Part Two: What The Cowboy Spirit Means
Grant met me for lunch on Thursday and so began a weekend of outrageous fun and collective transformation.
There was a lot of good conversation during the meal and, at some point, we started musing on how, these days, we overthink conversations, regret evenings of drinking and have a general anxiety about the present and future, all of which we never used to have. But then it took a turn to how we used to be so goddamn restless and senseless when it came to women and how everything seemed so cause-and-effect now instead of just being causes without regard for effects.
"We used to do whatever we wanted and never worry about the outcome. There were always consequences, but neither of us ever gave a shit, right?" I said paraphrasedly. "I mean, we used to be careless, we used to be stupid, we used to be..."
"Cowboys," Grant said calmly. "We used to be cowboys."
And then there came the dawning realization that all we wanted to be was cowboys again. The problem wasn't that we were adults now. The problem was that we weren't cowboys anymore. It didn't have to do with age. It had to do with giving in. All of it had to do with something that was established over the weekend as "The Cowboy Spirit."
Now, it just so happened that the coming weekend included Rex's birthday and the Orange International Street Fair, which is one grand party for the city. And thus started the quest to be young and wild as we reclaimed "The Cowboy Spirit" as individuals and as a band of polite, well-mannered, law-abiding outlaws.
Thursday night, we went drinking in the Circle for Rex's birthday. I came home drunk around 2-something and stayed up eating a sandwich until 4 a.m. I got to work at 7 a.m. on Friday. The Cowboy Spirit kept me sharp for most of the day, but I lapsed into being a mumbling idiot towards the end. After filming a video project for work (which I made me feel 16 again, as video projects are simply the best), I could barely stay awake, but I reminded myself of the Cowboy Spirit promise.
So I went to a house party for Rex's birthday Friday evening. And I got quite messed up there, where I had our friend Nikki try her first bit of whiskey and I reminisced about the days of The Madison with Jay for nearly an hour). Dave drove me home laughing and blurry sometime around 3 and I again stayed up until 4 eating a sandwich.
Saturday, Rex and Grant dropped by in the evening as I was writing in my room with all three windows open for the lovely summer breeze. We went to buy slurpees so we could drink them while smoking cigarettes in my backyard. The plan was to head to a party later, but once we got the slurpees, we decided on a parking lot whim to just drive down to Grant's place in San Juan Capistrano to provide some company to Chase (who is currently laid up because of foot surgery after a super terrible injury while surfing in Mexico). The four of us got drunk and played video games. Grant went to bed while Chase, Rex and I slept in the guest bedroom giggling together on two floor mattresses.
"I hope we never get too old for this," Chase said.
"What?" Rex asked. "Sleepovers?"
"I don't know," Chase replied. "I guess just...any of this really."
It wasn't the last thing said, but it was the last thing I thought of before falling asleep.
We woke up Sunday morning and Grant drove Rex and I back to Orange around noon. I showered and Dennis picked me up to go to Street Fair around 1 p.m. We met up with a bunch of my high school friends that I sadly only see in terms of months (David, Lawrence, Louis, Duran, etc). All day, I ran into people I wanted to see and caught up with local friends over beer and international food and flare. The Street Fair closed at 10 p.m., so we went to a friend of a friend's house. When that died down, we went to Louis's girlfriend's apartment and hung out with her girlfriends.
At some point, one of the girls asked, "Why haven't we met you before?"
And I realized I didn't have any good reason why I wasn't more proactive with keeping in touch with my high school friends. Finally, Dennis took us home around 3 and I stayed up until 4 a.m. once again eating a sandwich. I was intoxicated from my arrival to Street Fair until I fell asleep watching Dances With Wolves.
Monday, with the day off, I sent out a short story to ten magazines and played basketball to get all the booze out of me.
Now, before this weekend, I couldn't tell you when the last time it was that I got all screwy two nights in a row. Also, it's hard to guess when the last time was that I didn't choose at least one night of the weekend to give into reclusedom. But, I have to tell you, this last weekend was one of the most goddamn fun weekends I can ever remember living through. Somehow, weekends like this, with its constant motion and agenda of going from fun thing to fun thing, came about way more often when we were all 19 and 20 and stupid as hell. We didn't have the appreciation then, because that's all there was. There was nothing to compare it to. None of us desk jobs and none of us had a serious bone in our putty bodies. I mean, how do you know how awesome butterflies are if you've live your entire life in a meadow? You tell me that, America.
Shit, I mean, everything came together so perfectly and I saw people I don't see often enough and met people I'm stoked on. And I know I laughed until my stomach hurt. I also ate a lot of really killer sandwiches.
Seriously though, I felt like there was a glow to the weekend, as if I was jumping from picture to picture in a photo album. Sometimes, you live through a night you already feel will churn you up inside, as if looking back on your childhood or your most reverent teenage moments. You try so hard to find the Fountain of Youth, but you never let yourself believe it doesn't take a journey to far-off lands. Nobody wants to believe they've been so close to the source the entire time because it's so goddamn fucking embarrassing.