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2001-08-28 - 4:13 p.m.

It rained last night. It rained like it never rains in Austin. First the clouds rolled in, and then the wind picked up, and then the air became eerie and quiet. When the rain finally came, it came down in sheets, and I watched from the front porch until the wind shifted, and I started getting wet.

There was a party that night, a going-away party for Jeremy and Stephanie, ubercouple. I didnít really want to leave the house (I felt so at home for once, with the rain beating on the roof, and Rushmore was on Comedy Central), but the time when I was never invited anywhere is still quite fresh in my mind, so now I go to almost everything, regardless of desire, stockpiling the memories of these events in case of another social drought.

The usual suspects were there, braving the flooded streets and pouring down rain, convincing ourselves that we were adventurous, rather than bored and lonely at the prospect of spending another night alone. And we asked each other how we were, and we said fine, and we were all lying, every single one of us. And I made small talk and smiled and nodded when necessary, but I wasnít really listening, couldnít you tell? That all the while you thought I was listening to you, I was listening to that other conversation, the one that is surely more interesting than the one we are having. And beyond that was the rain, and I didnít so much want a cigarette as I wanted to be on the porch, with the smokers, watching the rain, feeling the rogue raindrops splashing on my face.

From the corner of my eye, I could see John staring, with a languorous smile on his face. He wasnít talking; he doesnít pretend.

And Rob was on the couch, making conversation, always making conversation, and his genial smile belied his new haircut.

I wonder if it is possible to have a conversation without introducing all the expository information from your life into it. I know all that about you. Canít we just move on?

And donít we know, surely we know, that weíre better than this?

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