Monday, September 9, 2002

What a Weekend!

As I often point out to anyone who will listen, one of the many bizarre elements in my life is the phenomenon of having to go to work in order to get any rest. My weekends and vacations are often overpacked with incident and activity, to such an extent that it is a sort of relief to come into the office for a little peace and quiet and head-space. This last weekend was one such... I am utterly exhausted and ever-so-grateful for a day in the office to cool my heels!

On Friday, my good and long-time friend, Fred, arrived from Virginia for a week's visit. Here is a rather elderly photograph of the two of us together, Christmastime 1989 (I think... my memory for dates is less than exact).

Fred looks almost exactly the same — a little more manly, with a Marine's buzz-cut and a little more cheekbone (as if he needs it). I look entirely different, of course, older and fatter and better-accessorized.

So anyway, I was scheduled to have dinner with Caroline at her new place, and since Caroline and Fred are also old friends, we turned it into a threesome and had a lovely time, first chatting and catching up over Costco lasagne in Caroline's tiny but adorable new apartment, then later over coffee and dessert and a leisurely walk in the Rockridge District. Fred kept pointing out what used to be in various places along the way, businesses and buildings that we'd not really thought about in a long time... but Fred hasn't been here in eight years, and hasn't lived here in ten, so his mental map was frozen in time where my and Caroline's maps have evolved slowly over the years. Fred missed restaurants and stores that Caroline and I had completely forgotten about, and remarked with surprise upon places and things that had been around long enough for us to just take them for granted.

So we got finished around midnight, and I went home while Fred stayed the night with Caroline for a bit of a slumber-party. But tired as I was, I spent a couple or three hours playing with my Sims... Vince told me about this great cheat code where you can give your Sim families unlimited monetary resource, and it has added a great deal of enjoyment to the game for me — there's nothing like money's-no-object spending, even in simulated cyberreality, to bring a great big smile to my face.

After such fun and excitement, I slept poorly, but had fabulously vivid dreams instead. One of the last dreams concerned the unexpected arrival of another old friend, Jason... a concerned/anxious kind of dream, brought on no doubt by last night's late-Eighties/early-Nineties reminiscenses. But to make the whole thing very odd, Grandmother woke me up to tell me that Jason was on the phone... and was that ever a shocker! But it was a different Jason altogether, so no ESP proof for me.

So after I dragged myself out of bed and played some more with my suddenly affluent Sims, Fred and Caroline came by and we went out for a brunch/coffee kind of thing on Piedmont Avenue before Caroline had to go to work. Then, afterward, Fred and I hung out for a while and then met his Mom (Nabuko) after work in Berkeley. I haven't seen Fred's mom in ages and ages, and of course she looked exactly the same as I remembered, too. Just like old times, with Nabuko talking to Fred in Japanese and Fred answering in English and me feeling like I missed the subtitles.

We went to dinner at this little tiny Japanese restaurant at the bottom of Solano Avenue, right next to the Albany Theatre. Nabuko is a regular customer there, so we had great service and ringside sushi-watching seats — also on view was the television, which couldn't be seen from anywhere else in the restaurant and which was tuned in to the World Open tennis tournament's Women's Final, starring Venus and Serena Williams (not to mention the ceremonial opening production number featuring HRH the Queen of Soul, Miss Aretha Franklin). I don't understand tennis very well, but the match was rather exciting to watch... especially those replay shots seen from the perspective of the ball. I will forever have this terrifying image of Serena Williams coming at me like some awesome African Valkyrie.

Afterward, we met up with Shiloh and Zack, who had just washed up from a busy day of painting their apartment (I didn't care for the color, a sort of medium goldenrod, but then I don't have to live there). We went out to the Castro for dessert and a general look-around, considered going to the Stud for Sugar but were dissuaded by the cover-charge and late hours, then came back across the Bay and went to the White Horse. The music was great, there were plenty of people to ogle at, and I even ran into quite a few people I know... and I really enjoyed the dancing, though I didn't actually get up and dance myself (I seldom ever do... it's so much work, and I know there's some evil queen just like me, sitting on the sidelines and criticizing every false move).

So anyway, once I got home (with Fred, this time... he's staying with us for the rest of the week), the Call of the Sims came to me again, and so I didn't get in bed until after 3am. Then I got up at 11 on Sunday, and Caroline came over, and we had donuts and coffee and another afternoon of chitchat and whatnot. Then Fred and I went out shopping, in search of some Indian sauce-packet that he used to always get here but hasn't been able to find back East. We didn't find it, but we had a good time looking. Then we got some fried chicken and pie from Merritt, and came home to suck down grease while watching movies until late in the night.

And so now here I am at the office, working on two projects at once while answering the phones, but at the same time rolling in silence, resting my feet — and, yes, playing with my Sims. Fred is out in the City exploring and catching up with a couple of other old friends, and so I figure I'll probably go out there myself this evening. We shall see. Fred's playing everything by ear, he has things he wants to do but no itenerary... and since I'm not much of a planner, that's fine with me.

Though being with Fred has brought up a lot of ideas and concepts, deep thoughts about my past and the nature of friendship, I don't really have an analysis of the feelings and observations garnered over the weekend — that will probably come later when Fred's gone home and I have some bored-time in which to think. But at any rate I'm having a great time. It's such fun seeing old friends!

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