Independence Day 2019


So when I looked back at my blog post and photos from last year's 4th of July, I had noted I did not get to bed until around midnight. This was after packing up after fireworks that started at 10:20 ended fifteen or twenty minutes later; Shobhit and I walked home, and then I edited and uploaded photos before getting ready for bed. But, last night? Being at a party in someone's apartment, getting out of there very soon after the fireworks ended was much more difficult; we actually drove home there in traffic that was very heavy for about half the distance; and then, after editing and uploading photos (and one video) and then getting ready for bed, this year I was not asleep last night until 12:26. And Shobhit was already in bed and sound asleep well before then, but he has no such concerns about photos. I suppose without the photos, I still would have been in bed much closer to midnight.

In any case, I am running on a whopping 4 hours and 39 minutes of sleep today. And I have to say, I am most grateful that, next year at least, Independence Day falls on a weekend with a day off the next day. I'm realizing right now that next year being Leap Year is fucking up what otherwise would have been two years with the Fourth on a weekend. But, noooo -- thanks to getting a February 29 in 2020, instead of next year's Independence Day falling on a Friday before having it fall on Saturday in 2021, next year it skips right to the Fourth being on Saturday. By 2021 it will already be on a day where I have to be at work the next day. Damn it! Oh well, I'll enjoy the freedom to sleep in next year at least.

Of course, I could always just taken the 5th off of work if I really wanted. But I'd rather spend my vacation time on other things; using it for July 5 seems like a waste.

EDIT: HOLD UP WAIT A MINUTE! Why did I space this very important detail? We get holiday pay for Independence Day, and you know what this means? Not only that next year the office will be closed on Friday, July 3, but in 2021 the office will be closed on Monday, July 5. DUH. I will get two years in a row without having to work the day after Independence Day! Sheesh. I need to start thinking more and complaining less. I mean, if I can. I'll let you know.

Anyway! I guess I could get to sharing about my day yesterday -- the holiday part of which really did not start until around 6:30 in the evening. Prior to that, I slept in quite a bit in the morning, apparently really needing it -- too few hours of sleep too many nights prior, so I zonked out just before Shobhit got home from work Wednesday night around 10:30; and then I actually would have slept even later than about a quarter after 7 a.m. yesterday, but for Shobhit suddenly saying to the cats at full volume, "Okay, I'll go feed you!" Frankly it was kind of a dick move on his part, as I was sound asleep and it startled me awake, scaring the shit out of me. And I find, as I move through middle age, that if I am suddenly yanked out of a sound sleep in the morning, it fucks me up for much of the day.

As in, I crawled back into bed later after Shobhit left for his morning work shift, and fell asleep for a short while there. And then while I was trying to read my library book late in the morning on the living room couch with Shanti just to my left and Guru in my lap, I suddenly literally could not even keep my eyes open. And then I napped right there.

I decided to approach it as though I were charging up for last night, though, knowing I would once again get a short night's sleep. It seems to have worked; I'm not too terribly tired today, actually -- not yet, anyway. We'll see how the mid-afternoon works out, as that tends to be when I get the most sleepy.

So that basically accounts for my morning, aside from breakfast, which consisted of homemade hash browns fried by Shobhit and over easy eggs and toast made by me. Later in the morning, much closer to noon when I was starting to think about what I might want for lunch (in spite of having snacked already on yogurt and also a couple of Oreos), Shobhit texted me about busing up to Northgate so I could check out the clearance prices at Macy's in Northgate Mall, as they are the latest department store to be closing up (which every store at Northgate Mall will soon be having to do, in anticipation of a massive renovation of the entire area). Clearance prices are not quite ideal for us yet, though; there was a pair of shoes Shobhit really wanted, but the biggest discounts on shoes right now were still 50%, and at that discount he'd still have to spend fifty bucks. The pair he really wanted was no longer there in his size anyway.

So then I just walked from there over to the strip mall a couple blocks to the northeast where the Big 5 Sporting Goods is located; I found a bench, and I spent the next forty minutes or so finally finishing my library copy of Atlas of Cities -- which I had checked out twice after having to return it to the library once, and still had to renew it twice both times! It took me literally more than three months to finish that book, mostly because of its cumbersome size and shape, precluding any reading of it while walking. I actually did like it, the ages it took to read notwithstanding.

So then I rode with Shobhit back home from there, and we each had our own lunches (I just had a bowl of cereal, wanting something kind of light and because I didn't get to have that for breakfast). We watched an episode of Fleabag while we ate, and Shobhit was off to work at his other job not long after. That shift was 3:30 - 9:15, so I had the rest of the afternoon to myself.

Gabriel had called me while I was in Northgate to tell me I could come by "any time after six." I told him, "I'll aim for six then, because I'm going to be bored." I probably arrived there at about 6:15.

