I went to two events downtown. The first was trying to fight traffic after a Padres game. The second was me getting lost. The Hyatt Hotel near the convention center had a festival showcasing American Indian culture. I put on the one Indian shirt I own, which has colorful embroidery around the collar and on the pockets. Since the event started at 3 p.m., I figured I'd arrive around 4:30 p.m. I didn't realize a Padres game would be ending at 4:00 and that driving downtown would be a mad house. There were pedestrians everywhere, lots of cars slowing things down, and police officers trying to direct traffic.
I eventually made it inside, where I saw dancers, musicians, and storytellers from Alaska, New Mexico, South Dakota, and California. The food smelled good, but I wasn't hungry. One person I asked said, "You've got to try the buffalo and wild rice. It's fantastic." I grabbed a bottled water.
Former U.S. senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell was hosting the event.
Several people were dressed up, a few in feather headdress, and others with bells on their boots. I asked one older guy if I could take his picture for the Reader. He said, "If it's Reader's Digest, yes." He then laughed for about a minute, before I was able to snap a shot of him.
There was a guy on stage telling a story about killer whales. He was very animated, did many voices, and had a small drum in his hand that he'd beat for emphasis. I was distracted by the kids walking around that were dressed up, jingling from the bells attached to their moccasins.
One guy came in with a Padres cap and T-shirt. He grabbed some food and quickly left. Two other guys were standing there talking the entire time the story was being told from stage. They were more interested in the shot Tiger Woods made at the Masters than what the guy onstage had to say. I'm not sure why they didn't just go out to the lobby, where there were couches and a nice view of the Coronado Bridge.
During a quiet point in the story, I heard three or four cans of soda being opened. Surprisingly, not a single cell phone rang.
After the story was told, they brought dancers out to do a "Buffalo Dance." The intro mentioned how important the Buffalo was: "It wasn't just for food. We used every part of it, for clothing and tools. [The buffalo] was like our supermarket."
As I was getting ready to leave, I saw an old Indian praying in the lobby.
Two women were leaving at the same time, and one said, "I loved those bird singers." The other said, "I loved the Indian dudes with long hair. They were kind of hot."
The next day I was invited to an opening of a club called Altitude. It's on the top floor of the Marriott. I was invited by Jamie, who had invited me to her rugby team's party, before telling me that the coach didn't want me there. I had seen the Marriott right next to the Hyatt, where the Indian shindig was the day before, so I headed over. The invite said it was on the 22nd floor, so I jumped into an elevator. On the 22nd floor all I saw were rooms. I went back to the lobby and saw a guy carrying towels to a room. I asked him what the deal was and he said, "You were probably in the wrong tower. We have two towers here." So I went to the other tower. Same thing. I went back down to the lobby, and when I asked someone, they said, "There's no party going on here. But there is one going on at the Marriott on K Street." It then occurred to me that Jamie did tell me it was in the Gaslamp.
There were a few tables to check in at, and then I headed up in the elevator.
The view was amazing. You can see the ballpark, although you're so high up, you can't recognize the players. I wondered if they were going to put some kind of guardrail up. One could fall, or easily jump, over the edge.
When I was waiting in line for a drink, a guy got pissed that he could only get a Cosmopolitan or a Martini. He walked away mad as the woman was trying to tell him he could get anything else from the waitress. I started talking to a guy from South Africa. He is a massage therapist. I asked his girlfriend if she got a lot of massages. She laughed and said, "Not enough." When she went to talk to another couple, he told me he's only given her three in the two years they've dated. "She was stressed one time from work," he explains. "I came over with my table, unfolded it, and said 'Someone ordered a massage?' She loved it."
As I took in the view high atop downtown, I noticed there were searchlights for this event and a lot of security guards.
I overheard two bald guys talking about how they shave their heads. One said, "Don't you get ingrown hairs doing it that way?" The other said something about Bic Shrivel heads and electric razors.
I was with a few guys that were looking over the edge. One said, "There's no way the fire marshal will let this stand. Not only could someone easily fall, but you could throw a glass over the edge. If it landed on someone down below, they'd be dead." Another man was arguing with me over what he called "an irrational fear of heights." I said, "It's not irrational. If I fall over the edge, my head squishes like a melon. That seems like rational logic to me. It's not like I can't stand here because I'm paralyzed with fear. I just don't particularly like heights." He said I should see a psychiatrist. He then went into a long story about his cousin having a fear of spiders. He asked what I thought of spiders, and I said, "I love them. That Charlotte was adorable, always posting messages on her web. But a spider can't push me over this edge. If a spider comes up to me, I can step on it. See how rational that is?"
