January 07, 2009
and heaven knows i'm miserable now

So, I've been putting off marking ever since I returned to work, as I binged on marking in the days leading up to my return. The problem with my self-voted vacation is that I had even more marking to finish that was sidelined by a combination of procrastination and my grandmother's stroke. My classes want mark updates and I have none to give. Today I decided that I had to apply the Pavlovian screws, and deny myself social knitting tonight if I couldn't mark at least one set of essays. Earnestly, I opened my folder. Frustratedly I realized that I had no marking sheets. The relevant file is at home. I can't mark. Darn.

I'm stuck with rifling through Ravelry for a carrier bag for my new SIGG bottle and a suitable present for Hestia's upcoming birthday. I'm thinking that 4 should be the year of GIR.

Speaking of goth geekiness, I suppose I must at some point face the last night of Savage Garden. For some prosaic reason, Pale is closing the club. (I choose to believe that they're trying to hush up a new virulent social disease that somehow mutated in the toilets, or that Pale has to return to England to apprentice to the last Master Cooper before he dies.) I tried to make it out to the last retro night, as I'm not keen on the industrial vs. really industrial playlist in Revolution vs. Machine on Saturday nights. (Or as Zub put it, the really industrial room sucks but in a more pretentious way - a cybersuck.) Unfortunately, that weekend the heavens dumped a tonne of snow between me and Retro Night, and I was forced to curse my luck loudly and often. Stacy, who made it out that night, tells me that Pale finally achieved his dream of the post-apocalyptic nightclub, as the Garden was the only thing open and thus the only thing packed with people in the still, snowy streets.

I met up with Zub & Stacy at their house and had a lovely late dinner before we began primping. I was in my Classic Gothgirl Clothes i.e. the Dress I bought when I turned 21, the Fishnets my grandmother gave me when I was 20 and going to the Rocky Horror for the first time, and the Fluevog 8-holes Mason gave me last Mother's Day. Stacy, in her rush to get out, forgot the first rule of dressing: boots, then corset. Zub worried that he had a spiked pompadour, but I assured him that he just looked like his DNA had been crossed with a pufferfish. Very cyber. As Stacy made herself beautiful, I knit and Zub distracted me with an audio tour of his cracking joints. This pretty much set the tone for the evening.

We got to the club shortly after 10 and were confronted by the First and Last Line Up to the Garden I Have Ever and Will Ever Stand In. Twenty minutes of sub-zero temperatures, speculating on the luck of those who intended to "drop by" later and watching the cyber bikini bints was enough to dampen our spirits, and we slithered up the stairs subdued (if you can call such a motley assemblage of elders "subdued"). Lotwyr, Monstre & Dav were already there, which was good because we saw very few familiar faces until we'd cleared the door. Once inside, I felt like I was in the middle of an old-fashioned anatomy textbook with layers of clear overlays to show the blood, the musculature, the bones. Instead of tissues, I saw all the modifications of the past 11 years jostling uneasily with the doomed reality. The DJ platform was the raised place where Dav, Anne, Sheila & I had eaten candy for hours. And farther back toward the bathrooms was where we'd sat the night Dirk wore his 3-piece seersucker. The cage was tiny, half the size of the place where a variety of amateurs would try their luck in spooky cage dancing. The paintings on the walls were different from the concentration camp silhouettes that seemed to move when it was late and you'd been dancing in the strobes for hours without a break. The front section, in its majestic cybersuckage, was just wrong. No pool tables with players to annoy the hell out of everyone not playing. The autopsy table that replaced our own personal coatcheck in 2001 was the dj booth. The booths where I'd met so many people were full of strangers and off-limits. The view from the front window burned down last summer. Most of my friends have moved on or couldn't get in. The place was too full to navigate and I didn't know enough of the bodies I rubbed against.

It was something less than tragic, something more than portentous. It made me cranky. Dav, too.

And I was weighted with the unacknowledged guilt of my grandmother's stroke, compelled to share, quick to deny feeling and yet anxious about something I couldn't get a grip on. I cried in frustration. I became disconsolate and tried to find a hug. My claustrophobia kicked in (or as I think of it, agoraphobia because agora means market and this was panic in the midst of a meat market). Loftwyr and Josh found me a wall to lean against, and that helped. Josh also helped by starting a conversation about Mason, and if that weren't enough, helped me to jump the girls' bathroom line by using his bouncer skills to wave me into the men's when it was clear. I hadn't realized that a men's bathroom could be that bad without being attached to a gas station. In any case, I was glad for the help, as I always love to feel like I'm part of some secret elite.

Which is, I suppose, what we were all mourning in our imperfect ways that night: we were saying goodbye to membership in a tiny, hidden circle of those in the know. Those who knew how to get Pale to play a request and not laugh in one's face (and those who can take the second in good humour.) Those who know how much to tip the bartenders, and how to get out of Doug's way without being obvious. Those with the manners to greet Pale & Brenda on every visit, if only with a wave, because that's what you do when you visit someone's place.

And despite the lows I felt that night, I'm still happy that they let us come over so many times, for so many years.

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