Just now I was told I looked “clean-cut and perky” and not unlike the color of Wonderbread.
Just in case you were wondering, last night after wine tasting (and making another new friend and singing “Happy Birthday” to our original new friend, the manager of the wine shop) we walked around the corner to the Cheeseboard, a Berkeley institution if ever there was one (aside: I have totally met Wavy Gravy (and he had a fish on a leash)). While we ate pizza (sans corn), we had front-row seats to the jazz combo playing in the front corner of the shop, and by front row, I mean had I stood up and taken two steps forward, I would have been wihtin head-patting distance of the adorable pianist, drummer, saxophonist, and upright bassist (who closed his eyes and stuck his tongue out when he played). Little kids danced on the sidewalk, dogs wearing homemade sweaters cocked their scruffy, inbred heads, and Simon picked the minced calamata olives off his pizza and smeared the remaining cheesy carcass with an entire head of roasted garlic. We drummed along on each other’s knees the way we do when we’re listening to CDs in the car, spinning records at home, and plugged into the same iPod while standing in line at the movie theater. (Please don’t hate us because we’re in love.)
After an hour or so of tight jazz, we headed to my place, where I had to contend with leftover officework and a clamorous furrball. While I tried to come up with a winner of a book title and keep Eve from chewing my pencil and fingers, Simon watched a PBS special on Pete Best and then, to honor my history and heritage, sat through a completely soulless reality show–a full hour of Nanny 911.
To understand the significance of this event, you should know that Simon is not a tv person. He’s lived in his new place for almost a month now and still hasn’t hooked up the antenna to see what kind of reception he gets, if any. I know–it’s a wonder we’re even friends. Yet, because he knew I had work to do and because he understands it’s important that I spend time with my cat and because he saw me sneaking peeks of Nanny over the edge of my manuscript, he indulged for the night in the kind of worthless do-nothingness that I spent years of my life perfecting. A decade from now we might call this, begrudgingly, “compromise,” but for the time being, it’s still “sharing.” A little of my life, a little of his; a little bit of indie pop, a little bit of blues; a cup of fine tea in the morning, a bowl of ice cream at night.
And speaking of tea, this morning while having a cuppa and sharing scrambled eggs (we bought three dozen because they were on sale and have been eating nothing but for a week), I told him, “This is so much better than Good Morning, America.” “What? Hanging out in the lounge eating a real breakfast?” “Yes.” “Really? Even though it’s super early?” “I have never seen the sun so silvery. These eggs are perfect. You look great in a tie.”
In a former life, I was a one-thing-at-a-time girl. I was a plan-ahead-for-weeks girl. I was a lazy-ass and a scaredy cat. Back then each day consisted of one major activity and one major activity only. On most days that activity was going to work; eight hours–certainly no small task. After work I would recover by sitting on the couch and vegging because, as far as I was concerned, I had already done something and Couldn’t Be Bothered to do anything more.
Sometimes, if forced, I would divide my day in two and spend the evening hours engaged in some other task, say, laundry or grocery shopping or going to a movie or hanging out somewhere besides my couch. In the rare event that any evening activities occurred, however, they were most certainly extensively planned, at least a week ahead, with all the details worked out, the timing precise, no room for surprise or error or catastrophe. (That’s the scaredy cat part.) It was well known among my friends that asking me out for the evening would almost surely be met with instant rejection, not because I didn’t want to hang out but because I needed to prepare myself and make sure all bases were covered, all ducks were in line, all courage screwed to the sticking point. I know it makes no sense, but it is what it is.
Anyway, that was life before Simon (LBS). Life after Simon (LAS) is infinitely more complex and stressful and challenging and, fortunately, fun. After work he doesn’t want to sit around and do nothing. Nor does he want to do one single activity that was scheduled weeks and weeks ago. Every evening is a chance to do a million and one exciting things, and every night I fall into bed exhausted and exhilarated. On Monday, for instance, he picked me up from work, took me to look at a piano (he’s buying me a fucking piano!), and then marinated my evening in mint julep, martini, old fashioned, Nevins (try it, Kate!), and something licoricey. We also had duck tacos and fancy quesedillas and then hung out at a pub until 1 a.m. making new friends because Simon talks to everybody and everybody falls instantly in love with him, even the boys, he’s just that great. That might not sound like a big night to you, but it is to me, the consummate sofa jockey. And it was especially big since the day before was packed with all manner of unspeakable craziness, and the night after was grocery shopping, omlettes during Gilmore Girls (he made dinner so I wouldn’t miss anything!), listening to records at his place, and falling asleep to classic Monty Python episodes. I never get a chance to catch my breath before the next thing. Slowly, I’m learning that breathless isn’t a bad way to live. Earlier today he called to say that he’s coming to pick me up from work in an hour so we can go wine tasting at a shop managed by one of our new friends from the pub. To me that sounds like a full night in and of itself, but something tells me that’s only the beginning. One minute it’s wine tasting, the next it’s the moon. We’ll probably go diaper baby orangutans at an animal shelter before the day is done.