I finally met up with Jamie and she introduced me to her fiancé Adrian. He grabbed us a few appetizers from a waitress walking by. And someone brought up something that tasted like the egg rolls at Jack in the Box. We then got into a conversation about our favorite fast foods. When he mentioned the tacos at Jack in the Box, I said I eat them on occasion, but that I think they're crappy and greasy. He said, "I don't know what the meat is they use. It could be assholes and eyeballs; I don't care. They taste good."
The waitresses were soon telling everyone to go downstairs for dinner. The DJ stopped spinning tunes so a guy could tell us about the activities going on below. They had a second party they were hosting upstairs, and they also wanted everyone to hit the restaurant on the ground floor. He ended by emphasizing, "And there's lots of food. Just take the elevator to get to the food."
There was one blonde in a blue outfit that was so drunk she couldn't walk. There was another guy we thought was drunk, but we weren't sure. He was in a wheelchair, missing a leg, and had a beer in his hand. Adrian said, "I don't think he's drunk. I just think he's asleep." I don't know why he'd fall asleep in the middle of the event if there wasn't alcohol involved. Someone else overheard this and said, "Do you think it takes less alcohol to get you drunk if you're missing your arms and legs? There's less blood in your body, so I would assume you'd be drunk after just one or two beers."
Downstairs there were some statues, and Adrian, who had a little buzz going, was fondling a few of them. He was doing it mostly to make us laugh, and he was doing a great job. He was hysterical. When we were waiting in line for pizza, we were joking with two cute girls. One of them said to me, "You know he's gay, right?" I replied, "That would be news to his fiancé." She insisted that nobody would act the way he did. He was spanking a few waitresses that walked by and being flamboyant. When I told him what the girls said, he then went into a gay voice and talked about their outfits. He was being sarcastic, but one of them said, "See, see! Listen to that voice."
We stood there eating our pizza and laughing as Adrian would cut in line for another slice. When the cook left for a few minutes, Adrian walked behind the table and started cooking, throwing a few pieces into the air and onto the pan. It was like watching Robin Williams. A less hairy Robin Williams.
Adrian would go up to the women and occasionally say things like "I'm not gay just because I bring men to bed once in a while." It would always make me laugh, but they would always say "See?"
I asked Jamie how they met. She told me the story of seeing him in college and wanting to sit next to him. She said, "I thought he was cute, and when he started talking to me, I realized we had a lot in common. I did some traveling, and we weren't dating for awhile. When I came back, one of our friends said he kept talking about me. I never even thought I would get married. He proposed to me on the rugby field."
One waitress we joked with looked like Hilary Swank. I always seem to run into women that look like her. When we told her that, she said, "I hear it all the time. And I always think of how she looked in Boys Don't Cry, and that scares me."
One young kid that was working there overheard this and asked me about movies. It turns out he wants to be a filmmaker. We talked about Sin City. I told him I liked it but thought the dialog could've been better, especially with Quentin Tarantino involved. He said Tarantino was one of his favorites. A lady walking by said, "Why do young people love that guy's movies? He's so overrated."
There were oysters and caviar, but I stayed away from those. They had this lobster on crackers that were delicious. And, with Adrian bringing me drinks, I was getting pretty blitzed. Once the fog machine started going, I was sure I was going to fall on my ass.
I was running late for a racquetball game and called my friend to tell him I'd be late. I sat down, hoping to sober up a bit. I asked Adrian if it bothered him that those two women thought he was gay. He said, "No. But it's funny that one of them had so much metal in her face it was scary. And she's commenting on me. The other one said she had been involved in a threesome. I think she was looking for another threesome. And she was the one that said she had a boyfriend that wasn't here."
I waited another 15 minutes and then had the valet bring my car over. I tried not to stumble, thinking they wouldn't let me drive off if they thought I was drunk. I knew I only had to make it to Friars Road, otherwise I wouldn't have driven. My drink total was only five apple martinis.
I made it to the racquetball court and tried playing. Wayne said, "What's wrong? You're missing every shot." I was swinging the racquet like I was swatting at flies.
I just hope I got enough exercise in the short time we played to burn off the pizza and lobster calories.
Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.