Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sociability ...

The first day of February marked the end of one chapter of my life and the beginning of the next.

If my life was a novel, this month would have been a really dull read.

Not for a lack of drama - the end of a relationship and a loved one in the hospital provided plenty of that - but because, socially, I was about as much fun as, well, actually, I'm hard-pressed to think of something in nature as boring as I've been for the past month.

Until yesterday. Yesterday, I had a reason to wear eyeshadow.

It's been years since I've seen my friend Dick. Years. Isn't that ridiculous? He splits his time between Florida and Chicago these days, and this weekend, he's in town. So we decided to get together for lunch.

The doorbell rang. "Hello, handsome," I said as I opened the door. I gave him a brief tour, we stopped to consider the art hanging in my dining room, and then headed off to lunch.

Settled in at a quiet table at a favorite Italian joint, we each ordered a glass of wine and had to ask our server for more time to decide at least twice. We clearly had a lot of catching up to do, and we couldn't wait to get started.

But we did finally decide on lunch - he ordered the scallops I recommended (that come on a plate napped with roasted garlic mayonnaise - pure heaven) and I ordered the roasted lamb shank that falls off the bone and is the definition of "succulent" - and then returned to our tales.

In social settings, I tend to hang back, let others talk. But when there are only two people involved, it's not fair to make the other person talk constantly, otherwise they don't get a chance to eat. So we languished over lunch, swapping stories. We had another round of wine. We split a tiramisu and drank coffee. Lunch lasted nearly three hours. Now there's a decadent way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Somewhere in the storytelling, I asked Dick how old he was. I'm sure I knew how old he was at some point in our relationship, but I've forgotten, and he hasn't changed a bit, so it's hard to tell.

"I'm 69," he said.

"Really?" I asked. "Have you sold your soul to Satan or something?"

He wasn't sure if that was a compliment or an insult. I assured him it was the former.

He dropped me off and headed for home, and I thought about how tremendously lucky I am, what an interesting life I lead. I have friends of all ages, gay, straight, black, white, Iranian, Jordanian, actors, writers, musicians, creatives and savvy business minds alike.

And they all have something to teach me, about the world and about myself. I need to see them more often.

Working from home, some days it's hard to get out of the cocoon. If I need to run to the post office, I can just wear my sweats. There's no need to get dressed to buy stamps. If I'm going to go through a drive-thru to pick up a salad for lunch, I might make the effort of eyeliner just so I don't look too wan. Most days, my hair is pulled back in a twist. I might or might not put in my contacts.

So to have a day, an event, for which I actually put on my makeup and style my hair, to put on my favorite shoes and my long black coat, perfume, even!, is a very welcome day indeed.

Tomorrow, I will make more plans.

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