077: Colour-blind

Alternative forms: color blind, color-blind, colour blind; Adjective: colour-blind (comparative more colour-blind, superlative most colour-blind) Of a person or animal, unable to distinguish between two or more primary colours (usually red and green), OR Of a person who hold no prejudice based on skin colour, or of a process which precludes racial prejudice.

That’s not an auspicious way to preface the first post of the year. Nevertheless, I feel lucky for 2013.

“Tween pavement and stars is the chimney sweep world.”

Felix, Hong, Steven, and Alvin came yesterday; there would have been more, but some couldn’t make it and others cancelled at the last second. Hong came first; we talked and I played a little piano. Felix followed; he brought a gift for me (“John Coltrane Plays for Lovers” – I was touched!) too! We talked some more and watched a bit of Pewdiepie. Some ping-pong later came Steven, the stiffness in our conversation went right out the window. It’s hard to be quiet or awkward with such a merry crew en masse. Then Alvin joined us, and we all ate Dad’s pizza for dinner, and washed it down with sugary fizzy drinks.

Then began the gamefest: Mario Party, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Mario Kart – Alvin left us around eleven, unfortunately – we played until a quarter to midnight, when we paused to see the countdown. All we saw was a low-resolution replay of the Times Square deal with the timing off by a few seconds, but the experience together made it special.

Somebody (across the creek, I thought) was setting off fireworks. We gathered at the rear window to watch, and agreed that watching it outside would be a better view. One last firework (it was the loudest, the brightest, and the most beautiful) went off after we congregated at the corner of the lawn. At my suggestion, we piled into Felix’s car and headed out to Leland to sightsee.

“I think we look really sketchy,” I commented.

“Four little Asian guys walking across a school parking lot at night, one of whom is wearing a scarf. That’s not sketch at all,” quipped Felix.

There were deer out front! Ignoring them, we walked around and reminisced a little, entering via the G-wing portables. We passed the speech room. “Do you think there’re guards out here?” I asked nervously. “Why would there be? Why aren’t we allowed here? It’s public property,” said Felix. “Not like we’re ruining anything.”

I demonstrated how to climb the purple cage, but decided (at the others’ suggestion) not to climb onto the roof from there (“Like I have the athletic ability [to join you],” said Steven).

I leaped onto the stage under “that purple thing” and shouted to the night: “Alas, Poor Yorick! I knew him well.” Funny looks were directed at me. “I’ve always wanted to say something stupid out here in the open when nobody could hear me.” Felix center-kicked a lion painted onto one of the supports, and we moved on.

A light was lit in the girls’ lavatory by the cafeteria, and the vending machines hummed quietly. I pulled curiously on the door (it was locked) and the others examined a vending machine not in its cage. Eventually we headed to the back, and I fairly ran to the sheds by the bathrooms which I once climbed on top of. They were fenced off, but one of the gates was ajar and provided excellent footholds to clamber onto (provided you didn’t torque the gate into opening up, which swung you out and away from the shed). From there I mounted the shed roof – a somewhat dangerous move because it felt like the flimsy material would cave in on me. From there I made a leap across a little gap (less than half a meter, but still potentially dangerous because of the potential shed-height fall) and hoisted myself onto the bathroom roof. Felix and Hong clambered up too, but I warned them about the shed-top and the jump and asked them not to follow me; “We’ll meet up at the purple, all right?”

And so I began my short sojourn across the Leland rooftop.

There were puddles, slime, pipes, and catwalks – I clambered around, across, and above the many obstacles and things of interest. I worked my way over to the quad and waved my phone flash at them, then continued on my way to the cage. Once or twice I thought I saw something move, but it was just my imagination. I cast a half-worried look over at the well-lit parking lot to check for any unwanted visitors.

When the time came to drop down onto the fence of the purple cage, I was actually quite nervous – it was a long way down with plenty of things to bash a limb or head on. Worse, I could snag my scarf and make a nasty scene.

I had a false start, almost putting my feet out into thin air – I hoisted myself back up, though, and lowered myself down proper on the second try. I straddled the purple cage and then worked my way down easily. “Another happy landing,” I said with a smile. I had put my hands straight into the slime for the descent.

[Note: I think the vending machine thingy and the girls’ lavatory might have happened THIS time when we headed around  back. Whatever.]

We entered through the parking lot entrance to the baseball field, went around, and went inwards to the soccer field where the SJCS soccer team played so often in my later years. I chose the venue because a row of houses across the creek shielded us from the streetlamps, and the field was at a lower elevation than its surroundings (e.g. Bret Harte).

The moon was bright. The stars were bright. We were in a little snowglobe of the night, with the snowflakes stuck to the blackened glass and set aglow. So many little twinkling pinpricks. I thought I had seen a lot from the roof, but I was almost speechless here. We just watched and watched.

We spent a good ten minutes trying to find the North Star as we left, but our efforts proved fruitless.

A few pictures later, we said our goodbyes and good-nights. We had spent the first hour of our new year under the stars. Ah, to be single – and yet to be in such good company!

J39M

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