Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saint Mary of the Angels

September has, once again, proven to keep me busy. Most of the month's preoccupations have been centered on our new apartment, and most happily. After a few weeks of house-arranging flurry, we finally got ourselves to the good part: a housewarming party. I must say, with all due modesty, that it was quite the event. With three roommates, and our powers combined, we drew a fabulous crowd. A packed house, a lot of booze, and even a love connection or two amongst our guests made us all very pleased with ourselves both during the party and in these days following.

Hosting parties is something that brings me enormous pleasure, and I've often wondered why. I think probably the combination of the stimulus and the constant attention is a pleasing one for me. I've come to realize that I really do love working a room; bouncing from person to person and feeling that I have something to say to each. When you're hosting, you never get stuck too long in the corner with the person who wants to talk about his rock collection, or the ex-boyfriend that she is just better off without. There's always the next guest you have to greet, the music crisis to be solved, the corkscrew that only you can find. It's a big cocoon of people who came to see you and talk to you and have fun with you. Loud, alcohol-soaked fun.

The fun does wear off a little when it's 4am and you're pushing that last group of dudes, friends of a friend's friend, out the door. But then there are stories to be told, cans to be picked up, and all of Saturday to sleep and loll around and repeat all the funny stories over and over again. My college roommate came to visit this weekend, and she woke up exclaiming about how fun Chicago is. Even Saturday's trip to the super-hip dance club felt a little anti-climatic after all of Friday's hullaballoo.

But today is Sunday. The house is mostly clean, the fridge almost devoid of beer, and homework waits to my left. Friday's Indian Summer heat finally left and we didn't break 70 today. It's fall - it smells like leaves and everything feels cozier. The guests are gone, and KC and I had a nice "reading time" (read: nap time) on the couch before an impromptu beer in the hood.

Our new neighborhood, in addition to having several most interesting bars, is home to a gorgeous old church. I have walked past it a few times, and ascertained that it is indeed Catholic. So tonight, after the fortifying beer, I walked up the somewhat imposing stairs and found a seat for the 7:15 Mass. The church proved as beautiful on the inside as on the outside, though not as quiet.

I wish I could say something about connecting with Mass, but the service was overly traditional for my tastes. I can say, though, that the hour was not a wasted one. After all these years of neglect, there's still something comforting for me in a Catholic Mass. Though I usually don't get much out of the actual content, the ritual of the thing is familiar, and in putting me on autopilot it lets me get some good thinking done. An interesting cap to a standout weekend, if nothing else. After all the performing, all the talking, and laughing and dancing, it was certainly a relief to sit anonymously, with no one to please but myself. I guess they can't all be parties.