Friday, September 4, 2009
Dinner with Friends . . .
Well, after a very long day of traveling (we were at the airport at about 6:30 AM CT, got to the hotel at about 2:15 PM ET and then had a late lunch and headed to DC at around 4:15 PM (apologies to the folks we were hoping to try and catch up with on Friday afternoon accordingly)) we finally stepped on the fertile, fertile soil of Northern Virginia in time for dinner with some old friends.
The first plan we made . . . after confirming we were going to DC/Baltimore for the weekend to begin with, that is . . . was to have dinner with my beloved Michael and Megan Thomas and my equally beloved Valerie Williams.
We had a delicious dinner at (now that Red Sage has closed) my officially-favorite DC restaurant. I not only had hummus for the fifth day in a row, (thank you very, very much) but I enjoyed a chicken shawarma that was every DROP as good as I remembered with a handful of people that were even better than the drops that I had remembered.
Seeing these friends was totally worth the potential stress of reemerging ourselves in DC/Baltimore traffic (at 4:00 on the Friday afternoon of Labor Day weekend, no less) and driving through DC and in to Arlington in a rental car with all the oomph and power of the Pink Cadillac Escalade Power Wheels Grandma and Grandpa Terry gave Ava a few Easters ago.
It is always weird (for me) to see people that I have not seen in a long time (almost three years in this case) to realize that they are taller, skinnier, funnier, more attractive and/or more loving (in this case, all of the above) than you remembered or than you compressed them to be on the iPod like storage space that is your brain (do I KEEP the Indigo Girls greatest hits or get rid of them to make room for that catchy Kings of Leon song the kids are listening to? - REAL debate/struggle for me, by the way).
I had, of course, that awkward moment where I realized (as we approached Megan and Clara and then later Michael and Val) that I was a few hundred pounds lighter than I was the last time I saw them (suddenly I felt myself sucking in my remaining gut of hanging/excess skin) and tried to smile a little wider and hoped that my sunless tanner had me looking super bronzed and that my new outfit had me looking skinny). The compliments came so I have to assume the "new" first impression was a success. Big sigh of relief.
THEN I had that even-more-awkward moment where I realized that these people loved me and supported me and befriended me through my most arrogant, rude, drunken and self-loathing years. They not only suffered me but they loved and supported me through all of it.
I didn't really reach out to many other DC friends. A few folks on Facebook and a few people through e-mail. I was not sure if I really wanted to see too many people. It makes me very uncomfortable to have to really face some of those people at this point. I felt bad about missing some of the folks that wanted to see me (it felt good to be in demand) but between the scheduling of my trip and my general neurotic demeanor at this point, it was just not all that attractive to me to make myself too crazy to see too many people (I DID want to see my old roommate, Ben and my friend Carrie but just didn't figure out the time/logistics to make that happen!) and to worry about what they might think of the person they knew and what happened to him or how my demeanor has changed or if my tan was deep enough to make me look presentable/arguably-attractive.
ANYWHO - Thank you so much, Thomases and Valerie, for making time on a Friday evening to break bread with Wifey and I and, more importantly, thank you for being good friends to me for 11 years now and for allowing us to come in and out of your life with minimal friction and maximum enjoyment.
I hope we can see you again . . . SOON!