Record 9: Glendale, California, Friday July 5th, 2013. Day.
For weeks Dax had planned his 4th of July celebration. It was to take place in his new home’s back yard, at approximately 2:00 p.m. He was expecting over 20 guests, mainly colleagues from the printing company he had begun working at a month prior, and whom he had gotten to know over beers and marijuana smoke 2 – 3 times a week.
He had been accepted by the clique of nerds almost immediately, it seemed. There was no inquisition as to who Dax was, or where Dax was from. The nerds simply shook Dax’s hand, showed him their favorite Instagram photos, and cordially went on conversing like the day was any other. They were happy. Effortlessly so. And Dax was happy. Effortlessly so, as well.
He had prepared for the day’s festivities, which would include the following: beer pong and flip cup. Dax wasn’t familiar with many other games. He hoped his new friends had other ideas. Surely they would. And if not, Dax wasn’t worried. Not in the least, he’d have you know. Dax’s friends were going to have a hazy-fun time, and he knew it.
Why such confidence? Dax was not normally a proud man, but today he was more than certain his friends would be satisfied with the revelry he had in store. They had to be, for Dax was going to provide their favorite PBR beer. And so he told his colleagues not to bring anything in the way of alcohol. He had that covered, he announced in the break lounge, trying not to sound boastful. The colleagues agreed, nodding their heads almost in unison. Dax smiled, drank some Folgers from a Styrofoam cup, and went back to printing, abnormally motivated.
That morning, after Dax situated his new Crate and Barrel patio table on his freshly cut back yard grass (which he mowed himself, dammit, the old-fashioned American way), he put the finishing touches on a ten foot high gazebo he’d built with his hands and some tools. He stood back, center-lawn, admiring his decorative edifice, sure that his guests would stand about, laughing at one another’s almost-too-inappropriate jokes, and patting Dax on the back for doing such a great job with the gazebo that he built himself with his bare hands (and some tools). “How long did it take you to build?” They might ask. And he might answer: “2 weeks,” which was, of course, the right answer. Dax was not a fan of lying to friends.
Dax spent the rest of his morning tidying up his one bedroom home. He took great care in doing so. He vacuumed, thoroughly, for an hour. He took out his trash. He wiped down the kitchen counters with a Clorox disinfectant wipe. He dusted his living room. He fluffed his couch’s throw pillows – red, white, and blue, because he was in the spirit – and plugged in a Glade Scented PlugIn that made his living room smell like clean linen. Satisfied with a job well done, he hopped in the shower, threw on his board shorts, his best neon shirt (with cut-off sleeves), and had a light breakfast of egg whites and Kombucha. After his light breakfast, he headed straight to BevMo.
He pushed an empty cart through aisles of expensive and unheard of liquors and beers until he found a wall lined with fridges. Dax scanned each fridge meticulously; careful not to pass over the beer he coveted so greatly. By the time he reached the final fridge, he was tense, and his armpits were sweating.
“Can I help you find something?” A very pretty BevMo employee asked.
Dax wanted to hug her and tell her she was a great gift from the heavens, but instead he just asked where he could find the PBR beer.
“Ah.” The employee said. “You’re in the right spot.”
She pointed at the fridge’s bottom shelf and Dax smiled big, his eyes dilating at the sight of his options. They had a 6 pack, a 12 pack, an 18 pack, and a 30 pack.
“Anything else I can help you with?” The employee asked.
Dax told her he was just fine, thank you, and loaded his cart, placing a bag of ice atop the PBR beer, to keep it cold.
Dax was satisfied, and ready to get on with his day.
It was 1:00 p.m. by the time Dax returned home.
He dashed into the kitchen from his one car garage and stuffed the beer into the fridge, removing his own minimal groceries in order to make room.
It was now that Dax wished he had invited the BevMo employee to his 4th of July get-together. He wondered why he hadn’t, and then realized, he was in quite a rush. And for what? To get home to load his fridge with beer? His friends and colleagues wouldn’t be arriving for another hour. Right? He checked his iPhone. 1:03 p.m.
There was still time.
Dax hopped into his red Prius and backed out of the garage, turning left onto Colorado Boulevard. He sped north toward the Americana, hitting every possible green light on the way.
Dax smiled. Dax checked his phone, and, yes, there was still time to spare.
Dax arrived at BevMo at 1:23 p.m. He marched right up to the employee, who was counting back change to a young man customer wearing a v-neck shirt.
Dax politely waited for the young man to leave, and when he did, Dax said this to the employee:
“You might remember me. I was just in here, buying some PBR beer.” Dax cleared his throat and shoved his hands in his pockets. “I bought the PBR beer because I’m having a 4th of July get-together at my house. With some friends and colleagues. Would you maybe like to join?”
She smiled at Dax and said: “Sure. Yeah. That sounds like fun.”
Dax was floored. He was smiley and goofed-up now, so he said: “That’s so cool.”
Then there was a pause, and Dax didn’t like this.
“Oh. Let me give you my address.” Dax took out his iPhone. “What’s your number? I’ll text it.”
The employee told him, and Dax gave her his address. She told Dax that she’d show up after her shift ended at 3:00 p.m.
“Fantastic.” Dax said. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back home. My friends will be there any minute.”
Upon returning home, all giddy and in-the-clouds feeling as Dax was, his phone vibrated with a text message. Dax sat down on his clean couch and read this, from his colleague: hey man! we showed up to your place and no one was home!
Dax sat in shock. Surely they’d be coming back, right?
Dax texted this: I’m home now. are you coming back?
Dax waited, anxiously, in his living room. He paced. He sat back down. He perused the Internet, clicking on BuzzFeed lists and quizzes, attempting in vain to think of anything other than being stood up.
5 minutes passed.
And on the 15th minute, Dax’s doorbell rang.
Dax scrambled to his feet. He darted to the door. He exhaled slowly. He wished he had a peephole.
Dax pulled the door open with one swift yank, and there stood all his new colleagues. His new friends. Each of them carrying a 6 or 12 pack of PBR beer.
They smiled and laughed hard, ambling into the house and patting Dax on the back, saying things like “Got ya!” and “Did you really think we wouldn’t show up?”
Dax didn’t want to tell them that, yes, it had occurred to him that they might not show up, and that he was infinitely relieved when they had. But instead he closed the door and turned to his friends and said “Happy 4th!”
They raised their beers: “Happy 4th Dax!”
And everyone cheered. They all thanked Dax, buzzed and relax-brained, for having them over, and handed Dax a PBR beer. He opened it, took a sip, and tried to hide a smile while thinking about the BevMo employee.