costco with much difficulty, looked like something confiscated from a pirate ship. In the north wing, the mellower crowd enjoyed the game room and sat around the indoor pool, sipping martinis and laughing through the steam.

Pictures. Banners. A VIP room. Commemorative shot glasses. Glorious, glorious hors d’oeuvres. A pool. Two DJ’s. Open bar. House wine. A guest book. Organized parking. Two hundred guests.

A coat check.

A fucking coat check.

The Ball had everything. Everything.

The scope, the audacity of the thing still takes my breath away. Such an event, begun on a whim and orchestrated by a few gutsy kids with a taste for grandeur.

I suppose, in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t quite the undertaking it seems now. Alexander the Great had conquered the world by the time he was 25. We did something big, though, something big with no dead Persians and lots of free booze.

I greeted for two hours, then closed the front and headed for the party proper.

——————-

I moved through the crowds at full tilt, for most of the night. Defending the house, shaking hands, kissing cheeks, appeasing. Things got beautifully hectic there for a while, beautifully hectic indeed. I rousted people from the VIP room several times, slamming doors and shouting stay the fuck out to various close friends and loved ones. I wandered the halls, introducing my varied and splintered factions of friends to one another before hustling off to put out another fire.

Candace sprinted by in her bikini, giggling fiendishly and bound for parts unknown.

The pace quickened.

Someone snagged me as I walked by and yanked me into the upstairs bathroom. Shak’s date had fallen victim, horribly, to the cinderblock punch downstairs. Who knows how many glasses she had, but she was spewing like a geyser when I went through that door. Shak had her propped up on the toilet while Galo and Bianca mopped at the gallons of yack splattered across the marble floor, holding paper towels and their noses.

“What the fuck happened in here? What did you feed that girl, Shak?”
“Burblebrrrr WHERE’S SHAKIB!” The sticky, acrid mess on the toilet shrieked, her fancy black dress a disaster of matted hair and bile.
Bianca and I mopped away at the disgusting scene, jabbering at each other in Portuguese. What a way to enter the American social scene; poor Bianca, fresh off the boat from Brazil two weeks ago and is stuck cleaning barf off some train-wreck American girl at her first state-side party. She bore it well, though; that indefatigable Brazilian maternal instinct overcoming her desire to keep her own glistening evening-wear clean and enjoy the night. That’s some silver star shit, cleaning up someone who doesn’t even speak your language.

“Blaaarff cough cough WHERE’S SHAKIB”
“I’m here, I’m here.” He says, holding her head up.
Bianca wipes at the girl’s face.

Welcome to America, honey.

A knock at the door.

“Is Trevor in there?”

“Sup.”

“Some dude’s in the fountain.”

Fuck.

“Y’all got this under control? I’ll be back.”

Off I go.

——————–

Most of the party is a blur. Not for the same reason most parties I attend are a blur, but a blur just the same.

Beautiful, beautiful girls in nice dresses. I don’t think I blinked for several hours, lest I miss something. That classy look is so rare nowadays, so exotic, that my compatriots and I were powerless against it, reduced to mumbling children despite our ties and sportcoats. 23 is a hell of an age for a lady; I worry that it’s only downhill from here. God help me if they get any better.

I took a couple shots to calm my nerves, and headed for the stage to announce the king and queen. Microphoneless and shouting, I thanked our hosts, our DJ’s, our bartenders, and various other involved parties.

For the record, Ken Hoo was the king, and Alicia Cheng was the queen. They both seemed pleased, rightfully so.

I got down off the stage, hugged some more friends, and headed back upstairs, taking three at a time. Patrick, in all his wasted glory, chided me for not choosing myself. Sorry to disappoint you homes, I’ll pick me next time. Various lustful Asian girls soon made him forget all about me. Booya. Deepa’s sleazebag, jerkoff cousins shouted at me to find them some girls, and I politely suggested they go fuck themselves. They missed the spirit in which this was offered, and laughed. Candace skittered by again, bikinied, shouting for Grace. I nodded to the bartenders, and tossed them a thumbs up. All is well.

Let’s go see if that asshole is back in the fountain again.

