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If David's theory is correct, and people are most themselves when their inhibitions are down, then the partygoers I met were friendly and fun-loving folks. After watching Robert rock out with his band backed by an expansive canyon view and the distant lights of Mission Valley, I rallied my small crew and headed down the street to Air Conditioned, the stealthily named bar at 30th and Adams.

Once inside, I shimmied through the crowd and up to the bar, where Burrito offered me a "Barbarella," the vodka/chocolate/raspberry concoction he created for me three years ago, when I preferred things sweet and disorienting. David ordered two Barbarellas for the two other women in our party (who were generous enough to give me a few sips) and a bottle of water for me. The boys were drinking wine, which was slightly unnerving, because I always associated the lounge with cocktails.

"You know," David said into my ear, "I'd be happy to drive us home if you want to have a drink. Really, it would be my pleasure." His dimpled smile was mischievous. Ever since my unbridled display of public affection, David has been a charming little devil on my shoulder. Not only because he delights in seeing me frisky and unrestrained, but also because he enjoys seeing me relaxed, as rare a sight for him as snow is for me.

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