Saturday, July 21, 2012

Andare a Pescare

I was invited to a cocktail party with a travel theme.

The wine was Anjos Vinho Verde, tasting of grapefruit and apples.

With logos of KLM and SAS for decoration, the conversation was all about how much time is required to prepare for a trip, how much napping should be done upon arrival and how enthusiastic a reception a woman might get in certain Latin countries.

I think I got some bets placed on me succeeding at that.

We noshed on Caprese with artichokes on baguette slices and fresh melon balls to keep up our strength for what was to come.

Once the wine kicked in, the conversation began to range off-theme and to music, not surprisingly given the soundtrack.

Somehow a discussion of what superior lyricists older men and writers can be led to discussion of The Police.

I shared how a former boyfriend had once told me that "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" was the most ardent tribute to a lover imaginable.

Someone else recalled seeing The Police on the "Ghost in the Machine " tour in 1982.

The best I could offer was seeing Sting on the "Dream of the Blue Turtles" tour in '85.

To the best of my abilities, I shared my memories of that late summer evening at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

And, forgive me, then I became a 21st-century creature and looked it up, finding  a Washington Post review of that very show I'd seen.

I'd bet anything that I'd read it the day after.

It was mind-blowing to be reminded of the details of that long-ago night.

Let's face it, at that point, he was just going out on his own so the jury was still out on a post-Police career.

Would the public even care?

Reviewer Richard Harrington said that Sting had proved that night that he was "an arresting pop presence even outside the context of the Police."

Now that sounds like a "duh" moment, but not so in 1985.

Of his songs, he wrote,"Often built upon sinuous melodies, they are ambitious both lyrically and thematically."

Don't forget, this was before Sting the Activist with a capital A. Sting = causes was not yet a given.

And the review also reminded me about which Police songs Sting had performed that warm night.

"Every Breath' needs to be as starkly arranged as it was originally perceived [and] did not benefit from a fleshed-out arrangement."

In other words, don't mess with the Breath.

Clearly we were still taking our Police songs very seriously in 1985.

Not so tonight.

Music chit-chat yielded to theater-goer watching from a fifth floor window.

A couple of us made a game of guessing whether people walking toward the Virginia Repertory Theater were going to "Spring Awakening" or not.

Good thing we weren't betting.

It was funny when we saw a guy walking that way when all of a sudden, he darted behind a tree, not once but twice.

Trying to ditch a boring date? Unhappy at being dragged to the theater on a Friday evening?

Nope, just one of the theater's valets trying to sneak up on his fellow car-parker.

After a bit of street voyeurism, some of us decided that ice cream was in order and that meant Bev's.

Coldstone was within walking distance, but who wants to support a chain?

That point was driven home when I arrived first and waited for my partner in ice cream to catch up.

A woman eating a cone out front saw a friend walking by and explained why she was there.

"We just came from Mama Zu and we're so stuffed. But I told Mom and Dad," she said gesturing to the older ice cream-eating duo in nearby chairs, "That you can't come to Richmond and not go to Bev's."

A girl about to open the door to Bev's looked at her and said, "I haven't been here since 2005."

Aghast, the stuffed woman guided her roughly towards the door. "Go! Now!"

She did.

Inside, I tried one of tonight's special flavors, dirty chocolate, described as a triple fudge chocolate.

No additions, but a deep, rich chocolate fudge taste.

I was a little sorry I'd only ordered the kiddie size cup.

My fellow party-goer had been smart, getting a waffle cone of chocolate almond three times the size of my measly scoop.

Lesson learned.

We sat for a while and watched the Byrd crowd exit and saunter to their cars.

Once finished with our summer treat, we strolled the neighborhood, nostalgic because it was one in which we'd both lived back in the '90s.

To our surprise, new houses and even a new garage had been built.

A hand-written sign on the screen door of Tom French Flowers read, "Gone Fishin'."

Now there's a worthy summertime occupation.

Everyone knows "gone fishin" is just a euphemism for "gone to someplace more relaxing and pleasurable for a spell."

After tonight's travel-themed get-together, I can't wait to hang out my own hand-written sign.

It'll be my euphemism for "Off trying to prove that I can be an arresting presence even outside the context of RVA."

The jury's still out on whether or not I'll succeed.

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