Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Let's see...have I done anything redeeming since then...I left the front lawn sprinklers on for five hours and about fifty thousand frogs showed up. It's been a good week so far, yeah. The best I have to say for myself is that I didn't shoot any families.
Monday, August 30, 2004
WHOOOOOOOOOO so good
Friday, August 27, 2004
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Saturday, August 14, 2004
I met Shannon at Grass last night, that new nightclub with the sod floor and eleven-dollar drinks. She looked good, and she already had a cocktail, so I got an Amstel from the bar and we sat in a quietish corner to talk. She's training for a marathon, she likes that convertible Jaguar, she's looking for a bigger place, she's not much for cooking, etc. She looked great, in some new jeans and a black turtleneck sweater with fresh running shoes. I had on a Livestrong jersey and olive cargo shorts with flipflops, playing it upscale casual. Not that it mattered. All she could talk about was her law career plans and different countries she had visited that I had not visited, like France.
About two and a half Amstels in (I remember looking at the meniscus on #3 and thinking HELP) a few of her friends showed up, probably on cue. It wasn't any of her friends from Ray's, it was a bunch of Jennifer Aniston clones and even a couple guys in blue work shirts and loosened ties. It slowly dawned on me that I had no business there, particularly when the guys shook my hand with those no-contact eyes that say "I already forgot you." I went to the can, drained my beer, tipped the attendant a buck, and ducked through a thick bar crowd on my way out. My last glance was of her completely immersed in her Banana Republic set, giggling and looking healthy.
I shuffled pretty despondently over to Ray's, pitying myself for being the object of a rich girl's slumming. I was pretty sour, so I just hung out in the kitchen and had some Cookie Crisp. Later I went into the living room and tried to read a coffee table book about limousines, but just got depressed and went home.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
TÉODOR: My Bloody Valentine!
T: Hey, this is Téodor, from Ray's party?
T: The flaming robot?
S: Oh! Téodor! Hi! I was just...how are you?
T: Good! I've been meaning to call you, but things have been—
S: Oh, I know. This week has been ridiculous.
T: I've got this client from hell right now—
S: I know. I'm prepping all these cases for—
T: Prepping cases?
S: Oh, sorry. Yeah, I'm at my uncle's law firm this summer.
S: Yeah, I finish law school this year.
T: Wow! Where at?
S: Hunter. I—
T: What branch of law are you into?
S: Oh, you know, media law...film industry, music, that sort of stuff.
T: Nice. So, I—
S: Do you—do you want to meet for drinks on Friday? I've got a bachelorette party at 7, but maybe we could hook up at Grass at...hold on...6?
T: Sure! I'll...I'll see you there.
S: Great! Bye!
[she hangs up first]
So Grass is this trendy new nightclub in the Underground. They have an entirely new sod floor installed every night, and you sit on big picnic blankets in largeish groups. Good thing I skinned Ray this week, I read that the drinks are like eleven bucks each.
Monday, August 09, 2004
What with the sore legs my downswing weight transfer was a little behind, and I was skulling it something awful, hitting the thinnest tee shots you ever saw. It didn't help that Ray had decided to play the entire round in traditional attire, including tasseled spikes, argyle knee socks, baggy knickers, sweater vest, and tam-o'-shanter. He was even calling his clubs his "mashies," "niblicks" and "spoons," sort of at random. He did at least manage to call his putter his "putting cleek," though, which was historically accurate for his getup. I guess he'd been trying to learn more of the history of the game as a way of lowering his score, which definitely doesn't work.
Ray insisted on driving the cart, which was fine with me, except that he kept dipping into this cooler full of icy Amstel Lights and by about the ninth hole he was pretty saucered. On the way between the 9th green and 10th tee the scorecard blew out of the cart and he said the second half of the round would just be "drinkin' golf." That was fine with me, as I was pretty parched and hadn't thought to bring any water. Plus, I was already up $580, not bad for a couple hours' work. He handed me a cracked Amstel and we clinked.
Alcohol definitely doesn't do anything for my swing. You'd think it would smooth things out but it just throws my timing off. It did wonders for Ray, though. By about the 12th hole he was swinging like Bobby Jones, and making some beautiful shots. That lasted for about one hole, at which point he started having to close one eye and stick his tongue out every time he tried to focus on the ball.
