"Allow yourself to be changed by the experience."
So said the bathroom wall at Pasture where they were doing their first-ever Mercy! Heavy Soul and Funk Dance Party.
I love the idea of restaurants re-purposing themselves after dining hours, so I couldn't resist stopping by for some bubbles and heavy soul.
As I sipped my Vinho Verde, I felt hands squeezing my shoulders and unexpectedly there were two friends.
"We were driving by when I saw you walking down the street and I said, I know that walk! Let's follow her," he said, explaining away their stalking me right into Pasture to say hello.
It seemed only natural to tell them to stay and hear the vinyl stylings of Troy and Marty, knowing that they remembered a world before mp3s.
So they ordered cosmos and we dissected their restaurant experiences tonight (the first was an epic fail and the second not up to usual).
Next thing I knew, the modster walked in (looking groovy, as always) with his girlfriend and we took some time to marvel over the array of DJs spinning around town tonight.
After they moved on, the boys and I went back to full-on attention to the music, which was spot on.
Did I recognize the songs being played? I did not.
Well, except for a brief remix of Hall and Oates' "She's Gone," which also got the attention of chef Jason Alley who asked to see the actual 45 record.
Did I hear classic soul stylings that exactly matched the era of the best soul music? I did.
Next thing I knew, I heard my name being called only to find a friend I'd known years ago who had since moved to Florida.
The last time I'd seen her a couple of years ago, she'd recently been cuckolded by her husband and said she had just reconnected with a Londoner she'd known in college.
They'd set off on a road trip to see if they were compatible.
Looking at her, I knew the answer before I asked the question, but I had to ask anyway.
Yep, living together in Florida and still wildly happy together.
But she had an addendum to the story.
After our last meeting, where I'd heard her fairy tale story of moving on after a disastrous end to her marriage, she'd met up with a friend the next day to tell her the news.
Midway through, the friend stopped her. "I read about this on a blog today," she informed my amazed friend.
While I hadn't used names, the story was easily recognizable, especially for anyone hearing it directly from the source.
My friend was a little amazed at my reach, but not half as much as a few days later when she tried telling a coworker about what had happened and she, too, said she'd read it on my blog.
"So apparently you have a wide readership," my friend laughed.
I was just happy she could laugh about it, but I reminded her that the story she'd told me had been one of the most romantic I'd ever heard
And considering this was back in my heartbroken, no dating period, I remember being bowled over to think that anyone could find such love and luck with someone she had known twenty-some years earlier.
They just hadn't explored it well enough then and now they were, to great success.
What blogger worth her salt wouldn't have shared that kind of romance?
I like to think I'm at least worth my salt.
Once we caught up, I returned to my friends at the bar, both of whom were finding a lot to like about the music being played.
First of all, nothing sounds like vinyl, and if you can't get into vintage soul (lots of horns and harmonies, and, post-disco, string arrangements), part of you is already dead.
I ran into others I knew - a beer rep looking to dance, a local chef looking to share opinions - and we talked about the Richmond restaurant scene ("It's the next wave of new restaurants that'll decide how Richmond goes," he predicted).
A few people were starting to dance in the aisle between the bar and booths, but for the most part, by the time I left, full-on dancing hadn't happened.
But it was the first Pasture dance party attempt after adding the sound baffling to the ceiling, so it was more of a trial run.
I'm looking forward to the next one as much for the excellent music as for the random people I run into there.
After a hot afternoon at the river and a warm evening making ice cream, all I'd set out for was wine and funk.
Instead, I'd followed the advice of the bathroom sage and allowed my evening to be changed by the various experiences delivered by Mercy!
After a busy Saturday, you take your wisdom where ever you find it.