So I just finished sanding and repainting the part of our fence along the sidewalk. When I got home last night my wife informed me that all our neighbors are redoing their fences now.


The joke’s on them: next spring we’re painting our house.

Something on the radio this morning about an event to commemorate a picnic on the Austrian/Hungarian border 20 years ago. This is what happened: 20 years ago, they had a picnic. They. A peace thing. And they temporarily took down the fence. And as soon as they did, a zillion East Germans vacationing in Hungary shot across the border into Austria.

One thing led to another, and there I was, in a living room outside Tokyo, holding a baby in my arms and crying as I watched news footage of the Berlin wall coming down. In the memory I am drinking champagne, but I suspect only the people on TV were, and I was wishing I could share it with them.

Maybe I’ll drink some this weekend with the baby, when she and her little sister get back from their trip to the States.

One thing led to another, and there I stood at a urinal in the Moscow airport, and Boris Yeltsin walked in and we took a leak together, a couple urinals apart. Not the linty, grey, puffy, gobsmacked-looking Yeltsin, either, but the tall, silver-haired, handsome, charismatic Yeltsin, on his way to a book-signing or something.

One thing led to another, and there I stood last night at a diplomatic reception, watching gate-crashers getting de-crashed. Potential gate-crashers please listen: they are looking for you. They will throw your ass out if they catch you.

Gate-crashing tips:

  1. Don’t bother. Just get yourself invited.
  2. If you are going to try anyway, render yourself invisible to the anti-gate-crasher people, as follows.
  3. Appearance: Look like everyone else. Don’t overdress, don’t underdress. For a diplomatic reception/garden party, a nice suit with matching shoes and tie is okay. Also haircut and facial hair should not look too feral. Women: nice dress. Not too long, not too short either. One woman was wearing trousers last night. She had an invitation. Note: if you have a genuine invitation, wear whatever you want.
  4. Arrival time: don’t come too early or too late, when the AGC people have lots of time for you. Come a few minutes after the party is scheduled to start, during the crush.
  5. Story: This is key. Both tossees last night messed this part up. Actually, they messed everything up, which is where I got this list. Don’t change your story. Don’t claim to be from an obviously non-existent organization. Don’t claim to be from somewhere famous, either, where the AGC people know all the invitees. Claim to be from somewhere obscure, but known, where there is a good chance of someone inviting someone at the last minute or something.
  6. If you can’t make your own realistic-looking invitation to present at the door, make at least a realistic-looking business card from your “organization” to lend credence to your story. And have genuine ID matching the name on the business card, which will therefore be your own name. In case they ask for it.
  7. Don’t insist on getting in. This just draws attention to you. Be all apologetic for forgetting your invitation, while sort of implying that there will be hell to pay but, sure, fine, you understand their position, but they’ll hear about it, later, maybe, sure, you’re going if that’s what they want. And then leave.
  8. Because if you sneak in anyway, law enforcement officers will escort you out and that’s embarrassing, even if they are discrete about it.
  9. This is all theoretical, based on mistakes I saw made last night. I haven’t tried crashing a party like this yet. I imagine it’s basically impossible where they have an actual guest list and you’re not on it.

One response to “Fences

  1. Thanks for the advice. Now if only I knew someone who was having a fancy party…. and if only I owned a dress…