Moon Worship

Saturday, July 23rd, 2005 | Food, Friends

Last night I attended a Lunar Society dinner at John’s. Unlike intellectually challenging dinners of years past (I’ve been going since the late 80’s), this dinner was tilted decidedly in favor of cuteness. It began interestingly enough with a female guest, A_, in the parlor with her husband, and I immediately remarked how excited I was to see a woman at the dinner, as the last and only woman whom I’ve ever seen at a Lunar Society dinner was Zoe _, around the time of the Persian Gulf war and the Navy’s attempted dismissal of her. A_ responded that actually she lived next door, with her husband, a former owner of Big Internet Company, it turns out, who became quite wealthy when the business was sold to Even Bigger Internet Company, and that they were just joining us for drinks. They’re now living in the house that Lana Turner’s daughter, who stabbed and killed Johnny Stompanato, used to call home. A guest of theirs stopped by, looking for them, and joined us for a while. He was a former documentary filmmaker turned home-theater specialist, who went to the Art Institute a few years before I did. We chatted about the experimental film scene here in the 60’s and 70’s, and the current transition of intellectual property.

The theme of the evening was red, and at the appointed time to toast the moon, John remarked how Mars, the red planet, was going to be at its closest to earth in a long time, and if viewed through a certain telescope would appear to be as large as the moon. “But the moon is always just like the moon,” he said, and we drank to the moon and its circuitous relation to the evening’s theme.

John is an epidemiologist, and thus consumed by numbers, so everyone was given a medallion to wear indicating his numerical hierarchy within the society. John is always Number one. I was Number Three this year, seated next to Number Two, whose job it was to entertain the people on our end of the table. He was quite an enjoyable fellow, having moved to the city in the 70s and full of interesting tales of gay days gone by. Everyone else was younger than I, except one other guy who thought I was older than he, and he was in his mid 40s. Sigh. He said it was the gray sideburns that gave me a “distinguished” air. He was one of the many “retired” guys around my age, who talked flippantly about this and that. Most of my attempts to lead the conversation into lively territory were quickly diverted. The guy who sat across from me, in response to a mini-conversation about terrorism (Number Two was going to London in a few weeks), remarked that he’s ready for any biological attack against San Francisco, always carrying around a bottle of Purrell in his “man bag” for just such an emergency. He was a real sweetie, a defense attorney with plenty of interesting and trashy tales of seedy criminals unsuccessfully seeking retribution through the civil courts. Somebody passed around a pipe at one point and I took a few puffs. Following the cocktails, wine, and my limoncello (which I brought and served with John’s dessert), I grew quite anxious about what might come out of my mouth, so I just sat back a bit from the conversation to hear psychedelic pieces of this and that. John described some list of something, I just remember the numbers, but I think he was telling someone about the Tibetan levels of hell, and another former cop described his new career as an internet purveyor of Asian porn. (His card promised “Interesting Design” in addition to “The Hottest Asian Studs on the ‘Net”).

I stared for a long time at the clock on the dining room wall, which has the hands running backwards, with numbers placed in a counter-clockwise arrangement. When I figured out that it was 11:45, I grabbed my coach and fled back to BC’s before turning into a slightly pickled pumpkin.

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