Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Woman Young and Old*

It's hard to explain what a few hours of snow does to the extroverted self-employed.

Don't get me wrong, I love seeing snow start falling from the sky shortly after returning from my walk not long after 1:00 in the afternoon. I enjoy it all the more for listening to husband and wife duo Tennis all afternoon. Their indie neo-soul aesthetic is a female-driven sound that speaks to me.

Just when I think that you're mine
You start to slip away
But your love is divide
You know I'm coming for you

But I'm also that person who begins to chafe and sweat at the idea of being trapped at home for days. Yes, I have a great book, plenty of food and the ability to walk, but the fact is, I want company. Give me humans.

Which is why it's barely 4:15 when I head out, umbrella in hand (to the consternation of Canucks everywhere), determined to find company, alcohol and food. The snow is coming down in earnest but that's part of the appeal of the walk.

Stop one is Saison Market for a glass of Cava and the chance to read Atlantic Monthly while Beach House's Teen Dream  plays. While "Take Care of You" pours out of the speakers, I chat with the guy next to me who is writing in a notebook while he sips a beer. Unlike me, he's too young to appreciate the lyrics.

Promptly at 5:00, I shoulder on my coat to cross the brief distance to Saison where I find a group of MCV dental students and a glass of Prosecco with my name on it. Animal Collective's "Summertime Clothes" is playing and everything is right with the world.

If only I were wearing summertime clothes, maybe a sundress or something equally lightweight and adorable. Instead, snow is pouring down outside and I am wearing multiple layers to deal with the cold. I am most definitely not a cold weather person.

One of the dental students is celebrating a birthday and clinks glasses with me, having just come from Sam Miller's and multiple Long Island iced teas. I marvel that one so seemingly clueless will soon be in charge of strangers' teeth.

Fortunately, I soon have superior company and a plate of fried chicken. Usually a Sunday night special, tonight's fried chicken appearance is a special due to the snow, along with sides of corn bread and black beans and rice with sausage.

Perhaps the most pleasant part of it all is how uncrowded the dining room is and that most of its occupants are Jackson Ward residents. If you're here, you walked to get here. Howdy, neighbor.

But all good things must come to an end and they want to close so their employees can get home safely. Fortunately, my dining companion had noted that GWAR Bar was open when he walked over. It's enough incentive to trudge over in the still-falling snow.

On the way, I spot a favorite couple through the window of their J-Ward condo and wave under my umbrella until they come to the door and say hello. Turns out they have already been to Max's for the same reason I was at Saison.

It's a meager crowd we find at GWAR Bar despite the open sign and blasting metal soundtrack. With an apologetic look, the bartender tells us they're about to close. Fair enough, but she agrees to serve us one round.

Midway through that round, a favorite gallerist arrives with his wife and we are soon deep in discussion of upcoming events at his gallery. Next thing I know, he has sent over a bourbon shot for me, despite the fact that I don't drink bourbon. Meanwhile the door keeps opening with others seeking warmth and spirits.

All of a sudden, the evening has taken a turn. I shouldn't be surprised given that we're at GWAR Bar.

With people continuing to arrive, the bartender has abandoned any hope of closing early. We're all in it for the long haul. Snow changes the rules.

Before long, the art teacher and her newly-shorn beau arrive and wave from across the bar. It's beginning to look like anyone who lives within trudging distance is here. Outside, everyone in the neighborhood who has a dog is out walking it.

One of my favorite newcomers is a Puerto Rican with a laptop who is experiencing his first major snowfall since moving here a year ago. He is amazed at the city's reaction to snow. "I've seen hurricanes that are much worse than this," he claims. No doubt, but this is a weather wimp town.

Outside the big windows, the snow continues to fall steadily, a sure indicator that we will indeed have 8-10 inches by lunch time tomorrow if it keeps up. I love the snow but hate what it will do to my social life and desire for company this week.

The only good part is that I've had great fun on the opening night of Snowmageddon week. It's a good thing, too, since it may have to last me all week.

Who am I kidding? I'll find someone somewhere who wants to see me tomorrow night and the next, even if they're strangers.

I've been told an optimist's company is always welcome. Let's see if that holds true in the snow.
(*W.B. Yeats)

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