Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Let's talk about happy things, shall we? My weekend was lovely. I didn't exactly have a plan, but I worked up a pretty good one. The fun started on Friday. I met a friend for drinks/dinner at a bar kinda in my neighborhood. This is a new friend and she was gracious enough to 1) pick me up at work 2) drive us to the bar and 3) drop me home at the end of the evening. Now that's a good friend! A friendly bartender who works at this bar who I sort of know--at least to say hello to--we've been introduced at least once and I know his name, but I assume he doesn't know mine. (He figures in the story later.)

On Saturday, I put a few things were on the agenda: movies, coffee shop, reading, and a bike ride. I took a while making my plan. I sort of need a plan to move forward. The plan can be modified but I need it as a starting point. The first element in the plan was a movie. I wanted to see Paris Je T'aime and it was only playing at two theaters. I decided I'd bike there, but stop for coffee first. The plan came together: bike to the new coffee shop, from there to Dupont. Take the metro from Dupont to Bethesda and see the 1:45 show. Have ice cream after. Bike home via the Capital Crescent Trail. It's a long ride (for me), but all down hill except for the last few miles from Georgetown to my house. The metro leg of the ride gave me more coffee shop time and ensured I'd have enough energy to actually enjoy the movie, not to mention not stinking up the place.

I didn't bring my computer and instead read a book (shocking! it's all blogs and magazines these days) for about half an hour. On the ride to Dupont, I stopped by my favorite upscale, hipster home-goods store, Home Rule, on 14th Street and picked up a couple of less expensive items (mini-cutting board, paring knife and present for Mom). I don't bike over there very often but it is close and easy. Maybe I'll start riding to the U Street vicinity more often.

I got on the metro and found myself in the company of two other cyclists. We didn't talk much but it was nice not being the only one. When I got off the train, the conductor called out to me, "I like your bike! What kind is it?" I told him and he said, "I like the seat and the handlebars--and the fenders! It's got a real classic look." I thanked him and said those were all things I'd added to the bike. I patted the saddle and said, "That's a real Brooks leather saddle." (Just the other day a cab driver called out to me, "Nice bike!" First time I've ever gotten a kind word from a cabbie while riding.)

I got to the theater just at show time, which was perfect. I liked the movie, which is a bunch of vignettes by different directors. Some were stinkers and others were quite good. Mostly, I enjoyed seeing all the Paris scenery. I couldn't stop thinking about how I'd like to live in a garret in Paris and write. I mused on how much money it would take to live there for a year. Sure, not speaking a word of French might be a problem, but I could learn. It's not the first time I've had this fantasy and it's not so fantastic that I couldn't do it--sell the condo, take a leave of absence from work, go to Paris--it's imaginable. But why Paris? I have no idea. I asked myself--why not London or Barcelona? As much as I love both of those places, it's Paris that makes my fantasy sing. Maybe it's because of all those great ex-pat Americans who wrote there: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dos Passos. Maybe part of the charm of such a fantasy is not completely understanding it. I have been to Paris twice and it's a beautiful place. Also, the best pain au chocolate in the world may be found there.

After the movie, I had some ice cream, per the plan. I sat on a bench and found myself in casual conversation with an older (than me) couple. Deciding I'd sufficiently digested the ice cream, I started the ride home. It was easy going, mostly downhill and shaded on the trail. When I hit Georgetown, there was more up and down and more sun, but I still enjoyed the ride. As I got closer to home, and hotter, I thought it would be a good idea to stop for a beer. It was around 5:30pm and I stopped at one of the bars on Penn SE, in my old neighborhood. I ordered a beer and watched some baseball while I drank it.

It turned out, the friendly bartender from Friday was at the bar and he came up and said hello. I said, "I don't know if I'm following you or you're following me." He laughed and asked if we'd stayed out late on Friday. I said, "If you count 10 o'clock as late!" We chatted a little before and he went back to sit with his friends at the corner of the bar. I continued drinking my beer slowly and pulled out my book.

About half an hour later, the working bartender said, "[Friendly bartender] bought you the next beer. Do you want it now or do you want to wait until you finish that one?"

I was only about halfway through my current beer so I told him I'd wait. I wasn't sure what to make of it, but it was very nice. I drank up and then told the bartender I was ready. A few sips into my new beer, I wondered if it was ok to go sit with the Friendly Bartender (FB). I thought, "He bought me a beer, so it's probably ok." Feeling slightly tipsy, I went and sat with FB and his friends, who were also friendly (and a little drunk, loud and obnoxious). I thanked FB and he didn't blink at my arrival. The other guy in the group bought us all shots (of some decent whiskey) and I drank one. This was way more than I'd planned to drink on Saturday. The plan was one drink, then home to do some housework. But, see, I'm flexible! And if I have to stay out drinking with friendly men (and one woman), I will.

FB left, unceremoniously, about 8pm. He gave me a kiss on the cheek when he said goodbye. I hung out with his friends for another 15 or 20 minutes before riding slowly home. I made myself a sandwich, watched a dvd and then went to bed. No housework for me. Altogether, it was a pretty fantastic Saturday. (If you're keeping track, I rode about 16 miles total.)

Sunday, well, it was more pedestrian, but it included more avoidance of housework and the completion of the tremendously long final post about jury duty. Oh, and a last minute blind date. Yeah, I could write more about that. The guy was nice and completely inappropriate for me. (Not an asshole, just too much craziness in his life.) He wants to see me again. All I did with that was buy myself some trouble I didn't need. I confirmed, however, that I am awesome and anyone who doesn't see it (I mean you, Sailor), isn't worth my time.

Grateful for: my plans.

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