Measured Extravagance

2001-05-29 - 11:43 p.m.

I didn't get sick before or during the holiday weekend: it turned out my cubicle-neighbor's woes were inflicted by food poisoning rather than viral contagion. At the present moment, though, I do have a suspiciously unpleasant tickle in the back of my throat, so I'm eating pesto by the spoonful (made it with lots of garlic and lemon juice) and flooding the germs with lots of herbal tea, as I can't afford to get sick this coming weekend, either - not with friends and clients to visit up north (and acres of paperwork to scrabble through in the meantime).

What a fun weekend it was! The only ten-year-old in my household is a multicolored moggie who would've found Dichroic's headstands alarming rather than edifying, so the weekend's defiance-of-gravity allotment was limited to conversations about flying. In my mind, this includes the air travel that would be required to meet up with Phelps and Natalie somewhere, someday in middle America (Little Rock? the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum? Oklahoma?! schemeschemescheme...), though there was also plenty of talk about G-forces and IFRs and landing strips. . .

And also about rowing and folk music and rock climbing and bathrooms and jobs and business trips and theaters and Freshettes and architectural features and pub decorations and regatta fights and (not) driving in Boston and climate changes and education and time zones and radio stations and Kipling and Wordsworth and Miss Read and Taiwan and Japan and England and Australia and standardized tests and psychological quizzes and cooking and restaurants and cool ten-year-olds (we've both met Young Miss Phelps and regard her as a truly awesome kid, even if she is a Yankees fan) and lots of other topics. In short, Dichroic is fascinating, and so is her T. - and they're also both incredibly nice. They put up with multiple demonstrations of my execrable sense of direction [1] and my embarassingly excitable doggie ("Abby, OFF!"), and they belong to a similar, minimal-fuss school of splitting expenses - it all reminds me of the gathering at the Lambton inn in Pride and Prejudice:

Elizabeth, on her side, had much to do. She wanted to ascertain the feelings of each of her visitors, she wanted to compose her own, and to make herself agreeable to all; and in the latter object, where she feared most to fail, she was most sure of success, for those to whom she endeavoured to give pleasure were prepossessed in her favour. Bingley was ready, Georgiana was eager, and Darcy determined, to be pleased.

The weekend started out with the arrival of Frodo (one of the BYM's former co-workers from the Supplier Nobody Works At Anymore) somewhere around 1 or 2 a.m. Saturday morning. A little bit after 9 a.m., I collected Dichroic and T. from their hotel and took them to Noshville for breakfast. We then followed the BYM on the back highways to Lynchburg to the Jack Daniels distillery.

As the guys strode up the stairs ahead of us, Dichroic paused and remarked on the similarity of our tastes: we were both wearing black t-shirts, jeans and sandals, and from the back, T. and the BYM match each other in height, build and haircut. Frodo is equally tall and lanky; as we lined up for our tour passes, Dichroic told both Frodo and the BYM, "You guys need to become rowers!"

Our tour guide was a stout, sunburned old gentleman named Mr. Morgan with an accent so thick I only made out every other sentence in his spiel. Highlights from the tour included the mystery berries near Mr. Jack's statue (I've forgotten the name, but T.'s guess was the correct one, and Mr. Morgan took great pleasure both in razzing the rest of us for not believing T. and in noting that the berries were so inedible not even goats would dine upon them); the fumes in the charcoal mellowing vats (strong and sweet and oh so fine); and the cooper's tools on exhibit [2]. We neglected to lay in a supply of JD samplers, so we couldn't provide our guests with a post-tour tasting (Moore County is dry - the distillery serves lemonade at the end of the tour) - something for us to keep in mind for future visitors...

After the tour, we caravaned back to my house, where we sat on the deck noshing on snacks and playing with the dog (who adored licking Dichroic's toes) and messing with the massive hunk of tree that's still sprawled across the rear half of our back yard. Then we headed to the early show at The Bluebird Cafe, where I got to feel smug for reserving a table as we watched walk-ins wrangle for bar seating and studied the fresnels above our heads and the photographs on the walls. Over the course of the evening, we consumed two bottles of wine (Rosemount shiraz), two baskets of sweet potato fries, a platter of brie, bread and fruit, assorted entrees and a slice of Snickers pie. Our waiter took his turn in the fourth chair in the round, completely rearranging the tuning on Walt Wilkins' guitar to suit his own song. Nick Pellegrino started with a song about "My Ten-Pound Heart" that wasn't so good, but redeemed himself with "She's Movin' In" (we wound up joking about "57 pillows" the rest of the weekend) and several other winners. I also especially liked Jon Randall's "Just Get Through It":

The world ain't stoppin' just because you got the blues
Look at the clock up on the wall. . .

After the Bluebird, T. headed to bed and the rest of us moved on to the Flying Saucer Beer Emporium. Having left my wallet at home, I got grilled on whether I was really 31 ("Who was president in 1970?" "How would I know, I wasn't paying attention back then!"...) but was eventually let in for my pint of Franziskaner Dunkel. I felt a trifle sorry for the luckless sod trying to sing above the din of the Saturday night crowd, but since he wasn't all that good, my sympathy was outweighed by annoyance, and Dichroic got mad when he changed "Brown-Eyed Girl" to "Blue-Eyed Girl."

After she left, her sofa was commandeered by a posse of bubbly young twenty-nothings, and it was all we could do to tear Frodo away after we finished the pretzels and the beers. I staggered up to bed and the BYM shepherded Frodo over to the Slow Bar, but not before I heard Frodo's declaration that "Me and my two buddies, we are the nightlife of Plymouth, Michigan!" (To comprehend this statement, you have to understand that Plymouth is the sort of town where the residents dress the wooden geese on their lawns in matching outfits.)

To be continued. . .

[1] The BYM: "And here is [Nashville landmark]--"
T.: "Yes, we passed it earlier."
The BYM, narrowing his eyes at me: "That wasn't on the way to Noshville..."
Dichroic, kindly: "We got to see it both ways."

[2] Dichroic: "Just imagine what Badsnake could do with that collection."
Mechaieh: "She probably already owns her own set."

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