Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Damn Yankees

So, is Thursday a possibility?

Sure, Thursday could be a possibility for so many things. Perhaps it could be the day a stranger gives me a million bucks or the day a meteor drops on my head or the day the love of my life finds me. Who knows what Thursday might hold?

In any case, what my friend was asking was whether I was free to hang out with him on Thursday evening. I wasn't.

So we settled for Wednesday and he suggested FanHouse since he'd never been there. Driving up Main Street, most restaurants looked slow or even empty, not surprising given the imminence of New Year's Eve. When I arrived at FanHouse, there were four people in the place: three staff members and my friend.

But the music was to my liking, ranging from the Killers to Earth, Wind & Fire to Muse (Pandora, natch) and the staff seemed happy for the company, so it was all good.

At least until my friend tried to order a Hendrik's martini, only to find out that the bottle on the shelf was empty with no backup. Even then, he obligingly dropped to his second choice gin with a smile while I got a glass of the Alumina Albarino (hay and honeysuckle, as a wine friend used to say). Let the Wednesday chatting begin.

My friend works downtown and he was telling me about how dead it is down there this week; his example was that you could arrive at the parking garage at 8:45 and get a first level spot (not that I want to arrive anywhere at 8:45 a.m.).

He said that even e-mails are slow, which made me feel better about the dozen we had exchanged yesterday setting up our evening out and trading quips about nothing important.

A nearby bar-sitter shared her recently-acquired knowledge of Lady Godiva, pictured in the large painting near the bar (how did people educated themselves before hand-held devices?). That somehow led to a tangent with a perfect stranger about body images, aging and confidence. You know, the mind is the biggest turn-on, blah, blah, blah.

Somehow, she had misread our relationship and when I went to the bathroom, she inquired of my friend if we were on a date (we weren't, but he danced around his answer just to mess with her).

I found it interesting that if she thought that that was a possibility, why had she asked him and not me since he'd gone to the bathroom first. What happened to sister solidarity? And if she'd been asking for her own purposes, why hadn't she moved in for the kill? Women, I'll never understand them.

Meanwhile, Friend and I had gotten a bottle of the Alumina and took the bartender's recommendation for a couple of his favorite dishes.

We got the sesame-encrusted jumbo shrimp with Thai basil, tomatoes and Parmesan cheese ("You'll just have to fight over that last one," the bartender warned us. "We don't fight," Friend promised) and the tuna tartare trio (sesame oil, sweet and sour, sriracha).

The high quality tuna and variety of preparations made that one my favorite, whereas Friend was taken with the cheesy shrimp. Something for everybody.

For dessert, we kept with the evening's theme and had the Lady Godiva chocolate bread pudding, most enjoyable for its non-traditional appearance, warmth and the abundance of sauce and cocoa-dusted ice cream. Our minds were well satisfied.

Unlike me, my friend is a native Richmonder, but terrible at remembering names and out often, so he'll find himself approached by someone he went to high school with and have no idea who they are. Such are the perils of staying in your home town, I told him, a problem I neatly sidestepped by leaving mine.

But sometimes his southern roots are positively charming, as when during our discussion of drinkable spirits, he pronounced, "Scotch is for Yankees and social climbers."

As one who most definitely qualifies as the former, I'd take issue with being labeled the latter, but he explained patiently to me that they're synonymous. I'll just have to verify that with my Richmond-born father when next I see him (and, no, I do not call him Daddy).

It doesn't seem likely that one necessarily equals the other, but I've learned to accept that anything is possible.


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