Then things got ugly. After the 13th tee there's a big downhill slope that leads into a lake, and at the top of it he looked at me and said, "Think I can jump this?" I said no, because there was no ramp, just a slope leading down into a lake.
"I think I can jump this!" he said, laughing.
Before I knew what was happening, he had floored it and we were shooting down the hill directly at the lake. There was no physical way for us to achieve loft and fly over it. We were going too fast to jump out, and pretty soon we were going too fast to turn or hit the brakes.
Needless to say, we did not manage to jump the lake. We slammed into the water and flew over the hood at about fifty miles an hour. While we were under I looked over at him—through the murky water he was looking at me with a big smile and yelling, "Let's look for some shrimps!"
After we pushed the cart out of the water and let it dry for a while, we got it started and I drove us back to the clubhouse. Next time we rent carts, I'm getting my own.
Sunday, August 08, 2004
I guess it's not too much of an a-hole move to call her Tuesday evening. I think that's the logic. You want to call early enough in the week where she hasn't solidified her weekend plans, but not like 8am Monday morning, like you're standing in a glass tower with a headset mic, looking out over the Seattle skyline while putting her in your Palm. Tuesday at, say, 8pm. Okay, it's a date then! To make a contrived phone call.
What else...this morning Philippe had the hiccups so I made him a glass of sugar water, but that just made him a hyper hiccuper, so we practiced running around the yard while holding our breath (I find that can work, too). Three times while we did sprints across the lawn my shorts fell down. I'm not really a belt guy but I think it might be time. Maybe I've been eating too well lately...after winning all that money from Ray (with more on the way tomorrow) I started experimenting with all kinds of different meats. Squab, quail, Niman Ranch beef and pork, lobsters, whole baked fish, oysters, stone crab, even Kobe...yeah, looking over that grocery list I've been eating too well lately. Only, I don't feel like it. I'd better start running again, I don't want Shannon to see a big Newman coming at her next time we meet.
Saturday, August 07, 2004
We made nice chitchat for a while but then her friend's boyfriend broke up with her over her cell phone and she had to go console, but we promised we'd talk more in a little bit.
I chilled with Cornelius and shot some pool. He's a wizard, and I didn't stand half a chance against him, but it was fun to watch the ways he chose to win. Some games he'd play only double-bank shots, some games he'd use heavy English on every shot. He was pretty glum though and didn't seem to be having much fun.
Maybe an hour later the festivities were going full-on and Ray got up onto this little stage he had set up, with a huge Phil Collins poster behind it, like two stories tall. He had one of those headset mics and yelled, "and now then for the main attraction! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome...Phil Collins!" Shannon and I found each other in the crowd and stood side by side. “Can’t Hurry Love” fired up on the PA.
Then he pulled a curtain aside and this terrifying creature stumbled out. It had a suit on, Elephant Man type head and hands, and it acted like it had just been maced. It was slapping its own face like crazy, and pretty soon it fell on its side and tried to tear its head off. Then it started smoking and shooting sparks and erupted into flames. First I shielded Shannon from the sparks, and when they subsided I ran up onto the stage, tore down the curtain, and rolled the creature in it until the flames died.
It turned out to be one of those Honda robots, thankfully, but the party kind of died down after that. As Shannon’s friends were loading up to go, she kissed me on the cheek and wrote her number on my hand. I’m flying pretty high right now, and not entirely sure what my follow-up act should be.
Friday, August 06, 2004
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Ray called me up around noon and said we had a tee time in an hour, and that I should come over for lunch first. Not wanting to miss another round at Seven Pines, I wrapped up some tablature I'd been writing down and hoofed it over there.
Waterbury had made broiled salmon with puréed peas, which normally I wouldn't be so hot about but the fish was incredibly fresh. Apparently Ray's doing a lot of research about salmon right now: he had all these maps pinned to the wall, with different e-mail printouts connected by yarn to the maps. He also had a bunch of ichthyology books he'd just gotten from Amazon sitting around. Anyhow, lunch was great and then we headed to the course. He even gave me a nice set of head covers for my woods, which matched my bag.