——————-

The crowd began to thin around 2. Most of my night was spent saying hello and goodbye, with very little actual interaction in between the two, and I was sad to see my long-distance guests leave before I had a chance to rightly attend to them. Forgive me, friends. I was doing the host thing. We’ll catch up later.

We rounded up the stragglers from the ballroom, and I rousted the huge Korean guy from the VIP room again. I don’t know what homeboy got into, but he’d been asleep at various uncomfortable locations since about 9:15. I finally demanded he go home, and some friend helped the drunken narcoleptic out to a car. A sort of crushed calm descended on the main house, and I sat for the first time in many hours. Resting on the stairs in front of a six foot tall bronze statue of Ganesh, I sipped scotch from the bottle and loosened my tie. The many-armed elephant god and I shared the moment of peace, and contemplation.

“Everyone’s headed for the pool, G.” I said, offering the statue some drink. He made no visible response. He was a statue, so I sort of expected that.
“Was it a triumph? Was it a flop? I saw a lot of smiles, Ganesh. The house isn’t burned down, we didn’t run out of booze or food. No deaths, no fights, no hard drugs. What more could we ask for, right?”
I sipped.
“I think we did alright, man. I think we did alright.”

I wandered the ballroom, littered with empty cups and half-eaten cookies, one last time. The bustling, tiny Mexican bartenders and I talked for a minute in the light of the wine cellar as they battled the refuse. I headed upstairs.

Passing the elephantine statue again, I paused to finish the bottle.

“Fuck it Ganesh, my job is done. Let’s go get drunk.”

——————

Suit off and trunks on, I sprinted and flipped into the steaming pool. A pasty honkey I recognized as one of the random Google employees present surfaced behind me, bleeding from nose and forehead. Dazed as much by his half bottle of jager as by his high velocity encounter with the concrete pool bottom, he talked to me vacantly for a few moments before letting me help him out of the pool and into some waiting friend’s arms. Cleaning up that one finally mess, I declared my supervision officially complete, and did a kegstand backflop into the pool. I spent the next few hours in the water, in the company of the conscious members of the planning crew, making landfall only to refill my cup from the almost untouched keg of C- or to flip from the diving board.

We partied till dawn, as befits people like us.

——————

Thank yous:

Thanks Alex and Adrian, our fabulous DJ’s. You guys did an excellent job, especially considering the poor musical taste of the crowd. Whatever whining you heard, you both did a great job. You can bring a horse to funk but you can’t make him boogie.

Thanks to Alcorn, Lilley, Candace, Kim, Deepa, Jay, and Regina, our Beautiful and Talented Executive Planning Committee. You guys get credit for everything, because you did everything.

More specifically, thanks to Alcorn for the banner, the VIP room, the shot glasses and buttons, and the parking.

Thanks to Candace for inordinate amounts of toil on the delicious food, and for being the first one to jump in the pool (approximately 20 minutes after the party started).

Thanks to Kim and Deepa for booze management.

Thanks to Regina for fabulous decorations.

Thanks to all of you for everything, you all fucking rule my world.

Thanks to Candace’s mom for lending us all that shit.

Thanks to Bianca and Wes for helping clean up that chick.

Thanks to all the bouncers for looking so intimidating nobody dared cause any problems.

Thanks to the Japra family, for obvious reasons.

Thanks to Ms N. Pants, my patient and forgiving date, for tolerating my constant absence due to host duties.

Thanks to Patrick, Matt, and Mike B. for getting wasted with class.

Thanks to the bartenders.

Thanks to all my friends, especially those who drove from far off places like L.A. and SLO.

Thanks to Nancy and Shak for pointing out every little spot I missed while mopping the whole fucking ballroom floor the day after by my fucking self.

Thanks to Lilley for finding my coat.

Thanks to everyone who donated, and double thanks to everyone who RSVP’ed on time, unlike the rest of you ignorant feebs that can’t follow easy ass directions.

Thanks to Galo and Lilley for letting me whoop their asses and go 20-0 in Tekken Tag on cleanup day, thus reclaiming my title as best Tekken player that has ever lived.

Thanks to whoever drove all those wasted people home safely.

Thanks to Ganesh, for giving me someone to drink with.

Thanks to all 200 of you who made it out.

Thanks.

I’ll see you fucks next year.

-T.

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