independence day

celebrating my freedom to do nothing for four days

Did everyone have a good weekend?  I sure did.

The great thing about the Independence Day holiday is that you really don’t have any sort of obligations like you do with other holidays.  You don’t have to go and see people.  You don’t have a long list of gifts to buy and a list to make of people who may get you things so that you can return the favor.  You don’t have to travel.  You don’t have to get up early to worship or eat or anything. You just do what you want, and if you feel like it you make sure you can see the sky around 9:30 at night so you can see a few fireworks.

Eric and I spent the weekend doing as we pleased.

Thursday night was spent like other Thursday nights in 1999:  we played poker.  It’s all a blur, but I think I lost like five dollars or something.  I don’t know, I was tired.  I had a beer or two.  There were three hundred people there or something like that.

Friday morning we got up early and went to Fiesta Texas (which is a lame excuse for a Six Flags) because we could.  I should have known that the trip was not going to be our normal non-stop-laughs amusement park day when we were waiting for Chuy and Cathy to show up and a bird took a little poop on Eric’s shoulder.  Well, it wasn’t really a little poop.  It was an amazing amount of poop.  Because it was sort of on the back of Eric’s triceps it didn’t really bother him too much, but it was right at the spot on his arm where I rest my head, and as I’ve mentioned before, I’m big about wanting to cuddle in a ninety-three degree line.  I think that Eric was a little grateful for the bird’s gift, because it kept me at a comfortable distance.  I kept rolling up his sleeve until he looked like a bad Rob Lowe movie.

Fiesta Texas used to be this kind of Dollyworld sort of park where there was one roller coaster and a whole lot of “lands” where there were singers and dancers and magic shows.  A few years ago it was bought out by Six Flags, and now there’s a whole lot of “lands,” singers, dancers, magic shows, and nine rides.  They made this big boast this year on the commercials that there were FIFTEEN NEW RIDES!  And Matt and Becca had gone a few weeks ago and were raving about the park, how it had been the best fun of their lives, scared them silly, renewed their love, blah, blah, blah.  So, we had to go check it out.

Thirteen of the FIFTEEN NEW RIDES! are kid rides.  There’s a big bus where you can fit three six-year olds and it moves in a circle.  There’s a place where kids get on this thing like the Dungeon Drop/ Scream/ Big Shot where it takes you in the air and drops you– but the kid version pulls the kids four feet in the air and bounces them up and down for a minute to two and then takes them down.  It was the funniest thing at the park, though, since all of the kids were so damn happy to get bounced up and down.

Going to the park with Chuy and Cathy is an interesting experience, since they both have fears of rides, but not the same rides.  Chuy doesn’t like heights and Cathy doesn’t like to go up and down.  It’s very rare to find a ride they will both go on.  Chuy is okay with heights if he doesn’t see the ground, so if you take him straight up in the air and he cannot see out the sides he’ll be okay, but if he is going up an incline and he sees someone getting smaller and smaller on the ground he’ll freak out.  Cathy will go as high as you please, but if there’s a quick drop where she feels her stomach drop at all she hates the ride, and consequently– you, forever.

Eric and I will ride everything.

I found, however, that I am no longer a big fan of rides that just spin you like crazy.  These are always the ones with all of the kids, so I feel like a big puss for not liking them anymore.  When we got to the park we were waiting for Chuy and Cathy so we decided to go on some rides we knew they wouldn’t like.  We went on the one that drops you up and down.  Then we got on the backwards roller coaster (I really didn’t like that.  There’s no way to brace your head and before it was over my ears got boxed so many times I felt like Jimmy Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life).  After that we got on a spin ride where you spin in a circle while riding this pendulum type thing.

I turned a lovely shade of green.

My body had been moved in every direction possible in less than thirty minutes.  I realized that kids like the spin rides more because as a kid everyone is still grabbing you by the hands and spinning you around.  I haven’t been spun by someone in over fifteen years.  I’m out of practice.

We did find one ride that all four of us liked. It’s called Poltergeist.  It’s a roller coaster without a climb– you start by getting shot out of the line at this insane speed, and you don’t do any sort of hills, it’s just loops and spins at this high speed for about thirty seconds and then it’s all over.

I think we rode it five times.

Eric and I drove back to Austin that afternoon and we went and had dinner.  After a nice shower and a nap we were ready to have some friends over, which we did for a few hours that evening.

Saturday we slept in.  I mean we really slept in, waking up around one-thirty in the afternoon.  I started cleaning the house while Eric went and bought lunch.  We ate and watched television until some friends showed up and we played Warball in the pool for a couple of hours.  After a shower and a quick bite to eat I drove in the rain over to the Velveeta Room to do the show.

I wasn’t feeling very good and was thinking about not doing the show, but I knew that Matt and The Fiancee were coming, so I “sucked it up,” as they say, and told myself that I always feel better after sweating all night on that stage anyway.

