On the Friday prior to my departure for God's Country, my sister and friends banded together to throw me a surprise party proving to be a final and fitting send off and a night worthy of great great memories. I was, indeed, surprised to the full extent shock and awe, but the previous day, in hindsight consisted of a couple of moments that should have tipped off that something was amiss in Dublin (a "Ulysses" reference for my boy, Denny Basens).
The previous evening, Thursday for those keeping track, I had had a long day trying to get my feet wet in the car buying game. The day was so rough that I even got a little snippy with a disguised Sean Taylor as he ventured to bait me into a good-natured prank call. I was wise enough to realize that I needed a respite from all things real world for an hour or so and my friends were happy to oblige.
I met up with a few friends at a bar and all seemed eerily status quo. As was usually the case, we had casual plans to go out on the town to allow me to bid fond farewells through the appropriate amount of alcohol-induced haze, but nothing too special was planned, nor would I have it any other way. The peace, also as per usual, was nearly shattered by the one and only, Sean Taylor, as he arrived fashionably late. (Everything he does in those glasses is fashionable, by the way.) I kid you not, the first words out of his mouth were "so what time do the festivities start again tomorrow?" Honestly, maybe due to the disreputable source, the comment went right over my head and I considered the question pretty reasonable at the time. Jay was quick to jump in and say that what he meant by that was, "what time do you want to go out tomorrow?" What did momentarily make me feel funny was how quickly Sean agreed with Jay that he meant exactly what Jay said. Nonetheless, my suspicion was fleeting and I soon excused myself for a beat or two. Obviously I wasn't there to see it, but according to reenactments, the looks Jay and Roo gave Sean Taylor were lethal and Sean admitted freely that he "blew it." Truthfully, these recounts of what went down may have afforded more pleasure than the party itself.
Later on that night, I had the chance to jam with Sean Gallagher of our former "Skinny Scrawny Sexy" semi-fame and the Beard who used to make up "The Umbrellas" with me. It was an absolute pleasure to perform with these musicians again. We've always connected musically on a lot of different levels and it was incredible to recapture that magic again for a spell. A great time that I'll surely miss.
The next day, we played basketball at Jay's. I noticed that Coop (a fifty-year-old drunk worthy of a post himself) was even more vociferous and cryptic than usual. As we played ball, he kept telling Jay, in so many words, to hook him up later and let him know the details. Comically enough, I assumed Coop was just kind of looking for a ride later, or a place to grab some weed. I feel bad for thinking this in hindsight, but it was more of a generalization of Coop's character than Jay's. Apparently, Roo had let slip to Coop that a party was going down that night. While Roo succeeded in vowing Coop to secrecy, Coop wanted to attend the bash himself. That would have been a surprise indeed if Coop were amongst the young and semi-sober. Fortunately, Coop never made it to my home and after a laid back dinner with my father, I returned home to find the foyer flooded with with my friends shouting a jarring, but warming, "surprise" as I walked in the door. I was told my face was quite memorable and I don't doubt it. It was beyond awesome to have so many people gathered to say goodbye and I'm grateful to everyone who attended, especially my sister Noelle and Jay, who were instrumental in making it happen.
The party was largely a great time and as the midnight hour approached we made for Downport to draw unsuspecting, yet willing, others into our celebration. I feel like "tales of buzzed" is a little trite, so I'll skip over a lot of that jazz and just mention that Matty and I hit the dance floor as only we can (even a Frank sighting), Sean Taylor gave me open access to his tab, which I only added a lone beer to, because I wanted to make sure I remained cognisant enough for people to remember me fondly. I chuckle at how I kind of minimized such a grand gesture, but it's the thought that counts and I thank him tremendously.
After we left the final bar, a slightly worse for wear (is that the right "wear"?) Sean Taylor wanted to grab some pizza. We went into a pizza place where basketball was being discussed. Believe it or not, I kept my mouth shut having learned my lesson from the subway "What constitutes a sport?" debate. However, after about two minutes of loitering, suddenly a roar of boos erupts in the place in an apparent appeal for a mass exodus of some kind. Lo and behold, Sean Taylor is the target of these misgivings. I admit, I have no idea what he said to excite the mob so, but at least from his body language, it seemed rather uncalled for. We all left (Sean fashionably) in a fit of laughter leaving the hecklers to savor their victory. It was a good-natured exchange, but nonetheless, I'll always wonder what Sean said that night.
As stated, Sean had suckled all he could from the night and wound up snoozing at my place. In a final mystery, I awoke to find Sean Taylor snuggling with my bath towel as the morning sun's rays crept into the window. Sean could not account for why he had the towel and as for me, I realize that somethings are better left unanswered and ran through the laundry.
More to come as I start work on Monday.
Song of the Day: Bird Song-Grateful Dead
Jazz Song of the Day: Bird Gets The Worm-Charlie Parker
Clearly, I'm subconciously in a very avian mood.