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Feb 2003 / from the source :: email this story to a friend

The Matrix Unfolded
By Ajay Zutshi

I live across the street from Lynn. Lynn used to work for Landmarks, an organization of which I happen to be a member. A couple of doors down is Dave, who is a former president of an organization on whose board I now serve.

Dave is also in a band — along with Kurt and Jenna — that I saw recently at the Way Out Club. The Way Out Club is run by Sherri and Bob, who appear regularly on KDHX, community radio for St Louis. KDHX had an event at Compton Hill Reservoir Park over the summer at which I volunteered.

My friend Traci was also (coincidentally) volunteering in the same tent. She lives a few blocks west of me and writes for a local magazine. This same magazine recently had an article about interesting young St Louisians, and one of the people featured was my friend Christina.

Christina and I serve on the board of the organization I mentioned earlier. In fact, she will be the next president of this group, which is a title my neighbor Dave used to have.

Dave is married to Mary Lisa, whom I don't know particularly well. However, her younger brother John was a student of mine when I was a teacher at Mary Institute/Country Day School a long time ago.

I left MICDS and I left teaching almost six years ago. I thought that part of my life was over, but I was wrong. My current employer is a company with four partners, and two of them, Dale and Don, had or still have children at MICDS.

Unsurprisingly enough, when I was a teacher I had Dale's son in my class and in my homeroom. He was in 8th grade and ready to be a surly teen and I was fresh out of college with no real-world experience, which did not make for as good a chemistry as you might think. When I discovered this fact during my first interview here, I was ready to get my parking validated and go home — I didn't think I'd get the job. But somehow things worked out and I'm still employed.

Another duty of mine while at MICDS was coaching wrestling. The other night I was hanging out in a bar waiting for my friend Jenn, who was bringing some of her friends along with her. When Jenn showed up she introduced me to her friend Nicole, and before she could say anymore, I introduced myself to Nicole's companion saying, "Barrett, I'm Ajay Zutshi and I was one of your wrestling coaches at MICDS." Barrett's face fell, and I understand he's still somewhat shaken up by the experience.

This same friend, Jenn, recently met my friend Angi, and it turns out that they used to be friends — maybe, I don't know, four or five years ago? Over time, they had lost touch with each other the way two people often do. But in St Louis you're never more than a few Kevin Bacon-esque steps removed from anyone else, so they happened to meet again through me.

I renewed my friendship with Angi when she and a friend joined me and a bunch of folks at the St Louis International Film Fest for an Indian movie. Afterwards we retired to the Delmar Lounge for drinks and discussion. The Delmar Lounge is run by a guy named Doug, who's not a friend of mine, per se — but he was volunteering at the same KDHX event Traci and I volunteered at and in fact, we were all in the same tent together.

Back to KDHX: I listen to this station often, and I've volunteered at a couple of their events. My friend Amanda has a show on KDHX with another neighbor of mine, Thomas. It so happens that Amanda is one of Angi's landlords, but that's not important. What's important here is that another host on KDHX is a guy I don't know who goes by Bruce B.

Bruce was my ex-wife's lawyer in her first divorce. She divorced her first husband, Eric, who I used to play rugby with a long time ago when I was younger and thinner and more fit. I met my ex-wife because we were both working at MICDS at that time. After we got married, I stopped playing rugby because it was too awkward being on the same team as my wife's ex-husband.

The other day I was going out with my karaoke buddy Kelly (who has also served on the board of the same organization I now serve) and she had to meet a friend of hers, Patti, at a bar in south city called Boo's. When we got there we saw a sign on the door saying "Closed — Private Party," but we went in anyway because we didn't know what else to do.

I'm in the door maybe two seconds when a guy at the bar calls out, "Ajay! What are you doing here!? I didn't know you were invited!" I say to him, "Paul? What are you talking about? I wasn't invited to anything."

He tells me it's Terry's 50th birthday party and points to the wall. Lo and behold, there's the logo of my old rugby team on a big sign on the wall! I quit the team almost eight years ago, but now Eric has moved on and I'm no longer married to his ex, so it was like a big old reunion. Beers were drunk and stories were told and apologies were said.

As we were leaving, Kelly tried to introduce me to her friend Kevin, who is the chef at Frazer's Traveling Brown Bag restaurant. He had cooked a dish for the rugby party that night.

However, I had already met Kevin a few years back when my friend Ted had a big backyard blowout barbeque. Kevin is a friend of his, and so Kevin cooked up a big ol' pot of paella and it was dee-lish.

Ted is a home-brew dude and his brew-buddies brought over all their little pony kegs of home-brew, which made for a heck of a party. Ted used to work with my ex-wife when she was at Maritz. He also used to work at KDHX, way back in the day.

Speaking of KDHX, last year I volunteered at another event of theirs besides the Reservoir Park party. I was a volunteer bartender at a party they had at the Mad Art Gallery.

The Mad Art Gallery is where I purchased a work by an artist I know, Katy. It so happened that I already own a piece by her friend Caroline. I bought Caroline's piece at the Venus Envy show last year, where I met my friend Jill.

Jill came out to the Way Out recently to see my friend Kurt's other band (not the one Dave fronts). Kurt and his band were great that night.

Which reminds me, I first met Kurt through Lynn, a neighbor of mine. Lynn used to work for Landmarks, an organization of which I happen to be a member. A couple of doors down is Dave, who is a former president of an organization on whose board I now serve...

Ajay Zutshi is a man-about-town and the roommate of Gracie the greyhound and Rocky, The Best Puppy Ever.

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