I’m writing you on Sunday night because I have to call the IRS in the morning to figure out if I owe money or I’m getting money back, a thing TurboTax can’t seem to tell me, which makes my ass ache mightily.
Yes, June, that’s a shame. So, what’d you do this weekend?
Well, mostly I hung around Marianne.
In 1992, I moved to Seattle. I knew I wanted to leave Michigan after college, and they read more books there per capita, so I figured I’d fit in.
I got a job a few days into my move there, by talking up the guy who helped me open a checking account. “I know they need a receptionist on 12. You want me to make some calls?” And a stellar career answering phones on the 12th floor was born.
One of the people who worked with me on that 12th rung of the ladder to success invited me to go to a rugby game with her on a Saturday morning. Anyone who’s read me awhile (See: All of you) knows how often I get up on Saturday and seek out rugby. But I was new in town
and completely desperate for friends. So I got up at some ungodly hour, maybe even 10:00, and went to a damn rugby game.
“We’re going to stop and pick up my friend Marianne,” the woman from the 12th floor said to me. I hate it when you have plans with someone and they throw someone else in like that. In my MIND I’d psychologically PREPARED for it to be just us. But I pretended to be a normal member of society and said okay.
Turns out, Marianne was fairly new to Seattle, as well. And as we stood on that cold rugby…field? Is it a field? Hoooo care. Marianne looked at our other friend getting all into rugby, and said to me, “You wanna go back to the car and drink all the beer?”
And we did. The end.
From then on, we spent every ding-dang weekend together, no matter what. There was a restaurant across from my apartment, and inexplicably it had a mechanical bellhop in front of it, with an arm that moved up and down, sort of guiding you into the diner. We had breakfast there every Saturday. I mean every Saturday.
I’ve no idea what the name of that place was, since all we did on Friday night was sort of drunkenly say, “What time?” and do the bellhop’s arm gesture.
Or even, “Oh, god, like, 1:00?”
She left Seattle a year before I did, to go back to North Carolina. At her goodbye party at Lai Lani Lanes, a Tiki-themed bowling alley we adored, I told Marianne that at my wedding someday (Step One: Get boyfriend), we’d find a way to drink a beer in a car during the reception.
She drove all the way from North Carolina to Michigan to come to my wedding, three years later. At the very end of the night, the band packing up, I sneaked into the kitchen of the B&B and grabbed two beers.
We drank them in the rental car, me in my wedding dress and ridik veil.
Anyway, now here I am, in North Carolina as well, and she’s an hour and a half away and we see each other like once or twice a year and it’s stupid.
On Saturday, I was running my usual errands: taking the kids to soccer, meeting with the prime minister, knitting socks, I texted Marianne. “Wanna meet in Winston-Salem right now?”
Anyway, since Marianne was able to drop everything and drive to Winston, off I went.
We’d sort of forgotten it was St. Patrick’s Day, and by “we” I mean clearly not old Kermit, up there, dressed head-to-toe in green. Marianne has always been more excited about life than I am.
My point is, we went to a restaurant, and they were shamrocking out, man. They even had hootchie-gootchie girls (TM, Ned’s mom) handing out Irish whiskey for free and everything, along with hats, shirts and sunglasses.
“We probably shouldn’t drink all of this whiskey, because we have to drive,” I old lady-ed.
“Oh, I wasn’t planning to,” doddered Marianne.
“I wonder how many St. Patrick’s Days we’ve spent together,” I said. For some reason, Marianne had, like, this houseful of friends who’d all come over from Ireland together. Their house was magically delicious. And not at all devoid of, you know, parties. Especially on St. Patrick’s Day.
Oddly, we can’t remember any of them. Hmmmm. What could it be? What.could.it.beeeeee that made us forget?
Anyway, our three sips of whiskey in us, we headed to our cars. On the way out, I saw a good-looking man I completely recognized, and we both stopped in our tracks because we clearly knew who each other was, but could not place. He was with a woman, so if he was one of my 39583030402 internet dates I’ve had over the past two and a half years, I didn’t want to stir up any trouble.
“Who was that hot woman in the bowler hat?” I mean. It was inevitable, right?
On the drive home, I was all,
Which means nothing to you, and anyone who actually remembers who Ron is gets a plastic green bowler hat.
He was Marvin’s bandmate. From, like, 2008. Marvin put an ad on Craigslist or something and this really nice guy, Ron, answered the ad, and every Sunday for years they would have band practice here at this house.
Every Sunday for years, I would therefore go to the movies and see some weird independent thing, and Ned and I used to say we MUST have been in the same theater at the same time, as a result, which is weird to think about.
I tried to find a photo of Marvin practicing with Ron, a thing I know existed, but instead I found the photo of the time I insisted you all call Henry, my cat, fmr., “Henri.”
Am delighted with self anew.
Ah. Here’s a crystal-clear shot of Ron and Marvin practicing. Pre-bookshelves. Pre-not-beige walls. Weird.
Anyway, the next day I talked to Marvin. “Ron thought that was you, but he wasn’t sure.”
“Is it because I’m so hot now?”
Marvin didn’t answer that. You’d think Ron woulda said, “Man, she’s clearly had Ultherapy.”
Anyway, I’m glad I had the brilliant idea to get together with Marianne, and that we had a good time even though we were done by, like, 7:00 rather than just going out at 7:00. It’s good to have people you can grow old with. Even though I’m getting hotter by the minute.