I knew I was in for a long night when the opening band didn’t start until after the hour headliners usually wrap it up. My best friend’s band had scored their biggest gig yet opening for Arcade Fire. I’d never been to the venue before and being that it was too small for a group like Arcade Fire—a sort of snubbed nose gymnasium with retractable wooden stadium seating and a balcony, but too small for a basketball court—gobs of people were everywhere. Magically, though, an area seemed to clear everywhere I went, even when I was pogoing on the center floor to James’ music in the brightly lit auditorium. It was then I noticed that a singer for his now sizable back-up band, which previously had fluctuated from two to three and back again, was another friend, John Thomas. Pretty strange since they live on opposite coasts; I hadn’t even been aware that he and James stayed in touch. But there he was, contributing to every song of the set, which other than the opener was entirely new material that focused on the full band sound.
It wasn’t until the after party that I came face to face with John. We were two quiet moths in a swarm of loud partiers when John took a seat across from me and I noticed that he looked like an amalgamation of his younger selves, like a 90-pound weakling college freshman with an 8th grade haircut. I called his name across the modest dining table, but the words must have flown out the darkened window before they could make it to his ear. My facial expressions insisted on eye contact until he confusingly responded to my persistent calls of his name. He said he wasn’t John. I got mad.
These are just early glimpses of one of my rare all-nighters. I made appearances at numerous parties crowded with people, who strangely were all younger than me. It ended serenely at the purple hour of dawn where, taking in the stillness of the moment, I stood outside a crab shack with budding feelings of new love—someone I knew from high school drama club with whom I had recently reconnected on Facebook (though admittedly she’d never crossed my mind between friending her and running into each other that night, just as she’d never crossed my mind between curtain call senior year and seeing her name in my Friend Requests). We stood on a thin strip of land between two bodies of water—specifically an isthmus, though I didn’t know this at the time—marveling that we now occupied the space between day and night: one direction showed the clear horizon changing color, while the cloud covered sky overhead only got darker until far away in the other direction, somewhere, it was still midnight.
But my Glass family ramblings haven’t just gotten me off-topic, it has missed the focus completely. Somewhere between confronting John Thomas’ doppelganger and the purple dawn I stopped in at an all-night backroad ice cream shoppe. I asked the owner what flavors he still had in stock. He named a litany of old standards, but one stood out as strange. “Douglas Fir?” “Douglas Fir.”
The Pacific Northwest is full of weird places, but they are far surpassed by the dream world. I mean, as far as dessert goes, how do you figure choosing conifer trees over deciduous?