It's a good friend who e-mails me post-vacation, asking if I miss the beach.
I admit I do, so he suggests lunch today as a distraction from the pile of work I have been immersed in since my return.
When he picks me up in his new car, Jack Johnson blaring, I choose 821 Cafe because I know it'll remind me of all the things I love about Richmond, even as I continue to miss the beach.
Walking in, a favorite server spots me, seats us almost immediately and grins, saying, "I guess I already know what you want."
Not much of a challenge there.
Foto Boy and I sit on the same side of a table, leaving the other side for new arrivals.
It's not long before a young couple take us up on our invitation to join.
She's got a seagull on her shirt and one tattooed on her shoulder; he tells us he's a server at a chain near Short Pump.
"They've only got 90 restaurants, so they haven't sold out completely," he claims, but when I challenge him on this, he concedes that, yea, they have.
Foto Boy and I order (what else?) a plate of black bean nachos and look around.
We spot our favorite activist in uncharacteristic flip-flops, having brunch nearby.
A familiar beer rep comes in, looking only slightly hungover.
The server (and new Mom) who brings our nachos is also a friend and greets us both warmly.
As we plow through the plate of nachos, Foto Boy wonders why he can never make nachos this good at home.
Dunno, but why bother when 821 is so close?
I regale him with a story about a recent episode where a woman told me how seductive I looked, expressed worry that when I sit down people could see my underwear and even told me I was beautiful.
"She was hitting on you!" he says laughing, almost choking on a tortilla chip.
We chat up the couple at our table, who have presumed that we are a couple.
FB clarifies that we never got that far, having skipped ahead to friendship and I explain that this gives me the right to razz him about his date choices.
"And I give her a hard time because men are always hitting on her," he tells these strangers. "And lately, even women!"
Without missing a beat, the Short Pump server leans in and eyes me, saying suavely, "Have I told you how beautiful you look today?"
Now I'm the one laughing out loud at his quick repartee.
As we leave 821 and round the corner, we run smack-dab into a small group filming a scene.
It's July, so I realize instantly what weekend it must be, but ask anyway.
Gotta be 48-hour film fest.
They grin, acknowledging as much, and we suggest they move their backpacks from against FB's car before we drive away.
Before we can even start the car, they're back to filming and I'm thinking how much I love this town, the people and all the interesting stuff that's always going on here.
Talking about gardening on the way home, he asks if I have any flowers I want to share and once at my house, I lead him to a plot of black-eyed Susans and offer them all up to him.
He's tickled at the prospect of so many new flowers for his yard, straight from mine.
Friend to friend flowers, so to speak.
What was I missing again?
Luckily, I'll make it back to the beach before the summer's over, but for right now, my lunch has reminded me that I'm fine until I do.