Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Readers' Rendezvous

Once upon a time in the south, we took heat naps. I still do.

When by late afternoon it felt like an effort to research and write in the sunny front room (even with the shades angled down), I gave up and took to my bed.

With both a ceiling fan and an oscillating fan blowing directly on me, I stretched out on freshly changed sheets for a a bit of shut eye to escape the heat and restore my energy.

Only problem was that after my late night tiki adventure, I ended up sleeping longer than I intended, making for limited time to eat before going out for music.

Walking in to Magpie, I found a practically full house and claimed one of two empty bar stools, the only free seats in the house.

New-to-me Le Chaz Rose got me started while I listened to an annoying-sounding woman discuss with her fiance how they might invest some of their wedding gift money and waited for an order of charred asparagus with sauteed wild mushrooms, spring onion cream and Manchego crumbs to come out.

Next to me, two women were having a lively conversation and when I glanced over, one of the women smiled at me.  A moment later, I heard her say, "I'm the problem," and I had to laugh at the sound of that statement and join in.

Leaning across her friend, the smiler said to me, "You are so lovely, I just had to tell you that." What can you say besides a heartfelt thank you when a random stranger says something so nice to you? Damned if I know.

But it was the start of a conversation with the two of them, who turned out to be librarians, well traveled and positively delightful to talk to. Before it was all over, we knew a surprisingly lot about each other despite the whole conversation lasting less than an hour.

One used to have a riverfront house on the Rappahannock until Hurricane Isabel had destroyed half of it. The other had lived all over the world and was amazed at how much there was to do in Richmond. Both loved to eat out and had been coming to Magpie since it first opened.

I got so caught up in our discussion that one of them finally had to remind me to eat my food before it got cold, but not before we discussed books and they suggested I join the library's summer reading club, something I haven't done since childhood.

When they got their check, one turned to me and said, "I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed talking with you," and asked how they could contact me for a future rendezvous.

It wasn't the first time I've given strangers my name and e-mail and it probably won't be the last. I couldn't help thanking them for providing such stellar company on a solo outing.

From there, I went to Scuffletown Park for the sunset concert series where I found a good-sized crowd gathering: kids in pajamas, pizza eaters, wine drinkers, a girl with lavender hair, two platinum blonds with pixie haircuts (one of whom I know) and several familiar faces including the musician whose band's first performance I'd recently seen.

With my fan in hand, I took a seat on a bench behind a trio munching on pizza sprawled out on a groovy-looking blanket.

Pedal Pops RVA was rapidly selling out, having already gone through avocado/lime and triple berry, but still offering strawberry, pineapple/mint and cherry chai. Given the heat, it was definitely Popsicle weather.

Organizer Patrick kicked things off by reminding us that the sunset series always begins 15 minutes before sunset, "So consult an almanac, go to your library or call City Hall to find out when sunset is and be here next Tuesday."

Playing tonight beside the Little Free Library box were the Trillions or at least half of them, including bandleader Charlie in shorts, something I don't think I've seen before.

With acoustic and electric guitars (and the smallest of amps), two voices and a catalog that took a lot of its cues from the Beatles (including the first song with its many "yea, yea, yeas"), the two members of the Trillions played and harmonized for our listening pleasure.

"There's usually more of us to make us louder, " Charlie explained to those new to the Trillions, although I don't know who in this town couldn't know about these masters of power pop.

As cicadas buzzed and fireflies flitted around, they played some new songs from their upcoming album and one about a sports bar with the line, "My friend are your friends, but your friends are bullshit," while Charlie danced around in the grass making it his own stage.

"What/When/Where" ("This song is kind of appropriate for this, kind of about Richmond") was vintage Trillions but I got even more excited when I heard the first few chords of the Beatles "Two of Us," but then they stopped. Fortunately, it was just a misfire and they went on to do a lovely rendition of the song as the night sky began giving way from blue to dusky black.

You and I have memories
longer than the road
that stretches out ahead

My evening ended with a nightcap of Le Petit Balthazar Rose at Lucy's and lazy hours of conversation with other bar sitters while Band of Horses, Ryan Adams and songs like the Sundays' cover of "Wild Horses" played.

This summer heat is all the permission I need to do whatever I want. Besides my summer reading list, of course.

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