Appearing by popular (and unpopular) demand, here's part two of the Worst Party of my Life. Part one took me up to the invitation, which was offered over a plate of horrendously hot hot wings.
Even though I'd agreed to come to Lindsay's party, I was a bit skeptical. As far as I knew, Lindsay had one friend other than me, and this guy was not exactly the most entertaining company. His name was Doug. He had a sculpted shell of dark hair and aviator glasses perched permanently on his nose. He was jowly and stocky, with a ridiculously fine nose and tiny mouth that indented the centre of his face. He had the look of someone with a garage full of army rations and rifles under a tarp. Lindsay had been particularly enthusiastic about setting up coffee between the three of us. He had described Doug as a "brilliant schizophrenic" with tremendous insights into the treatment of mental health. He had wowed a group of doctor in California, Lindsay told me, shaking his head to emphasize the degree of wowing Doug had worked.
At coffee I tried to elicit some of the insights that Lindsay had promised, but Doug preferred to talk about highways. Doug spent his summers hitchhiking around the States, and he could describe each stretch of road he'd traveled, its junctions and signs, the condition of each road and every stretch of repair work he'd encountered.
Worse, he would describe every road in the same fashion, starting with route number, major service points, road conditions and friendliness to hitchhikers. I made the mistake of trying to keep the roads straight in my head, but Doug's autistic recall overwhelmed my short-term memory. I figured that the trick was to block out the highway bits and catch the bits of story sandwiched in between, but after half an hour I understood that there was nothing between the roads. One road merged with another, branched off to a side route, came round to the trunk artery again. I pictured the world in Doug's mind, an endless tangle of bridges and underpasses, service roads and rights-of-way, with all the cities no more than a few fast food huts and outlet malls clustered around the exits. My god, Lindsay said after Doug had left, that man is brilliant. A bit fixed on highways, but brilliant.
Who else is coming to the party? I asked Lindsay.
Well, he said, there's Doug. He liked you.
I showed up anyway.
That's all for today, folks. I'm still under the weather, and this one needs a degree of concentration that my spacy brain won't permit. The rest forthcoming, as soon as the Feather Duster of Health clears away the Cobwebs of Sick. Lucky for me, I live in Canada, so my Feather Duster is free. But I have to wait six months for it.