Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Disadvantages of You

A river is a poor substitute for the ocean.

Even so, if I had to drive an hour to do an interview today (and I did -deadlines, you know), at least it was in Tappahannock on Prince Street half a block from the Rappahannock River and with a splendid view of the bridge.

The rest of the evening was given over to meeting for dinner with friends curious about the changes in my relationship status and particularly, who I'd been at the beach with, a subject best not discussed in a public restaurant.

Waiting for them to arrive and join me, I chatted with a woman planning to catch a 7:55 plane to NYC, a conversation of soulmates when we realized how strongly we both feel about consumer waste. That was us debating plastic bags, to-go containers and the cost to the earth of making them. When she got ready to go, she even asked for a recommendation of a local cab company, the better to support the local economy.

A four-top arrived but requested a table for five, explaining that their friend Brad was stuck on 95 but would arrive soon. A Camden's regular showed up with not one but two men and later asked me sotto voce what I thought of her new boyfriend, whispering, "And he's 15 years younger!"

You go, girl, although I've lessened the age gap in my latest outing to some success, admittedly only because the age is attached to someone so nice. Still younger, just not so much.

Holmes and Beloved arrived and a bottle of Le Porte du Caillou Sancerre Rose was opened as we started to catch up after a month and a half. When the subject of my beach foray arose, we put it hold until our post-dinner listening party began.

In the meantime, I kept my beach seafood streak going with mahi-mahi over rice pilaf with yellow pepper coulis followed by chocolate pate, while the happy couple did their own damage to lamb and classic lasagna while watching the overwrought Kirk Douglas/Cyd Charisse vehicle,"Two Weeks in Another Town," and admiring the fine Corinthian leather of the film's cars.

Over a bottle of Le Porte du Caillou Sancerre, we analyzed a Washington Post article, "Five Myths about Hippies," the better to clarify that hippies were more of a '70s thing than '60s and that their legacy - casual sex, yoga, relaxed dress standards - are now utterly mainstream.

Regardless, I still think of myself as an old hippie.

When I mentioned that the Byrd had been showing "Dr. Zhivago" this afternoon but I'd missed it by being on the Northern Neck, Holmes cracked me up by describing it as the longest and most boring movie imaginable. When we moved on to the movie's theme song, he had no memory, so Beloved began humming "Lara's Theme."

Holmes winced and asked plaintively, "Can we hear it in clarinet, not kazoo?" Ouch. Personally, I couldn't even manage kazoo.

Over the two hours we lingered, I heard about their upcoming weekend plans on Solomon's Island to celebrate Beloved's birthday (a fine trip idea I may want to emulate with another beach lover), a trip that will kick off with a stop at Cap'n Billy's, a favorite crab shack of mine, too.

Before long, we moved on to Holmes' man-cave for a swinging listening party that ran from Julie London to Artie Shaw.

Holmes gifted me with some duplicate albums by the Brass Ring that he was given: "The Disadvantages of You" and "Sunday Night at the Movies" because what woman doesn't need a couple more brass band albums to add to her collection?

Conversation included a request for a full recounting of my beach jaunt - the food! the walks! the kites! - but quickly centered around a frank discussion of my last relationship, curiosity about my new attempt at one and a consideration of my overall relationship picture.

Let's just say their advice dovetailed exactly with that of the New Zealand winemaker's words of wisdom from a few weeks ago.

Because with enough Rose, friends will tell you exactly what they think of your past and present while remaining firmly in your corner.

As Holmes so sweetly put it, "I just want you to be happy."

As we said goodnight with the moon hanging high in the sky at the end of Grove Avenue, my new-to-me albums tucked under my arm, I felt lucky to have friends rooting for me and my happiness.

The disadvantages of my past are practically public record, but the potential advantages of my present and future feel like they're laid out against the bluest of skies. That those skies are filled with an assortment of clouds inspiring the two of us to share the fanciful figures we each see in them says enough.

No one tells you that the game is about to begin. You just jump in and hope for the best.

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