But first, I baked a sample bag of Brazi Bites Garlic Asiago Brazilian Cheese Balls, which I had gotten via a free coupon from work (and a broker has promised me more, yay!), and also cut the green ends off of the rest of the strawberries Shobhit had gotten for Pride last weekend and would be guaranteed just to go bad if I didn't bring those too. And this way, for once, I broke character and did not show up somewhere empty handed! Although frankly I really could have and it would have been fine -- there were plenty of snacks already available. Mandy and David alone brought four large bags of chips; Lea had fixings ready for tacos. On the other hand, the stuff I brought must have been a hit, because my Brazi Bites and my Costco strawberries were all totally consumed by the end of the night -- and plenty of other people's dishes weren't. Take that!

So. This was my one and only opportunity to see Lake Union fireworks from Lea's apartment, as I only met her this year, but she's moving out of this place next month -- she and Gabriel found a place to move into together next month in Columbia City. Funny how, thanks to Karen living in a temporary apartment on Westlake (the opposite side of the lake from Lea's place) while her house was being massively remodeled at the time, in both 2009 and 2019 Shobhit and I visited different friends' temporary apartments on Lake Washington to watch the fireworks. So now I'm hoping we have a new friend living in a temporary apartment on Lake Union in 2029. Let's make it an every-ten-years tradition!


Quite frustratingly, embedded Flickr videos continue refusing to play. Presumably this still stems from their massive switchover to new servers, and maybe someday in the indeterminate future it will actually start working again. What a pain in the ass! If you really want to see the video -- in spite of countless people posting to social media the past couple of days that "Nobody cares about your fireworks video!" -- you can watch it here. In my defense, my video, which is all of 1 minute and 10 seconds long, is actually slightly different than most other people's would be, for two reasons: 1) it's not just a straight shot of the fireworks, like most people's, but rather shown mostly from inside the apartment through windows, giving it a bit of a different character; and 2) Gabriel put on Katy Perry's "Firework" to play during it. You can hear Darren, who baritone with the Seattle Men's Chorus, singing along to it at the end of the clip.

Darren and Josh -- I actually asked for clarification on his name this time; although Josh said "both are fine," Darren said to me, "I've never heard anyone call him Joshua" -- were the next to arrive, after me; I was, of course, first. When I got there, at first I thought not even Gabriel was there yet, as I only saw Lea in the kitchen. But then Gabriel appeared, and so did Tess. Soon thereafter we saw Darren and Josh, and then quite soon after them Mandy and David arrived. I saw Mandy just last April when I hung out with her and Gabriel in Lea's apartment the Saturday evening that Shobhit and I returned from San Juan Island, but David was right that it had been quite some time since I last saw him -- sitting by the bonfire at his and Mandy's place in Tacoma last summer. July, specifically -- so it had literally been a year. I actually chatted with him more one on one last night than I ever had before, and it was fun learning about how he's doing at a brand new job at Boeing, which he really loves.

Oh! When Josh and Darren arrived, they also brought another friend of theirs, Ben, a rather young guy who sings in the Seattle Men's Chorus too and who I apparently also met at C.C. Attle's that Saturday night on June 22, but I didn't remember him. When I asked Lea before everyone else arrived who else was coming and she mentioned Ben, she described him as the "kind of twinky" guy I had already met. And she wasn't kidding about the twink part -- even though he was cagey about revealing his age when Shobhit asked him later, drunk and flirting with him in a way that kind of made me uncomfortable (less because of jealousy, which I don't really have, than because I was afraid of it making Ben uncomfortable), I figured out on Facebook that, if he graduated college in 2015 and he presumably went to college straight out of high school, then he must be about 26 now. (Darren and Josh are in their mid-thirties.)

Curiously, even though I would say Ben is objectively cute (he's on the right in the photo at the top of this post), my feeling toward him was pretty much immediately platonic and remained solidly so. Part of it may very well be the age difference, but I have a concurrent theory, which is that any onesie, no matter how fun it is, completely desexualizes a person.

Speaking of which, between Ben -- who immediately friended me on Facebook after the party last night -- and Darren and Josh, over the past week I am suddenly making several new platonic gay friends, and I regard that as a good thing, perhaps overdue. I'd like to have more gay friends, actually. I mean, the inner circle of my closest friends -- Danielle (straight), Gabriel (straight), Laney (gay), maybe Karen (straight) and Ivan (gay, and gorgeous, slightly complicating things in comparison) -- is not at all likely to change. But Darren, who friended me on Facebook himself just the other day, after twice asking to tag himself in photos I had posted ("Hello, new Facebook friend!" was how he greeted me when they arrived), talked last night about having Shobhit and me for dinner sometime, after we discovered they also live on Capitol Hill. I welcome the opportunity just to be able to hang out with more other gay people.

