Dermot and Rufus sat in the back of a cab and looked out the windows as they made their way uptown to the university gallery. The city looked just the way it always looks in September, which is how it looks every other season, too: lots of cement and glass. The only difference was how people dressed. In September the city was hotter and the people dressed accordingly, but in winter, because it was colder, they dressed according to that different temperature. There was kind of a natural logic to the thing if you thought about it, but that’s about it, though, in terms of seasons.
“How much do you know about what is happening today?” asked Dermot.
“Just that there is a la.”
“A la? What’s a la?”
“Isn’t it called a gay ‘la’?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Like a ‘la’ said by a gay. Like,” and here Rufus did his best impersonation of a gay person saying la, which he did surprisingly well, “La!”
Dermot covered his face in his hands for a minute before speaking.
“There is a word for a party, and that word is pronounced gala, Rufus.”
“A gay la. That’s what I said.”
“The word gala comes from an old French word, I believe, that means ‘to rejoice’.”
“A gay la!”
“No, it isn’t gay and la: it is a completely new word.”
“I’ve never been good at French.”
“The reason we call this a gala is because donors will be in attendance. Donors equal money. There is money on the table, Rufus.”