Life: It’s all about the afterparty.
This year’s Winter X-Games have come and gone. H and I were treated to the Aspen Effect* and invited to attend a private party halfway up the mountain, directly adjacent to the slope style course.
The party was held at a $22 million dollar spec home that was still under construction. The hosts offered food, drinks and live music, and were genuinely gracious folks. H and I hung out with the kids, made fun of the people in pink furs, and took off by 5.
Contrast to 3 years ago, when I was washing dishes for the same event. On breaks away from the power washer I’d climb atop the refrigerated semi and watch the slope style course from down below. Once the place shut down, our boss took us out to drinks in Aspen. We crawled the mall with visiting Argentines and some folks from Venezuela, and by the end of the night/morning, we exercised the judicious revocation of driving privileges for all involved.
Same event, two parties. Having seen both sides now, I can honestly say that Street trumps Sheik. It’s shared misery that makes celebration notable – the sense that, as a gang, we pulled off something incredible, so bartender, bring another round.
I’m reminded of the Ren Fest afterparties. The patrons leave, the sun goes down, and suddenly that friendly Medieval-esque village takes on a decidedly adult tone. Leather jackets come out, bodices are loosed, the jokes get bawdier (as if that were possible) and for a few short hours, the elevation of hell is raised up a few feet.
For better or worse, my days as a dishwasher are largely behind me now. I can’t lay claim to that fine and pleasant misery, nor the collective triumph that follows. And as writers, we largely work alone, and without clear demarcations of success. (By the time any printed word hits the bookstores you’ve already long since fallen out of love with the work.)
There must be some way of seeking out and celebrating shared experiences as writers, but I’m not sure what it is yet. Cons, to a small degree fulfill this purpose, but you can’t (or shouldn’t) forget that you’re constantly in the company of hard working customers, and hard-eyed employers. I’m sure something will come to me before August.
Or maybe I just need to get a job washing dishes again.
*Aspen Effect: The phenomena of dirt poor folks enjoying the privilege of the wealthy, thanks to geographic proximity.