Really and truly, I am not kidding you, our neighbors set up a boxing ring in their backyard and all day long, shirtless guys have been drinking beer and bashing each other in the face. It's delightful. What kind of neighborhood do we live in, you ask, that something like this might happen? It's not the neighborhood's fault! It's the homeowner's fault -- he's a [very nice] National Guardsman who bought the house right when he got back from Iraq, then promptly decided to move to California to marry his pregnant girlfriend. I wholly support that decision, dude, just: sell the house first! Don't rent it to a pit-bull-neglecting, something-sordid-always-happening-in-the-hot-tub, stare-into-space-and-smoke-on-the-porch-all-day, fight-club-having random guy. PLEASE!
I don't know exactly what this guy does for a living (the renter), but it's some kind of skilled labor thing like underwater welding where he travels a lot for long jobs, and when he's gone, for months at a time, a loserly rotation of friends dogsits for the pitbulls. This is typical weird (though not obnoxious or noisy) behavior of the house-sitters: sit on the back porch for hours, smoke, stare at nothing. Not a book in sight. Who does that? You know, I read a book recently in which this one character was a brilliant theoretical physicist, and her job was just to sit and think of other dimensions and stuff. So, maybe they're not at all losers. Maybe they're physicists. But I don't think so.
Anyway, primary renter guy is back for the summer, and his first act, apparently, is fight club. Jim said to me last night after taking Leroy out into the yard: "I think they built a boxing ring in the backyard." It hardly seemed plausible, though it did indeed look like nothing but a boxing ring. I thought it was probably too much to hope they were staking out a vegetable garden! And this morning, the usual posse of friends assembled and started to grow. And grow. And grow. And then the boxing gloves came out. And the hitting. And the cheering, and the dinging of bells. Goth chicks with mohawks and neck braces on the porch cheering. Beer.
Jim immediately started scrolling through real-estate websites, as if it would be possible for us to move now, today.
Just out of curiosity I called the police (non-emergency line) to ask if backyard boxing is legal, and it turns out it IS. Goody! It might have been my imagination, but I think the lady on the phone took a little pleasure in assuring me there was nothing to be done. "Parties are not illegal," she said coolly. I formed a picture of her in my mind, based on the fact that boxing is, to her, "a party."
Anyway, it's getting dark now, and they've been at it all day, and now they're starting in on fireworks. I love them. I love them so much. And that boxing ring, it looks built to last. I'm guessing this might be a regular summer thing. Yay! (Okay, okay, it wasn't really that bad. They didn't really make that much noise, and they didn't have loud music, and as far as I know, no one died and was buried in the corner. As far as I know. It just takes a little getting used to, I guess.)
Anyway, boxing and all, I still managed to have a good revising day. I did bad things to good characters, as a writer often must. (And I enjoyed it a little. Is that wrong?)
By the way, and this is much more important than boxing: today makes SEVEN YEARS OF WEDDED BLISS to THIS wonderful man. Seven years ago today we got married in Berkeley, and every year, though I seem to like people in general less and less all the time, I like -- and love -- Jim more and more, even when it doesn't seem possible I could like and love him more than I already do! We get along better than any couple I have ever met or heard of, we almost always feel like doing the same thing, whether it is staying in or going out, eating veggie corndogs for lunch, seeing a movie, watching nothing buy Buffy for months in a row; and we always like and dislike (and sort-of-like) the same people, and we can [almost] communicate telepathically when we are watching a stupid play and want to mock the actors without making them feel bad. (That happened last night. I say "almost telepathically" because it in fact required discreet hand pressure. But I feel quite certain we were transmitting whole disdainful sentences to each other by means of subtle thumb pressure! Oh, and we have a short tune we hum that means "thank you," instead of saying "thank you," and a hand signal that means "beam me out of here now," and we have a code word, just in case either one of us ever suspects the other of being an imposter, but I can't remember what the code word is!! Hmmm. That could be a problem. . .
It's me, I swear. Sweetie . . .?
(Oh wait, I just asked Jim, and he doesn't remember the code word either. Oh my god. Do you think that means we are both imposters?? And if we are does that mean that maybe the real "us's" (I don't think there is a plural form of "us") are living together elsewhere, perhaps in a villa? With servants? And no backyard boxing?)
Check out the awesome sculpted Goth circus chick Jim got me for an anniversary gifty:
In fact, he went a little nutty on Etsy and bought a small slew of awesome sculptures, but they have not all arrived yet. And I, in return, gifted him with Radiohead tickets for later this summer. Radiohead is Jim's favorite band and he has never seen them live, and this is an act of love for me, because I am not really a joyful concert goer. I know, I know you don't understand, something's wrong with me, etc etc, but I just get bored at concerts, even really good ones, and ten minutes in I'm just wishing desperately for a book and a flashlight!! But, this once, I can do it. I'm interested. Everyone says they're great live, that they're geniuses beyond my comprehension, and that Thom Yorke has a spastic stage presence, which should be entertaining.
Aside from the mock-worthy play last night, we had dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant, Bombay Cricket Club. Love it!
My favorite thing there, which I must invariably order, the chicken tikka masala:
And here's Jim, about to confront his favorite drink, the infamous "snake shake."
On the way home, we were beside a HumVee limo for blocks, and I think it must have been a middle-school graduation celebration, because young girls were hanging out its windows for three blocks yelling that they loved my hair. That made me feel good!
P.S. Oh, when I told Alexandra I'd gotten Radiohead tickets for Jim, she said, "That doesn't sound so fun. We should go to Barry Manilow. He's coming." And she was serious, bless her heart. Barry Manilow.