Anyone close to me has, in all likelihood, alluded to my sunny side up affliction.
The go-to is derision. Pru calls it "unicorn land," another prefers "Karen's world" (art nerds, can't you just see me from the back on that grassy hill like Christina?), several family members call it "the bubble," and, sure, they're mocking me, but the reality is lovely things happen there all the time.
Like an evening during the absolute dregs of October - today's the 29th, for crying out loud - spent on a screened porch in Church Hill, a porch lit by strings of tiny lights and a small lamp or two, with the night air as soft and comfortable as if we were about to tear September off the calendar rather than October.
An evening accompanied by the business of life going on around us - dogs being walked, sirens in the distance, headlights in the alley - as the five of us converse across the table in the golden glow of that porch, where everywhere you look, something pleasurable or interesting catches your eye.
A master class of a porch.
The kind of space ideal for Pru to share a memory. "That reminds me of 10th grade when I said 'semen' instead of 'stamen." Pause. "It was the male part of the plant, so at least I got that part right."
That prch can become a cozy game room when the visitor from Arizona, Burger, admits he's never played Cards Against Humanity during dinner at Belmont Food Shop (where an autumn terrine of squashes, celery root and carrot rocks my world and chocolate truffles are referred to by FabCon as "tip manipulators" because they work).
It's once the game's underway, after we explain that you choose your answer from the ten cards in your hand that we learn Burger has 12...and a stack splayed out under his chair for easy accessing. Political commentary follows.
Q: In today's newscast, Donald Trump made headlines when he denounced what?
My A: The Dewey Decimal system
Peanut Gallery: He would.
With big, comfortable wicker chairs with cushions, it's a most suitable place for long-winded ruminations on language.
When Beau tries to explain the appeal of Hannah Montana, it's by saying she was wholesome and had hi-jinks. Hi-jinks, a word that dotted the Eisenhower-era series we read as kids. Nancy Drew had hi-jinks, the Hardy Boys had hi-jinks.
This crowd could do a minimum of 10 minutes just on a word like that.
As proof, earlier on the porch, we'd gotten on the topic of unlikely building materials, a rabbit hole that began with bales of hay, moved on to used car tires and crashed and burned with 2-litre soda bottles.
Why, you ask, did such a fascinating environmental and architectural topic die that premature death? Because some people brought only the veneer of information to the table and once others of us began digging, they admitted to no further knowledge on the subject than the shred they'd already hurled into the fray.
Don't come to a conversational pit unless you can hold your own.
The porch is just dim enough on a Saturday night for indelicate admissions.
Q: In the new Disney Channel original movie, "Hannah Montana Struggles with what?
My A: A really nasty yeast infection
Beau: I'd watch that.
Pru: Who ARE you?
It's the first time on this practically perfect porch for the dry wit from Philly now languishing in the southwest, who after observing the bossy and bossed dynamic between the usual cast of characters, thinks he's got it all figured.
"Ooooh, I see, it's a dominatrix party!" He only wishes (fervently, too).
Tonight, Bootleg Shakespeare (cue "There's something happening here, What it is ain't exactly clear") was performance art (none of it as riveting or hilarious as a pants-less BC Maupin as Brutus and a kneeling Sara Heifetz as Portia having a, shall we say, intimate moment) allowing an impromptu party to kick off early.
If memory serves, I lectured a man on italics (they are to be read aloud more emphatically), Pru got poetic with Burger ("We can't make plans with your "ifs") and Beau used the third person to feed me verbiage for this post ("Who knew that Beau was a mouth dispenser virgin?" about never having squirted whipped cream or E-Z Cheese in his mouth).
Middle-aged hi-jinks, as fine a way as any to spend an October evening on a screened porch with a great aura. Kind of makes me want to sing a song about Nebraska.