Friday, October 26, 2018

Between Jefferson and First

Today's lesson? Don't try to hide happiness.

When a favorite Gemini and I finally managed to meet for lunch - mind you, we've been trying to plan this since our birthdays in May - at Lucy's, the conversation necessarily started with her curious about my love life. Although she'd briefly met Mr. Wright back in May when we all wound up at the same restaurant, she needed details.

Trying to keep my giddiness under control, I started rambling calmly about him, about us, about things we'd done and places we'd gone, stopping only when she grabbed my arm. "Is there something bad about him or the relationship?" she asked, sounding concerned. "Why are you telling me this so matter-of-factly?"

Needless to say, gushing has become my usual M.O. when talking about this wonderful new phase of my life to anyone foolish enough to ask. But ever since Mac chided me about whining about the cold weather on the way to Folk Fest ("You have a man who loves you, so you don't get to complain about Fall!"), I've been trying to temper my over-the-top happiness.

I should have known a Gemini wouldn't let me get away with that crap.

As she devoured her salmon salad and I my shrimp po'boy salad, I proceeded to let loose with everything that's been happening in my life and how well it suits me. That, she told me, was what she wanted to hear.

Around the time the chocolate mousse pie with graham cracker crust showed up, we felt a presence behind us and looked up to find a familiar goateed face (writer/one of my former editors/radio host) standing behind our bar stools. "I'm here with P," he said. "Weren't you two here talking and eating last time we came here?" Not long after, when we went to leave, the duo were still standing at the door awaiting a free table. "Hey, weren't you two here last time we came here for lunch?" P inquired.

Geminis may be overly observant, but even we can't recall everyone who eats at the restaurants we do. We are, after all, concentrating on each other.

The subject of so much of my conversation showed up hours later for a J-Ward date that began by walking to Rogue for dinner. There, we took the only two available stools, only to hear the man to my left say, "Boy, they let anyone in here, don't they?"

There sat a local chef and now sommelier who's been off the radar for a hot minute, so, after introductions, I naturally asked what he had cooking. Giving me a pained look, he assured me he has something big in the works but legally can't say what it is yet. It was obvious the restraint he was displaying was wearing on him, so I assumed it was a matter of city incompetence or money shortages.

In any case, he assured me I'd know something soon.

Sipping Terre di San Venanzio Fortunato Prosecco while noshing on charred carrots jazzed up with harissa, yogurt, a generous amount of crumbled peanuts and capers followed by to-die-for sweet potato-filled cappalletti surrounded by broccoli rabe and caramelized pearl onions with dollops of ricotta, we left the chef to his ruminations. Meanwhile, Rogue's chef proffered a wave and smile from the far end of the bar.

When my chocolate cremeux with meringue stars, vanilla sponge cake and caramelized cinnamon ice cream with graham cracker crumbles arrived, I'd barely made a dent when the man to Mr. Wright's left elbowed him aside to ask of me, "What's that?"

I can't be the only woman impressed by a guy curious about a fabulous looking dessert, can I?

After selling the dessert hard, I polished mine off, suggested he order his own and we left to walk over to the November Theater for Cadence Theatre Company's production of "Between Riverside and Crazy." When the usher pointed out our seats, she said they were right in front of "this couple." Glancing at the couple, major figures in the local theater scene, I shouldn't have been surprised when they began cracking wise about the kind of people in the row in front of them.

Clearly everyone I know is a comedian.

The incredibly well-acted play, which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2015, took us into the rent-controlled apartment of an older black retired cop on disability. His son, just released from jail and his girlfriend, live there too, along with a recovering addict. Everyone refers to him as "Pops" and appreciates his hard-won wisdom, even if he has been cranky since his wife died. He's also got a lawsuit pending against the department since it was a white cop who mistakenly shot him.

The dialog crackled with authenticity and not a few completely politically incorrect statements, but the play was most appealing because I had no idea where it was going. And I certainly didn't see Pops' sex scene coming,

No surprise for a recent Pulitzer winner, the play offered no answers about the state of modern life, but rather showed the good, the bad and the ugly and left the future in limbo, providing plenty to discuss with my willing partner, who saw shades of Redd Foxx's Sanford character in Pops.

This morning, at my yearly girl parts check-up, the nurse-practitioner's first question was whether anything was new. I assumed she meant health wise. Mid-exam, she asked the all-important question - "Are you involved in any domestic violence?" and I laughed out loud.

From there, I was off and blathering about this fascinating new person in my life. She stopped me only to complete the exam before asking what had happened next. She wanted all the intel and who was I to deny her a chirpy version? With a Q & A period (her idea).

I won't necessarily volunteer (although it's likely) to share my happiness, but if you ask, I will answer with many words, chirpy words.

Which I seem to have in spades these days. Not necessarily a bad thing, either.

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