Friday, October 12, 2018

Soggy but Stimulated

I am not a weather wimp, nor can I abide time spent obsessing over the Weather Channel.

Of course I knew the wind and rains of Hurricane Michael were headed this way. And, yes, I noticed that schools were closing early and some restaurants weren't opening at all for the evening. But did I assume that meant it was going to affect me?

Of course not.

So when Mr. Wright showed up saying, "The apocalypse is coming!" I suggested we go directly to the balcony to watch it roll in, Anton Bauer Rose in hand. We lasted maybe ten minutes before the rain began pelting us from the north and east. And mind you, the balcony is only a yard or so from the house next door, yet somehow, the rain was managing to fall and turn toward us in that small space.

Leaving the lights off, we took up places in the living room, which faces south, to watch Michael's fury from the front two windows, both open. I've watched many a hurricane and tropical storm from that perch, although the company wasn't always as good. The trees out front whipped in the wind, rain came in from the west-facing bathroom window - but not the front windows - and we talked for a couple of hours about all kinds of things except the weather.

Eventually, we both realized we needed to go eat dinner so we could make an 8:00 curtain at Richmond Triangle Players for "The Laramie Project." We got as far as the front door downstairs before realizing that the reality of being outside in Michael was, to put it mildly, wildly different from observing it from the couch.

Oh, we weren't deterred, just willing to get wet.

Driving toward Scott's Addition, I did notice how few cars were on the road, but that I attributed to the fact that most people are weather wimps. We soldiered on. When we got to Aloi, I bounded out of the car, stepping into a 6" puddle of water at the curb (it was for this reason I'd worn my stylish Croc platform shoes, because no hurricane rain can defeat foam resin), only to discover that Aloi was closed up tight.

A Weather Channel aficionado would have known that, in all likelihood.

Sensing a trend, Mr. Wright called Richmond Triangle Players, where a recording told us the obvious: no performance tonight. On the plus side, I hadn't had to wade through another massive puddle to find that out.

Giving up on all the evening's plans, we headed down Summit Avenue only to see the best of all possible neon signs glowing through Michael's torrents: an "open" sign at Supper.

Hallelujah and pass the towels.

Every table at Supper was occupied and there was a 20-minute wait, but the bar was almost empty, so we had no hesitation about claiming a couple of bar stools for dinner. That said, within 15 minutes, a guy was asking if we'd mind moving down a stool so his companion could sit next to him ("Do you really like her?" Mr. Wright inquired to determine whether we should move) because the bar was full otherwise.

Timing is everything.

When he asked of the bartender what today's soup was ("Seems like a soup evening," he claimed), her response of "pumpkin bisque" was enough to order a bowl and two spoons. Except that what arrived was decidedly un-bisque-like, albeit completely delicious. Only then did the bartender come over to explain that, unbeknownst to her, the bisque had been replaced with a pumpkin/black bean/spinach soup that was fabulous and far more to my taste than any bisque might have been.

Or maybe that was the Prosecco talking.

Eating through my wedge salad with chicken salad and his special of fried shrimp and fried eggplant salad in our damp clothes was as close to a hurricane party as we were going to get tonight. Everyone around us seemed to be of the same mind, eating, drinking and gabbing merrily because we'd all been fortunate enough to find a place open on such a soggy night.

The party came crashing down, though, when the lights began flickering and the manager started explaining to people that they expected the power to go any second now. Pay your checks now, he said, and you can linger until we go dark.

Or we could pay our check, brave Michael one more time and return to Jackson Ward, where I've only lost power once in 9 years and that was for 20 minutes. Talk about your easy decision.

True, we could have checked the Weather Channel before leaving for the evening, but where's the fun in that? The mad dashes through 40 mph winds and the complete uselessness of my giant golf umbrella against Michael's sideways rain led to an exhilaration that only comes when you're out in the elements when you shouldn't be.

Playing it safe is for weather wimps.

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