We started on the back nine this time, hole #10 being a crazy 4-par that dog legs around a lake. Ten bucks was the wager, since he was feeling bold after some lessons he'd taken. There was a stiff breeze going, so I hit a nice 1-iron under it, up to the lay-up area. Ray has low irons in his bag, but he didn't even look at them. He went right for that oversized driver of his, took his stomach-turning swing, and managed to loft the thing pretty high. The wind caught it and carried it right to the middle of the lake. He instinctively went into his pocket for a mulligan, but then remembered there was money on the table, so we heaved off.
He took relief where his ball went in, and slapped a gross fairway wood about ten feet from the green. My second shot landed in a pot bunker behind the green, and I’m bad out of sand, so it looked like he might actually take the ten.
He set up with his pitching wedge and went into his pre-shot wiggle/coma routine. Then, to my surprise, he pulled the club back in slow motion, taking a full backswing. He did the downswing in slow motion too, and chipped the ball about two feet. He even followed through in slow motion, including a slow-motion “aaaaawwww craaaaaap!” He repeated the routine until he was on the green. I don’t know what he thinks his instructor is telling him to do, but it can’t be that.
We’ll go over his putting at some future date, but suffice it to say he’s doing that thing now where he puts both index fingers down the shaft. Anyhow, I was three over for the round, owing to the harsh wind, and up $1190. Waterbury made us salmon pasties with chips for dinner, and we watched Braveheart. He started to watch it again, but I wanted to get back to my tablature.
Sunday, August 01, 2004
Ray's one of those guys who has those graphite-shafted, perimeter-weighted, custom irons, and those grapefruit-sized titanium Big Bertha metal woods, and the high-tech putters you can only order out of like Playboy. Naturally he has one of those gi-normous white leather Ping bags that looks like it should be in low-earth orbit, and all the little plastic iron covers and the obnoxious two-tone Ping balls. My set looked pretty poor compared to his, with my simple old purple canvas bag, old Wilson Staffs (they were my dad's), and actual wooden woods. When he saw that I just had an old tube sock over my driver, he went silent for a little while, like he was worried the guys at Seven Pines wouldn't let me on the course.
I wasn't expecting him to want to bet on the round, so it was lucky I still had a little roll that Aunt Brezna had slipped into my pocket while I was visiting her. I was a little worried on the first tee, since I can't afford to lose much, and by the looks of it my annual budget was probably what he spent on lessons every week.
Anyhow, on the first tee he won the toss and set up to go (we agreed to a starting wager of five bucks). It took him maybe thirty seconds of ass wiggling, foot shuffling, and mini-knee bends to even get the driver head down to ground level. Then he stood perfectly still for what seemed like five and a half minutes. Just when I was wondering if I should go over and check his pulse, he launched into the grossest swing I have ever seen in my life. His head bobbed, his shoulders were all over the place, he didn't turn his hips, his left foot came off the ground three times...the overall effect was that of a desperate person trying to chop down a giant sequoia with one axe swing. Fortunately, the club head being the size of a shoebox, he made contact with the ball and several decades of golf club science sent it more or less straight down the fairway, a good two hundred and fifty yards.
I followed up with a slight fade on a decent two iron, and we were off. I was a little nervous heading into the green (Hole 1 at Seven Pines is a long uphill par 4), thinking that I stood to lose some big money. When he was setting up for his second shot I slyly counted the roll in my pocket and figured out what I could afford to bet each hole.
His second swing was as ugly as the first, and despite a fifty-pound divot the ball landed just a few feet off the green, about pin-high. I matched up with another long iron, about five feet from his. I didn't like how things were turning out at all.
No amount of perimeter weighting and "Sensicore" shaft technology can make up for a lack of finesse around the green, however, and Ray lacked finesse in spades. I think I watched him chip over the green three times before one beleaguered ball bounced off a bench and came to rest ten feet from the pin. My lead growing, I rolled a pitched 8-iron to within three feet and marked my ball. Seven putts later, Ray was down, for an even octuple-bogey, and I was down in par. He huffed something about "gettin' the kinks out" as we headed to the next hole and he handed me a five.
I'll spare you the abominations Ray showered over the course for the rest of the day, and observe only that the angrier he gets, the more he likes to bet. I cleared six hundred bucks off him, and a great dinner at the clubhouse besides (bacon-wrapped filets mignon with blue cheese sauce, turned potatoes, baby carrots, that sort of stuff).
Surprisingly, he wanted to play again later in the week, so I'm down. I suppose that'll give him time to take some short-game lessons.