Monday, December 20, 2010

Unlocking the Secret at Rowland

It was that kind of day.

Uncharacteristically early wake-up call (8 a.m.). Meeting in Northern Neck (83 miles each way) to discuss writing and consulting work. Lunch with the parental units and hours spent wrapping presents for them while listening to unusually loud Christmas music. Drive home into blinding sunset followed by darkness.

I had barely set foot in my apartment when the phone rang and a friend suggested dinner at Rowland's. I could have kissed her - if I hadn't had to shower and get ready to be somewhere in an hour. It wasn't just that I was ready for a meal out; it was that I needed a major exhale.

My day had been alternating stretches in the car (where, for the first time in years, I revisited my love for the BoDeans. Is there a more poignant love song than "Forever On My Mind" or a better kick-ass road song than "Dreams"? Not today there wasn't) with non-stop conversation, both business and family. I was ready for something different.

I love that the holidays guarantee a full restaurant house on a Monday night. I walked into a bustling Rowlands where the Pandora music was perfectly suited to my taste (Yea, Yea, Yeas, Passion Pit, MGMT) meaning I had to know what the starting point band was (The Knife). My friend was there, the wine already ordered and opened and waiting for me. Already I felt better.

The spring roll of the evening was carnitas and while that doesn't exactly make sense to me, we ordered them anyway. The filling of braised pork, onion, cilantro and cumin was further enhanced with a spicy tomatillo sauce that had my friend requesting more (she even got another order to take with her).

Next up I had the shrimp Creole with scallion polenta, the perfect base for the mouth-watering combination of tomatoes, onions, peppers and hot sauce. Call me a heretic, but I prefer my Shrimp Creole over polenta rather than rice, but then I'm of neither French nor Spanish heritage, so what do I know?

For a millisecond I considered dessert, but decided wine would do me more good. Meanwhile, my friend was telling me about the progress of her fairly new relationship. In an effort to ensure (to the best of her ability) a long-term relationship, she has started asking long-time couples what the secret to their successful partnerships is.

Time and time again, she said, they have told her that the secret is not going to bed angry, something she doesn't quite understand. "What if you're tired? What if you want to wait till morning to discuss it? Why do you have to resolve it before bed?"

Unsure, I took these as rhetorical questions since clearly I have no idea about such things. She doesn't either, having been single for the last two years right along with me. In fact, her point was that going to bed angry would be of no concern to her simply out of gratitude.

"I'd be so happy just to have someone to go to bed mad with," she said by way of explanation.

I have to say, I'm with her on that. Besides, it takes a lot to get me mad, so it might be better if I looked for another secret to a successful relationship.

My long-time happily married Dad told me it was lots of sex. I think I'll go with that instead.

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