Dinner and Losers

My cousin Betsy got married on June 19. The night before, Betsy's father (my uncle) hosted a banquet for friends and family, most of whom flew in from all over Asia for the weekend.

10:00 PM
—You're driving too fast!
—I'm only going 40 mph.
—That's too fast!
—Winston, turn the music down.
—That's too fast!
—house of
—Drive slower!
—jealous lovers
—Drive slower?
—house of
—I'm going 40 in a 35!
—jealous lovers
—That's too fast! Slow down!

9:45 PM
—Jon, your father had a little too much wine to drink tonight. He's in no condition to drive guests back to the hotel. I'll drive them back and you take daddy and Winston home.
9:15 PM
—So how long are you in the Bay Area for? asked Tom.
—About a week. I flew up for the wedding and a…a concert.
—What concert?

In my head, I ran through all the musical acts that played at the radio station festival for one that a late-twenty-something lawyer currently based in Shanghai would be familiar with.

Death Cab for Cutie? No. Dizzee Rascal? No.

—Oh. Um…the Beastie Boys?

At this point, my father turned to me and proclaimed —The BEASTIE BOYS? Wooooow! Why didn't you tell me you saw the Beastie Boys?

This from a man who listens to The Best of Neil Diamond and the last Celine Dion album in his car.

8:22 PM
—Can I get another jack and coke?
8:20 PM
My cousin Judy tapped me on the shoulder.
—You seeing anyone?
—Ha. No.
—Well, you better knock some girl up soon. Heh.
—[sigh] I know, I know. No pressure…
8:00 PM
Tom and Eva arrived late.

My mother had been eagerly awaiting their arrival because she wanted to see their eight-month-old daughter Lauren.

As soon as they entered the room, my mother jumped up from her seat and commandeered their child. Eva's mother literally had to pry her granddaughter from my mother's arms so other people could spend time with her.

While she couldn't have the baby to herself, for the rest of the evening, my mother directed her full attention toward it. It was as if nothing in the room existed besides her and the baby. When she wasn't holding it, my mother would hover over whoever happened to be holding the baby and play with it. I'd never seen her so happy in my life.

7:30 PM
During the third course of the meal, the speaker in the ceiling panel above me started playing a muzak version of the Godfather theme.
7:05 PM
—Give me a jack and coke.
7:00 PM
—Hey everybody!

Mrs. Huang approached our table with her late-twenty-something son Sunny. He looked and talked like William Hung.

—Sunny recently got a job in Los Angeles. He has his own business cards now.

Yes, good ol' Sunny brought a box of business cards to a pre-wedding banquet. He handed me one.

—California Republican Party. Sunny Huang. Office Warden.

Oh man, I thought.

—Jonason. Ah you legistahd to vote?
—Who ah you going to vote foh?

Would you like to know my social security number too? How about my penis size?

—I…I don't know yet.

—Vote Republican! Support the Republican Party! Mrs. Huang interjected.I faked a smile and nodded.

—Will do…

As the two GOP FOBs returned to their table, I noticed a label stuck on the back of Sunny's business card.


6:45 PM
—Winston, aren't you going to eat?
—After I finish this chapter.
—The fuck are you reading?

My brother showed me the cover of the book.

—How can you read that fantasy shit?
—I like it.
—Let me guess. This one's about dragons and fairies, right? You like fairies?
—They're not fairies! [pause] They're elves.