Pot party at the Playboy Mansion.
I back away slowly.
Jeff says douchebags in L.A. are cooler than the ones in Philly. I'm not so sure. I swerve on. Perry Farrell is playing the radio-friendly version of "Let's Get Retarded."
It's almost midnight and the party organizers start herding everyone toward the exit. Although the activist in me feels good, the anthropologist in me is deflated.
Elvis had a nine-way in a suite at the Playboy Mansion. We're out on the lawn talking to a failed porn star. My friend says he feels like he's in Day of the Locust.
Instead of the after-party we go to a diner and dissect our disappointment. What could've made our evening at the Mansion "crazy"? Nothing, really. There isn't much that we hadn't seen before that would've been shocking and awesome.
The night reeked of impossible ambition, a whiff of New Year's Eve times 100. We were plebes.
We can't really be blamed for hoping for a taste of recklessness and indulgence on the level of an entitled few. But I still feel vaguely foolish for having fallen for the illusion, for having thought we could bask in the reflected glory of privileged debauchery.
On the plane ride home I meet a big brawny soldier from L.A. named Gerald who's flying into Fort Dix. We talk about the war a bit. I ask him if he thinks about the politics, and he says not really. He just treats it like a job. He asks me what I did in L.A. I tell him. He laughs and says he'd been to the Mansion too. For his high school prom.