I noted last night that Darren may be the first person I have ever met just as extroverted than Gabriel -- perhaps even more so, which is an astonishing thing to consider. When I mentioned that, Darren immediately launched into a short monologue about how he has the highest extrovert scores for all four letters in the Meyers-Briggs test. I can't even remember what letters I'm supposed to be, although I could swear I did take the test somewhere along the way, some years ago. I would probably score differently now than I did then, actually.

Josh is very different from Darren in all these regards, and although I find him to be perfectly friendly, he is comparatively far more reserved -- especially with me, perhaps just because I'm new. I still went ahead and sent him a Facebook friend request last night, after kind of stupidly worrying about whether I should or not, mostly because being Darren's Facebook friend and not his seemed odd to me. (I noticed afterward that Ben is Facebook friends with Darren and not Josh. Interesting. Also none of this fucking matters! It's so stupid to overthink it!) If we do indeed wind up going to their place for dinner sometime soon, perhaps that will offer an opportunity for us to get to know each other in a more direct way. I'd be interested in learning more about how they got together. I just imagine Darren being the one who was like, "Okay, let's do this!" every step of the way.

Gabriel introduced me to people again as his "best friend" last night. This would not be such a big deal except that for years he actively avoided using that phrase -- pretty much with any of his friends, I think. (It was clear that in more recent years, though, it was essentially a position shared between me and his other friend Andy.) Either Gabriel is getting shockingly soft in middle-age -- which is different from comfort with emotional honesty, which he has been really the entire time I've known him -- or he's having some version of a midlife crisis. All right, I've mentioned this twice now; I don’t want to make too big a deal out of it -- I won't bring it up again!

That leaves Lea's other friends who also came, Julie and Ryan, the latter of whom is apparently not on any social media. That's two husbands I have met in the past three months with zero social media presence. Hmmm.

That makes this a record size group I have ever hung out with on the Fourth of July. So: Independence Day 2019 Roll Call!

1. Gabriel
2. Tess
3. Lea
4. Josh
5. Darren
6. Ben
7. Mandy
8. David
9. Julie
10. Ryan
11. Shobhit
12. Me

Twelve people! Just barely still comfortable for the space inside a one-bedroom apartment. Any more and I think it would have felt crowded -- but as it was, it wasn't too bad. That said, there was still a couple of moments where I had to go stand outside on the small balcony to escape the din of ten other people chatting all at once.

At the time, that would have excluded Shobhit, as he was by some distance the last to arrive. He got off work at 9:15, and then drove over from Interbay. He actually made rather good time, and amazingly found a parking spot on Eastlake only a couple of blocks away. Apparently someone else had parked there and then left immediately, misinterpreting a No Parking sign -- Shobhit saw that it was only no parking until 6pm (and, I would guess, probably also excluding holidays) so he pulled right into it. The rest of us were playing a rousing game of "Mixtape" (which I was much better at this time than when Gabriel, Mandy and I once tried to play it in the Braeburn Condos Community Kitchen once last year) when Shobhit arrived, and I didn't even see Lea buzz him in on his phone, so he was just suddenly in the apartment, right around 10:00.

Gabriel set about making Shobhit a drink. He made it pretty strong, was my understanding, or perhaps he just did that to the margarita he later also made for him -- he got pretty buzzed, so I was the one who drove us home later. Anyway, David kept trying to look up when the fireworks would start, and I assured him that, last year at least, they began at 10:20. I can basically confirm that the same was the case this year, since the last photo I took before fireworks was taken at 10:18, and the first firework photo I took (one of the ones I deleted, actually) was also taken at 10:18. So last night, to be extremely specific, the Lake Union fireworks began at 10:18.

And this fireworks show always goes on for quite a while. The final firework shot I took was taken at 10:36, and I basically got distracted and missed the finale, so they lasted about twenty minutes.

And I was immediately ready to go after that -- quite the reversal of how it usually goes with Shobhit and me, as typically Shobhit wants to go home from places before I do. I suppose the difference this time was that Shobhit only got to be there last night for about an hour; I was there closer to five hours -- which flew by, really; I had a lot of fun. Shobhit got to talking to Ryan in the kitchen about his experience in the military, an unusual topic for him to be that interested in. And when I told Gabriel we were leaving he was like, "No!" But yes, I needed to get to bed! We already established that I had to work today.

I even wrote up the requisite email photo digest early this morning rather quickly, before getting ready for work. Thanks to my being able to bike in, I still managed to make it to work by 7:30, in spite of not getting to the bathroom to brush my teeth until right at 6 a.m., 10-15 minutes later than usual. But here we are now, so you're basically caught up. The 38-shot full photo album on Flickr does not yet have any captions, but most of it's pretty self-explanatory, and I did get all the tags put on them later this morning.


[posted 12:26 pm]