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A woman named Cynthia was having a birthday party downtown. I was told we were supposed to bring something, so I bought cupcakes at the store. When I arrived downtown, I parked far away from the building, which wouldn’t have been a problem except for the fact that I parked on a street with a row of homeless people leaned up against the wall. It felt awkward walking past them because they looked hungry. One guy asked for money, and I looked down at all the cupcakes. I was tempted to start handing them out.

The party was held at a loft that rocked. A few people told me the guy who designed it lived nearby, and it took him a year to design. One of the architects was at the party. We talked about some of the things done to the space, which included buying the place next door and knocking down a wall to make the loft bigger.

There was a band-rehearsal space set up in one corner with a drum set, guitars, and other instruments. I was told there were four layers of soundproofing built into the walls so the upstairs neighbors wouldn’t complain about noise.

I ran into a photographer named Richie, whom I saw at another party recently. He’s always in great spirits and is fun to talk with.

I noticed a few of the women had cow ears, tails, and other cow accessories. Cynthia seemed a tad tipsy as she explained to me the cow theme they tried to get going for the party.

At one point I was talking to a tall woman about her accounting job. A bald guy who looked as if he had something wrong with his pupils leaned over my shoulder and said something bizarre and funny before walking over to a different section of the party.

I saw my friend Bonnie near the alcohol and went to pour myself a drink. We talked briefly — she told me to give her space because there was a guy at the party she was interested in.

A tall African-American went up to the stage near the mini studio and started giving a speech. Bonnie seemed to be enjoying herself with a guy, and I went up to tell her something. She made a face, and as I started to talk, she said, “Can you just go away?”

I told her I wasn’t going to go anywhere until the speech was finished. I kept trying to say little things to make her laugh, and she got madder and madder at me, which only made me try harder.

The guy onstage pulled out an instrument and started explaining a little about it. He said it was a “Jew harp,” and I leaned into Bonnie and said, “If that guy just called that thing a ‘Jew harp,’ I’m going to have some words with him in a minute.”

That got her to bust out laughing, while the entire room was quiet.

Jon Block, who puts on a lot of local music events, got up and played guitar with the tall guy. He slapped his knee along with the tune, which sounded like Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” I noticed the guy wore white gloves. I leaned in to Bonnie again and said, “If someone told me a person was performing and wearing a white glove, I’d think Michael Jackson. But it’s more of a Tiger Woods look.” The guy she was with laughed, but by that point she was bothered by me. When the song finished, I went over to grab a cupcake.

I heard a woman coming out of the bathroom say, “That’s the coolest bathroom ever! There were rocks in the sink. Amazing!”

Her friend said, “I like the walls in here. I’m not sure why the word ‘True’ is written on them, though. Maybe it’s supposed to be an inspirational thing.”

I overheard a short African-American guy talking about the streets of Harlem. He mentioned 42nd Street. The person he was speaking to walked away, and I asked about their conversation. He said, “I was just talking about chess. Do you play?” I realized there was a huge marble chess set in front of him. I told him I did, and he challenged me to a game. He said, “I played this guy earlier tonight, and he didn’t even know how the pieces move. And he was setting up the queen on the wrong color.” I joked, “How much are we playing for?” He smiled and said, “You don’t wanna go there. I played on the streets, man. We used to play in the parks. And I’m ranked, bro.”

We ended up talking about football, but 30 minutes later I saw him playing someone. I asked if he won and he said, “I killed him, bro. And I’m so drunk, too.” He walked away, saying, “I’m gonna go smash something.”

I was a bit tipsy, and when I was standing with a group of people in the kitchen, a nice older woman asked me to pour her a glass of the red wine behind me. As she held her glass, I started to pour. I started pouring it on her arm, completely missing the glass. As one guy started to wipe off her arm, I looked for a paper towel for the floor. Luckily, the woman just laughed about it, and none of the wine ruined her outfit.

One small group at the party was talking about going to Stingaree. Another group was talking about going to Ivy. And a few people were trying to narrow down which place everyone was going to end up at.

I saw two girls talking, and the guy with the weird eyes approached. He said something funny, and as the women laughed, one said they recognized him from a party a few weeks earlier. He said, “That wasn’t me. It was my evil twin brother. I told him to stay away from this party.”

I said I was going to write that down and use it in the story. He looked at me stone-faced and said, “You plagiarist.”

He then grabbed a cookie and left the party.

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Comments

Crissyst Dec. 25, 2009 @ 3:59 a.m.

Is playing chess at a birthday party considered very social? Not judging, just don't really know.

So DID the speaker say "Jew harp"? and if so, sorry for being so inquisitive, what is it? ;-)

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KarenBP Dec. 26, 2009 @ 5:46 p.m.

Bonnie is hilarious!

And you KNOW i lost it reading about the Jew harp!!!!!!!

:D

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Josh Board Dec. 26, 2009 @ 6:04 p.m.

I thought I remembered a Peanuts character playing a Jew's Harp in an episode. Not positive. I have heard it played on The Who's "Join Together" and the Chili Peppers "Give it Away".

Some people call it a Jaw Harp, which is a better name, as it is put in your mouth and plucked. The movement of your mouth can change the pitch of the sound coming out of it.

I'm not sure how the flexible metal is used in conjunction with your teeth, or if 4 out of 5 dentists surveyed, would tell patients to avoid using such an instrument and would recomment a harmonica (regular "harp") over it.

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Octo77 Dec. 31, 2009 @ 1:12 p.m.

Hilarious! I was surprised by some people even friends I hadn't heard from in awhile contacted me to call me a celebrity because they saw me in the the Reader, even a friend in Italy! :)

Just for the record, Cynthia's bday happened to coincide with National Cow Appreciation day. Yes, a day actually exists where we can give thanks for all the tastiness that our docile grass munching friends afford to us in life! This explains the choice of "costume." On another note Josh you didn't mention what I thought was the most cutting edge yet zen element in the house: the open goldfish trough that was cut into the black granite kitchen counter and running the whole length of it. There was a tiny spout or 2 so that the trough flowed and bubbled like a river while a myriad of goldfish darted amongst the green swaying plants. I have a picture but I don't see a place to upload it here, it was toooo cool! The raised jacuzzi in the master bedroom wasn't bad either. Fun times...thanks for the write up!

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Josh Board Dec. 31, 2009 @ 5:23 p.m.

Thanks for chiming in, Octo.

I forgot about that goldfish thingy. It was cool.

I wrote about a party a few weeks back, and one of the guys at it mentioned an old boss of his seeing the story in Hawaii and calling him. He hadn't heard from this boss in 10 years, and has no idea how the boss even saw the story (not sure why he didn't ask the boss that, but...)

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