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An Evening Wasted with AOL - offline, no less! | blog.deanland.com

An Evening Wasted with AOL - offline, no less!

This is a tale about a woman I've known for about 25 or so years.

Here's how we know each other. She was a friend's girlfriend. He and I and some others all lived in a big house together back in the mid-1970's. He and she got married, I think that was around 1976. I held the chupah at one of their two ceremonies. In 1979 I got him a great job, wherein he chose to backstab me politically. We fell out of touch immediately thereafter, although I did hear from
the guy, when, guess what, HE NEEDED WORK again. I told him to go bother someone else. End of story for quite some time.

Years go by, she gets back in touch, we had her over on
the eve of Thanksgiving, we stay in touch via e-mail and phone, blah, blah, blah. Turns out she is living a few hours out of NY, with her teenage daughter, and hasn't had much of a social life of late. In fact, since divorcing the 2nd husband, the social-whirl well's been pretty dry.

She gets an AOL account (boo, hiss) and she and her daughter (well, that sorta explains the AOL side of things, those boppers gotta have that AIM) check out AOL areas, chat rooms, etc.

She calls and tells me she's been invited to this "exclusive" AOL party in my area of the outer suburbs if NYC. Seems this chat group in which she often lurks and sometimes participates throws some parties, all "invitation only" affairs, and gee whiz wow, she got an invite. She has found care for her daughter for Saturday night, and she wants to come to NY and attend this groovy whizbang.

Susan and I tell her ok, we can put her up. And the party is a nearby drive from my place, so we can drop her off, pick her up when she's ready to go, and she can stay at my place. Since my birthday is coming up, she says she'll take us all to brunch on Sunday to celebrate.

I half-jokingly warn her that a singles AOL party will be a disaster. Guys in Harris Tweed jackets and turtlenecks, sleazebuckets, acting like they don't realize the lugubrious Bill Murray character from yesteryear SNL was a parody. Women too old to be wearing the outfits they sport, who sound like Gravel Gertie, and will complain to no end about their exes. Too much cologne and perfume. Nail polish and accessories to the max. A lot of
cigarette smoke. An absence of warmth. An abundance of surface tension and materialistic bullshit.

Susan suggested we find a movie and a restaurant to spend our time in on Saturday night, and that our friend trash the AOL party plans and hang out with us. Susan even has a fourth to join us - no, not a blind date or some arrangement, just a nice guy who could come along. An alta kahker, actually, but a nice enough guy. Susan tells her that the AOL party will be shit, just hang out with us.

But no, our friend **really** wants to check out this party, this group, see who these people are in person, as opposed to just "screen names" in a chat room. Okay, we say, what can we do to make the experience good for you?

It seems everyone attending the party was told to bring some pot luck food. She'd been assigned salad. We get her to a place that sells creative salads, not too over the top, but not too non-descript. We get her to my place so she can dress for the party. We drive her over, drop her off, and tell her we will be hanging out at my place, probably watch Conan on SNL, and just wait for her call.

We kid around that we are acting like her parents, staying up while she goes to a party, providing transportation. We tell her to be well behaved. At about 9:25 PM she leaves the car to go to the party.

As we were leaving the block we observed a few of the people walking toward the house (there were cars parked up and down the block...apparently either this was a BIG party, or there were a few other parties on the block that night). Amazing! Men in Harris tweeds, women in too-tight outfits they should have nixed.

Cleavage that indicates fat, as opposed to a tasteful hint of dÈcolletage. That walk that indicates one should expect a Liza or
Barbra or Neil Diamond fan, or a couple that puts the Manilow on when they light the candles and dim the bulbs. That "are you worthy of me" raised eyebrow.

Susan and I agree that we are thrilled and thankful to be together, and never to be even considering attending a bash such as this.

Back to my place we go. Just hanging out at home, passing the time, doing nothing special. At 10:55 the phone rings. "Can you get me back to your place in time to catch Conan?" our friend asks. We can get there ASAP, I tell her, maybe miss some of the beginning of the show. Hurry, she says.

As we approach the party house we call her cell phone. We are about five houses down the block, we say. She'll be right out, she replies. We see some people leaving the party as we approach the house. Out comes our friend, and as she opens the car door she says, "Oh, good! Two ***SANE*** people. At last!"
We get home in time to see most of, not all of, SNL. Conan as the host, Don Henley the musical guest. We decide Henley must be between 47 and 54.

We learn from our friend the following: It seems that Susan and I called the party, right down to the turtlenecks and the fatty cleavage. Even the food! (I'd predicted doubling up on certain
dishes, and an enormity of desserts which the women would complain about, express guilt over, and then engorge themselves. I was right!)

Post mortem: Another reason to abhor AOL. My poor friend, she was so disappointed. Adding to this was the fact that two men she thought she might like to meet, and one woman she'd hoped would be there, all were missing. They probably already knew what an AOL chat room meat-market get-together will deliver.

We *did* go to brunch on Sunday morning, and the meal was great. They even had latkes, which Susan loves. And those latkes were excellent.
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Today is my birthday, and I now get to spend a full year turning 50. This year brought many e-mail birthday cards, and an old friend coming out of the woodwork via e-mail to wish me a happy birthday. Very nice. A few calls, too, during the workday, making it an even nicer time at the desk.

Susan and I went to our favorite little pizza shack (you'd have to know the place to understand why we call it that), where the sauce is the best, the crust is crispy, and they use fresh cut mushrooms and a better grade of cheese than most of the run-of-the-mill pizzerias. Who could ask for anything more?
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Last night my friends Alan and Mountain Woman and I saw the movie "15 Minutes." Great acting, a strong cast, good direction and cinematography could not save this film from the bad writing. A let down, for sure.

During one scene I felt it was so derivative, I thought maybe we were watching another movie. Then I realized that DeNiro had been in that one, and this one, too. He almost cakewalked through that scene.

As a film to see on HBO, or to rent on one of those Hollywood Video or Blockbuster $1 specials, this is worthy. For $9 at the dangerous and sinking Palisades Mall in West Nyack, NY, it was way over the top.