Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Future is Now

Three women of a certain age (and their male consort) walk into a Basque restaurant.

Before the evening is over, they will drink from the western Loire, consume an array of the sea's bounty (squid, softshell crab, skate and shrimp) and plant life (chilled almond soup, warm chicories, roasted artichoke hearts with anchovy aioli and heirloom white cucumber salad with Spanish ham, oh, my!) and see a play about mature southern women. In that order.

For what it's worth, all three of the women involved in our party had been born south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Like every other time I'd eaten at Adarra, every dish was spot-on, dazzling us with nuance and flavor marriages made in heaven. The sherry vinegar-laced chilled almond soup was unlike anything I've ever had (rich, addicting and thickened with bread) and the artichoke hearts were simple perfection.

After hearing the dessert offerings, there was an order placed for three housemade strawberry ice creams and while it seemed like too much for three people, I'm here to tell you that every last drop was consumed. The credit for that goes to the fact that the chef's strawberry ice cream recipe came across a lot like my own very basic recipe: nothing but heavy cream, fresh strawberries, a little lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

As I learned long ago, it's hard to go wrong with a generous bowl of strawberries and cream. And don't get me started on my peaches and cream ice cream (at least until July).

After rolling out of Adarra, we headed south for a play espousing a philosophy of living single and drinking doubles. "Savannah Sipping Society" was written by the same trio who'd concocted "Dixie Swim Club" (which included Jamie Wooten, who'd written for "The Golden Girls"), so director Tom Width promised us a good time and plenty of familiar characters.

You know that feeling you get when you're all tingly and feeling just wonderful when you fall in love? That's common sense leaving your body.

The story followed four women, three of whom meet after escaping a hot yoga class, all of them going through changes. They begin gathering on one woman's veranda for deep discussions and alcohol of every kind.  One's husband recently died, another's spouse had left her for a 23-year old chippie and the one with the veranda where all the drinking goes on has been fired from the architecture firm where she has worked for decades.

So none of them are in a great place. And that doesn't even include the Grandmother character, whose only scene requires her come onstage and die.

Enough butter and love can fix anything

The last of the group has aspirations of being a life coach, so she takes the reins to get the women out of their ruts and into the next stages of their lives. For fuel along the way, they drink Mojitos, bourbon, Madeira, hot chocolate with Kahlua, wine and probably more that I can't even remember.

Mostly, the women support each other as they move their midlife baggage from an unhappy place to a more satisfying place for their next chapter. I'm proof that it can happen.

It's not flirting. I call it chatting with intent.

And, of course, because they're women, they support each other in everything: salsa dancing, going out with a date for Valentine's Day, getting tattoos and role playing, to name a few. So they can't help but learn to love each other and rely on each other for advice, commiseration and laughs.

The play was fun, plain and simple, for many reason: relatable characters, quick dialog, physical humor and sheer familiarity. Southern accents came on strong and dropped off and it was sometimes hard to see the stage right monologues from our vantage point, but the four actresses' chemistry was so strong that you couldn't look away from their fast-moving conversations for fear of missing someone's pithy observation.

It's a concern I know well. When I'm with my five sisters, the cardinal rule is you don't exit the room unless you're willing to be talked about. I like to say I'm not escaping, I'm leaving with intent.

Fact is, you worry a lot less about that sort of thing once common sense leaves your body.

Which it did for one simple reason. Not gonna lie, I chatted with intent.

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