Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

I went to a New Year’s party last night with high hopes. I left feeling a little sad and disconnected, but I had a firm resolution for 2001.

My hopes were high because, for the first time in ages, I actually had a full-blown New Year’s party to be excited about. My friend K.T. announced her intention to wed on the 2000 New Year’s Eve 18 months ago, and I’d been anticipating it with glee I hadn’t felt since high school.

In high school, New Year’s meant an extended curfew, a legitimized drinking opportunity, and the possibility that even the dorkiest guy (and believe me, my friends were dorky guys!) could be standing next to an attractive girl when the ball dropped and kisses were sprinkled around the room like fairy dust.

Parties for the New Year were often held at the home of someone whose parents had gone out of town on a ski vacation or a trip to the tropics.  They’d left the kids at home, and the parents’ punishment would be that they had to get the carpets cleaned when they returned.

New Year’s was also the culmination of Christmas break—gifts, time off school, and for me, a number of trips to the slopes for fun ski runs and cups of hot chocolate in the lodge.  All in all, a wonderful time of year.

After I graduated, though, New Year’s was a bust.  For one, Christmas break was a time of quality family time, and time gone on too long at that—by the time New Year’s rolled around, I was ready to get back to my own place.  After college freedom, the quaint notion of an “extended curfew, say, 1:15?” was chafing.  The girlfriend was away with her parents, my car was still down in CA, and oh, by the way, it’s 80 degrees colder in Calgary than L.A., now put on this stupid hat and sing Auld Lang Syne.

And so things went, with the minor exception of the Y2K bunker celebration, until this year, K.T.‘s black tie optional wedding and reception.

I got all dressed up in a rented tux, looking like a cross between James Bond and Hercule Poirot.

The wedding was a stand-up, sit-down Catholic wedding, and the pastor was flown out from Chicago, where he’d been K.T.‘s minister since age three or four. His service was personal and touching.

The reception was held at Hotel Roosevelt on Hollywood Boulevard, and the food was excellent—salmon and roast beef, fresh fruit from every kind of melon, champagne and funny speeches.  The wedding flew by, and soon it was time for the vociferous D.J. to count down to midnight. We all cheered, hugged, danced, danced some more, hugged again and then went out to seek the parking attendant.

But here’s the sad part.

K.T. and I have had our ups and down.  We met ten years ago at the campus paper, where we spent many free hours of many free days together.  We lived in the same house; she moved into the room I was in when I left college for a semester or two.  I helped her on some of her student films.  She was best friends with my best friends.

There were times when we didn’t speak to each other for a while.  There were times when K.T. worried me with the choices she was making in life, and there were times when she made me extremely proud.

I learned from her how to fake an e-mail that looks like it came from the president of the U.S., as well as some other more useful system administration skills. K.T. now works for AOL, doing content and technology, in L.A. She’s a dot-commer, just like me.

Then there was the time she showed up at my apartment in Paris with a boy in tow named Eric.  I was a little shocked at first—somewhat because she looked so healthy and in shape she could probably bench press me, and somewhat because she had short cropped blonde hair instead of longer dark or multicolored hair.

Most shocking, however, was that she was engaged.  Eric had proposed to her within sight of the Eiffel Tower on a bridge over the river Seine.  They were giddy, they were in France, and they were in love.  I was probably in the first fistful of people to learn of their commitment, and I felt honored.

And yet, at her wedding of 120+ people, there were only 8 that I knew the names of. Of those, one was in the wedding party—a wedding party of twelve people.

It’s not the first time I’ve gone to a wedding where I didn’t know very many people.  But it’s the first time I’ve been surprised not to know anyone.  I thought I was a close friend of K.T.‘s.  I know that I ought to be—and I don’t mean that as though I’ve been left out. I mean that, everything in the world would indicate that we’d be friends.

We have everything in common—history, sense of humor, interests, shared experiences. But somehow, we’re not close.

Who is K.T. now? Who is she friends with? Who are those 11 people who stood up beside her as she tied herself in an inseparable knot to Eric Rapp? Who were these people giving speeches in front of the head table, saying that they knew K.T., and and Eric, and sharing their awe.

I came really close to making a speech myself, something like:

“Eric, you have as your wife one of the best people I’ve met ever in my journey through life.

“K.T. is, without hyperbole, one in a thousand. To know her is to have your life enriched.

“You have found and married someone smart, someone caring, someone interesting, someone who can tell stories and who others tell stories about.

“Eric, you have no idea how lucky you are.”

But I didn’t, because I didn’t know how lucky he was.  I didn’t know this room full of people, I didn’t know who K.T. was now, and most sad of all, I don’t yet know Eric.

If that was the end of the story, it would be a downer of a party.  But that’s not all. New Year’s is a time for change, for endings and new beginnings.  I wasn’t going to mope without doing something about it.

My New Year’s resolution list is short this year, and it reads as follows:

1. To be better friends with my better friends.

Happy New Year, K.T., and congratulations.



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Travis Tries Truffles

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I Cut Myself on Broccoli


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