Barack Obama was predicted to win the presidency. Nobody was surprised when he did. I was surprised at how many inauguration parties there were. I don’t recall any presidential race ending with so many parties.
Gavin, my racquetball partner in San Marcos, told me about a party where they threw shoes at a big cutout of Bush.
At the party I went to (which they called “Party Like a Barack Star”), nothing was thrown. That might be because it was at Felicia’s condo in Hillcrest, and she’s an artist. Her stuff was all over, and an errant shoe could have damaged the old fire hydrant or the lamp she created from an old parking meter.
We were told to wear black attire. I asked on the phone, “It’s black tie?” They corrected me.
“Not black tie. Black attire.”
That seemed odd. I couldn’t wear red, white, and blue or an American flag. I was going to be dressing like a Black Panther or Johnny Cash. I wore black sweatpants, a black T-shirt, and a black Steppenwolf jacket.
Because the party included a potluck, I thought about bringing black beans or black licorice. Instead, the two people I brought with me decided we should bring bottles of wine, pasta, and red, white, and blue cupcakes.
The place was packed. A few people were watching the proceedings on TV. We were told that some of it was recorded earlier. I said to a guy nearby, “This isn’t going to be as fun as watching the Super Bowl. Obama won’t be throwing any touchdowns.” A woman said, “I like that because I hate football.” Her boyfriend said, “There was an injury earlier, like a football game: Ted Kennedy went down.”
I asked, “Was it a groin pull? That usually gets the Kennedys.”
I looked at a list on the food table that had things that were “in”: Hope, carbs, and saving the planet. Things that were “out”: hopelessness, diets, spending, and Bush. Though most people brought booze, two delicious homemade pizzas were on the table.
A guy named Rafael said, “You know that Obama is going to get busy.” I said, “You mean fixing all the crap Bush mucked up?” He said, “No, I’m talking about having sex. In the Lincoln bedroom, in the signing room — he’s going to hit all those rooms.”
I replied, “Wouldn’t it kill the mood to look up, though, and see those old portraits of previous Presidents? Nothing romantic about Taft or John Quincy staring down at ya.”
The place was decorated with lots of Obama and Bush items. Bush’s face was on an inflatable Bozo the Clown.
Felicia put a picture of Obama over the portrait of her grandmother. She said, “It’s funny because she was racist, too. She would totally hate that I did that.”
After I told Felicia about the antique items I have, she said she’s seen people take typewriter keys and make necklaces out of them. Because she can’t bear to take typewriters apart, she keeps them on display with a fake typed letter or poem in the machine.
After Felicia talked about some of the performance art she did back in Washington, D.C., I asked her about all the places she’s lived and visited.
“I’ve been to 25 countries,” she said, “and it’s funny because the best art gallery I’ve ever seen is in Baltimore. Can you believe that?”
I said “no” because I went to Baltimore recently and was only impressed by their Hard Rock Café.
Someone joked that Obama should have used a Koran when he was sworn in. He could have turned around and said to everyone, “Ha ha…I gotcha!”
Rafael walked over to the big screen and said, “Is anyone really listening to what’s going on? I understand that this is historical, but let’s hear some music.” He went to the stereo, and pretty soon the party was blaring some Parliament-Funkadelic.
A guy pulled out a flask and I said to Rafael, “Who the hell carries flasks anymore? I see they sell them at places in the mall that engrave things.” Bonnie interrupted, saying, “Things Remembered!”
As we were laughing, someone explained that their friend got a DUI while riding his bicycle. He added, “That’s the type of person you can buy a flask for.”
A good-looking couple walked in and started hanging out in the kitchen, not mingling with many people. The guy wore a leather jacket and looked like a better version of comedian Richard Lewis. The girl had short black hair and a thick accent. I started to make conversation with them and the woman said, “That’s how you dress? You’re wearing sweatpants with dress shoes.” I paused, looked down at my outfit. She pointed to her man and said, “He’s wearing slacks.” I said, “Well, uh, yeah…he is dressed better than I. But the sweatpants were more comfortable.” She then said, “That’s fine, but the dress shoes with it?” I retorted, “Well…they’re black.”
I poured myself some wine, and we talked briefly about the Talking Heads before I made my way to another crowd.
Felicia was starting to organize a game. She was saying it was like “Balderdash” but with facts about President Obama. I said, “Kind of like ‘Barakerdash.’”
She explained, “We’ll make up faux facts about the president, and we’ll have teams. I’ll mix in real things about him. And you want other people to vote for your fake facts, so try to make them sound real.”
Teams were made, and we had a guy that said, “I can pull up facts about Obama on my Blackberry.” As he did this, someone said “We don’t need real ones. We just need good fake ones.”
I came up with one about him scoring 38 points in a high school basketball game. Someone else on my team came up with one about him only smoking menthol cigarettes.
We had a guy that wanted to say Obama only buys American cars, but none of us could agree how to word that. We were surprised when another team came up with a version of that fake fact.
Another team was caught using a Blackberry. We put ours away.
The only problem with this game was that when the real facts were sprinkled in, most of us knew them. Before giving away the prize, Felicia had to break a tie between two teams. A woman was picked from each team to break the tie, and a guy yelled out “Jell-O wrestling.”
I suggested they both spell the name Barack Hussein Obama. If one spelled it wrong, they lost.
We were leaving when they finally came up with a solution: thumb-wrestling.