It's the little things that make you appreciate being back from vacation.
It's walking the T Pot Bridge for the first time in almost two weeks in a light mist, catching up on how we spent our holidays and realizing that there is only one other human on the bridge (also one canine, despite signs forbidding four-footed companions because of possible injury) besides Mac and me.
All the other times I've walked the bridge, there have been scads of people, but between today's return-to-work status and the precipitation, it's just us three and the dog, a singular pleasure.
Don't take this the wrong way, but...
It's having lunch with Foto Boy in the service of my hired mouth and cracking each other up with our Baby Boomer complaints about the cost of an antiquated parking meter downtown. When he grouses about a dime only buying three minutes, I expect him to raise his fist and start hollering at passers-by.
Not on my grass, sonny.
While hearing how his still somewhat new relationship is progressing since we last met, we eat, trade plates and marvel that our friendship turns 8 this year. It's this longevity that allows us not only to call the other out for bad choices, but to begin sentences with the likes of, "Well, if I were you..."
And, honestly, this is a fine outcome for a relationship that began as a dating proposition but quickly morphed into a solid friendship back in 2009. Both of us want to see the other appreciated.
Ah, so he's going for the long game, is he?
It's hearing from a friend who inquires, "What time tomorrow? Your place for quiet drinks, chats and music? Should I bring something, a bit of a nosh and a bottle? You supply the water and the stories. I hope you have some pictures to supplement the conversation, too."
Lots of questions and no cameras, please, but there's a lot to be said for a guest who not only shows up ready to talk, but also supplies the party.
Your mind is so sharp. Like aged cheddar cheese.
It's going to meet a friend at Crossroads Coffee because DJ Rattan is spinning vinyl and, again, it's been a couple of weeks since we last laid eyes on each other.
Surely there are conversations to be had when an extrovert and an introvert, neither of whom drinks coffee, find a cozy table to listen to what this longtime member of Bio Ritmo is spinning, creating a vibe not unlike the coolest rec rooms of the mid-century modern era.
Reaching back to the 60s, he reels me in early with a lesser-known song by the Association, "No Fair at All" and from then on, manages to cherry pick from the '70s and '80s while interspersing them with unknown yet danceable Latin numbers as if he were DJing at a dance.
One with plenty of slow jam tangents.
That he was sipping beer and dancing in place only made it obvious he was having as good a time as we were. Who wouldn't enjoy a savory roasted butternut squash soup slurped to hand-picked tunage?
Heatwave's "Always and Forever" slowed things down after an obscure but slinky Bowie song that was then followed by Boz Scaggs, classic Anita Baker and a winsome version of "Gentle on My Mind." When Steely Dan came on, we each had our definitive Steely Dan stories culled from years of not being fans despite radio overexposure.
He did, however, look at me like I had two heads when I shared how charismatic I'd found Donald Fagen in concert. "He's not attractive, right?" my date inquires quite seriously. Let's talk about that, shall we?
Most unlikely song played, hands down was an A.M. radio staple, Barry Manilow's "Daybreak," which I somehow managed to recognize in a ridiculously few notes. I'm not proud of that, but there it is.
I didn't see you sprinting to tell me happy new year, either.
For a while, we did the companionable read thing as we listened, each taking in the new issue of Style Weekly, pausing only to discuss the more interesting articles or share a newly discovered tidbit.
Looking at the critic's list of ten best films, he admits to having seen exactly none of them while I'd seen two.
"Which ones? No, let me guess," he insists, eventually naming five without managing to hit on either I'd actually seen, probably a consequence of not having been friends for 8 years. The masterful "Moonlight," I tell him. And the other?
Why, "Love and Friendship," of course. Because it's the little things that become big things and, really, what else is there?
That makes you very real. Very refreshing.