The show was okay, except for one God-awful scene where we got Priest and Altar Boy and somehow it ended up with me and Becca as beggars trying to get the Priest who was not a Priest and the Altar Boy who was not an Altar boy to either sleep with us or watch us sleep with each other… I don’t know, it’s all kind of hazy.  All I know is that somehow we arrested the Priest and mercifully the lights finally went down.  It was horrid.  Sometimes you get trapped on stage and you look at your fellow actors and everyone is giving you the same look.  It’s the look that says, “This is shit!  This is total shit!  How can we all suck collectively so hard?  We’re usually so damn funny!  What’s going on?  Who are you?  Why are you wearing the Batman cape?”

The show picked up a bit after that, but my joke about Blue’s Clues didn’t go over so well, so I think we had a young non-parenting crowd.

After the show during the sweaty-whisper time between our two shows when the stand-ups perform I invited Matt and The Fiancee out to the “talking area”– the hottest place in the Velveeta Room where you can see all of Sixth Street walk up to the club, peek through the window and try and decide if it’s worth seven dollars to go in.  Matt and The Fiancee were very easy to talk to, and I think they really did have a good time (or they are very polite).  We chatted about Austin, comedy, the length of my hair, the length of the Fiancee’s hair, and I kept trying to keep Marc (fellow performer and troupe producer) from saying something that could be taken out of context.  Marc hadn’t met these people before, but he didn’t know that I had never met them before, and he assumed we were all old friends with the way that we seemed to know things about each other, so he kept making little jokes and the little jokes would get a little riskier.  At one point we were discussing how often the audience shouts out homosexual topics for us to make jokes about (i.e. Priest and Altar Boy).  For some reason all the audience wants by 9:45 on a Saturday night is someone bent over and someone else saying, “But Mr. President…”

We’re not proud, but it always works.

In any event, since Marc was being, well, Marc, and usually you don’t know what Marc is until you’ve seen it a few times, I knew that he was about to bust out with something like, “We don’t care, we’ll take it up the ass for you guys whenever you want!”  And I was trying to prevent any moment where there would be total silence and then that, “Well, it’s late…”

I don’t know why I worry about my friends when I’m meeting someone new.  I always do that.  I feel like we come on terribly strong and outgoing and maybe even a little too gregarious, like we’re trying to be funny, which really isn’t the case, but if you’ve never seen it before, I can see where you’d think we’re just trying to put on a little show for the newcomer.

Regardless, things all seemed to go just fine, and it really was nice meeting Matt and The Fiancee.  If you’d like to hear his side of things, go here.  Oh, and I don’t know what’s up with that picture of me where I look like my eyes are going to shoot lasers.  It’s really hot in that room.  You’ve got to know that.  I also think the picture is funny because I have this vacant look in my eyes, and it looks like Matt is leaning in next to some cardboard cutout of me, in one of those, “I met Pamie!” kind of photos.

Saturday night was spent playing poker until five in the morning.  Honestly, I’m going to vomit if I keep playing.  I can’t stop.  Help me.

Once I was down fifteen dollars I thought very seriously about just calling it a night and watching the others play.  But, you know, I had the fever, so to speak, and I would rather play than watch, so I pulled another wrinkly five dollar bill out of my pocket.  I heard Eric’s nervous, “Oh, baby,” from the other side of the table.

“Just five dollars more,” I said.

“Well, it’s better when you’re down, because then you take more risks,” Cathy said.

“I think that once you lose twenty dollars in nickel poker you are not having fun, you’re having a gambling problem.”

But Cathy was right, though, and to my surprise I won back all of my money in the next two hours.  After losing a really stupid game of dynamite, I was down three dollars for the whole evening.  I felt better about myself until I noticed that Cathy had lost a grand total of twenty-three dollars for the evening.  I regretted what I said earlier about having a poker problem once you lose over twenty.  But then I thought to myself, “Man, she takes my money every week.  I don’t care if she finally gave some back to other people.”

Yeah, I’m a great friend.

Sunday morning Eric and I slept in again, which we really had no choice but to do since we didn’t get home until very late.  We watched television and then went out to Twin Falls, which is a watering hole here in town.  Eric loved jumping off the rock into the water.  I was amazed at the amount of dogs.  It looked at one point like we were all in this commune, because you do this half-mile walk to get there, and then you are in the middle of the woods and all.

I have a feeling we’re going back there a few times this summer.

We went to the grocery store right after and bought seafood.  We had shrimp and crab and corn on the cob while the rain poured down outside.  We listened to Van Morrison and drank “Hooch,” my new favorite white trash drink.  That night we saw Summer of Sam.

Yesterday Eric worked on his car while I napped.  I cleaned the living room while he read.  He did the laundry while I napped.  We worked on my show. We swam in the pool for a couple of hours playing a version of “Horse” with jumping into the pool, we played the Playstation, and then we went to the bar for a couple of hours to talk about this weekend’s shows with Matt and Chuy.

Driving home we were commenting on how nice the whole weekend was.

“I think it was too long,” Eric said.


“I don’t want to go back to work.”

“Me either.”

“I liked not working.”

“Me too.  I miss summer vacations.”

“Being an adult sucks.”

I really miss my summer vacations.

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