DC jumped up about five slots in my list last weekend. The city trumpeted Spring’s arrival by assaulting us with color riots and temperatures that yanked my mental health from prostrate to skipping. It was gorgeous. I had to turn to M in one random neighborhood and say, “I would pay through the nose for this, for the experience of walking down this street with you, in the sun, nowhere to go. I can’t believe it’s free.”
Here’s a weird thing: my life lately has felt like a string of blind dates. Hey, meet this new person at work! And here’s a friend of mine who lives in the city, you guys will love each other. And here’s M’s new friend’s wife, you guys will so get along. And I really have liked all of them, honestly. But it’s just a lot of fresh faces, and I like to invest, and so it gets a little… numb. Meeting Betsy was nothing like that. She was exactly who she’s been the whole time we’ve been building our friendship online: funny, irreverent, intelligent, interesting. Sitting in the sun with her, eating latkes and lox while we filled in between the lines of each other’s lives, wasn’t starting over again with someone new. It was cementing. Such a grounding feeling, something I’ve been missing.
I loved getting to introduce her to M; him meeting my “blogger friends” weirdly makes them feel more real to me? He dug her also, and was really into the fact that she let him walk Charlie after brunch. The poor guy is just whole-soul yearning for a dog to wrestle and snuggle. Someday.
After Betsy had to “go home” or whatever, we walked on (and on, and on) to Georgetown, so we could stop at Baked and Wired. There was an enormous gorgeous-day line, and my instinct on seeing it was to turn back, a little sad. M refused, and stood with me in the sunshine for an absurdly long time. He’s been like that, lately. Willing to wait, more attuned. I truly wanted a sweet thing, and instead I got two: a peanut-butter brownie, and a stretch of downtime with a man who normally can’t stand still.
Saturday night, we went to Renee and Chris’ apartment to grill on their deck. Or, the men grilled, and then we all curled around the fire pit and planned: upcoming weddings and lake weekends, the kind of things that even planning them makes you feel like you’re spreading out your blessings in your lap like a weighted blanket. They’re getting married soon, and even sooner, we’re all flying to a beautiful island to watch two more friends say “forever.” This summer is the fruition of many wishes for people I love. Cannot wait.
Eventually we ventured out of our cocoon, because they wanted to take us somewhere I’d feel really comfortable: The Star and Shamrock. I prefer to frequent establishments that honor both sides of my heritage, you know? I’m a balance-seeker.
We’re also experimentors, and apparently “picklebacks” are a thing. As in, a shot of whiskey + a shot of pickle juice, and I have to say…not that bad. It probably helps to be the person who stood in front of the open refrigerator eating handfuls of pickles out of the jar as a child, but everyone else managed theirs, too. By which I mean M and Chris actually shot their shots, and Renee and I sipped ours because we are ladies. Ladies who helped demolish the reuben-and-latke sandwich that subsequently arrived at our table, but M ordered it, so all the calories belong to him.
Sunday morning, we met Danielle at Busboys and Poets for brunch. Let me just inform you that this is a bookstore focused on social activism located inside a restaurant with sweet potato pancakes. It’s kind of mandatory.
Truthfully, I was a hermit in law school: doing the actual work and remaining pleasant enough that M wanted to stay married to me sapped all my emotional energy. I value human connection, and it’s strange to admit that I passed through that life period without accumulating many real friends. However. The people with whom I did weather hours-long Starbucks endurance sessions are wonderful and witty and to this day, I view them as the lifelines that got me through. I don’t see or talk to Danielle anywhere near enough, but it almost doesn’t matter? Which is a horrible thing to say, but she knows what I mean in the same way she could sit next to me in Constitutional silence and then know when to look up and start talking about The Bachelor. She’s balanced and brilliant and I like her kind of a lot.
So, Sláinte and L’chaim to all of it: Spring and old friends and the beauty of being out of yourself in a new place, even for just a day or two. Or like, four…we’re going back this weekend.