Wednesday, May 04, 2011

My Dinner with Bob and Suzanne

My wife recently passed away, and my friends have been solicitous in regards to my needs during this period of mourning.  So it wasn’t really a surprise when one of our oldest friends asked me to meet her at the Detroit Institute of Arts to see an exhibition that was closing last Sunday.  We made arrangements to meet in the front lobby near member services.
I arrived a bit early, so that I could renew my membership.  The helpful woman at the membership desk handled my renewal efficiently, then asked what showing I wanted to attend.  I explained that I was awaiting my friend and she told me to return when she showed up.  I waited until a few minutes after 2 PM, then called my friend, getting her voicemail.  I dawdled about the lobby until about 20 past the hour, before returning to the membership desk.  There was only one ticket left for the 2 PM showing, but the woman told me if my friend arrived, she’d make sure we could go in together.  I went to the exhibition hall, wasting another 10 minutes, then finally decided to use my ticket.  Of course, as soon as my ticket was torn, my phone rang.  My friend apologized, explaining that she had lost track of time while cleaning her patio furniture (it was a gorgeous day-70 degrees, sunny, with a light breeze).  She instead suggested I come over to her home for a glass of wine after I finished at the museum and I readily agreed.
After strolling through the exhibit, I made my way to the Modern Art wing and took in the Impressionist paintings and the Diego Rivera fresco, then retrieved my car and drove north.  When I arrived, I saw my friend, standing in her driveway, her phone at her ear.  As I got out of my car, she laughed and said, “I can’t offer you anything to drink.  I’ve been locked out of the house.”  By her husband, it turned out.  I reached into my back pocket and pulled out my flask.
“Good thing I come prepared.”  We shared some bourbon, then went to inspect the door.  “I have a lock pick,” I told her, “and we could try to get inside.”
“Why do you have that?” she laughed.
“It’s a lawyer thing,” I enlightened her.
 At the door, I saw her husband inside, and he waved at me but then walked away, deeper into the house.  “How about I take you out for a drink?” I suggested, replacing the pick in my pocket.
She agreed and we climbed into my car.  We were considering where to go as we approached 8 Mile, when I noticed a car coming up fast behind me, then pulling up to my left.  I looked over to see what manic was in such a hurry and saw her husband.  He waved us to go back to the house, then turned right onto the divided road and took off with a screech of tires and was quickly at, then beyond the speed limit.  I looked at my passenger, who said, “Well, we might as well go back to the house and see if he unlocked the doors.”  We parked and found the back door unlocked.  Entering, we made our way to the kitchen and she poured us each a glass of red wine.
“Why don’t you get your keys?”  I suggested.
She shook her head, advising me, “I don’t have keys to the doors.  I come in through the garage usually.”  Saying that, she opened the garage door and found the openers disabled, but was quickly able to reconnect the devices.
We sat outside on the patio, sipping our wine, enjoying the lovely day.  I was provided with some details about their recent troubles, when I noticed the same car that had screeched off down 8 Mile pull up.  He strode up purposefully, and said to me, “My sympathy and concern for you outweighs how much I hate my fucking wife,” giving me a quick hug as he continued into the house.
We sat in stunned silence for a moment, and then I pressed for further details, which my friend supplied.  To our mutual surprise, her husband joined us on the patio with a drink.  I inquired as to what he was imbibing, and he happily described his beverage.  It seemed to turn the page for him, and he engaged in the conversation.  I should note that I was there for dinner the week previously, and had noticed that I carried on conversations with both my friend and her husband (to be fair, he is my friend as well), but that the two of them did not speak to each other.  It made for a strange dinner party.
My friend went indoors, and he and I talked, but not about them.  When she returned, she said, “I am going to Bob and Suzannes’ to have dinner with Julie.  You are, of course, invited.”  This she directed toward her spouse. 
“No, I wouldn’t be good company.  Why don’t you take I.G.?”
Both of them then looked at me.  “Ah, shit, I don’t know…” I hesitated.  I knew Bob and Suzanne from dinners at my friends’ home over the past few years, and liked the couple.  I also enjoyed the company of my friend’s mother, who she usually referred to by her first name, Julie.
“No, go with (my wife).  I’m sure they will have plenty to eat if they expected me.  You two should ride together.”
I demurred that option, instead opting to drive separately and follow my friend.  “I will go for a drink, and see how it all plays out,” I conceded.
Despite an accident on Woodward, we were there in a jiffy, and went in to Bob and Suzannes’ home.  I was greeted by all the occupants of the kitchen, who hadn’t seen me since my wife’s death.  We discussed the tragedy, while my friend set up the appetizer she had brought along.  Just as the starter plate was ready, Bob announced that dinner was served and began to dish up jambalaya for us all.  Obviously, there was no possibility of me just having a drink and disappearing. 
Dinner was excellent, and we had a pleasant conversation about the Stratford Festival, our hosts being regular attendees at the plays held in Ontario, Canada each year.  It was still light out when Julie announced that she was going to depart.  We said goodbye to her, and my friend and I finished our wine from dinner while standing in the kitchen.  When we decided to move on as well, Suzanne provided us with carry out containers of pasta, not jambalaya, which I graciously accepted.
Once outside, my friend and I stood next to her car.  She kissed my cheek and thanked me for coming.  I looked at her, and told her, “This has been one fucking weird day.”  She laughed, agreeing with me and I noted, “It’s not late, want to grab a drink and talk about this?”
She nodded and we found a quiet bar down the street.  We discussed the events of the last few hours, but I still had no clue how things had proceeded to the point that I was sitting at a bar in Royal Oak, in a nearly empty bar talking about the secrets of men (there aren’t many, as I advised her). 
We parted in the parking lot, looking at my missing wheel cover and dented rim, the result of a late winter pothole I wasn’t able to avoid while heading to the hospital one afternoon.  “Actually,” I informed my friend, “I missed the hole, I just hit the huge slab of concrete that was in front of it to the side.”  We agreed to get together more frequently, with me stressing something I had realized too late:  “You need to make time to spend with those that matter most to you.  It’s far too easy to think you have all the time in the world, but that’s our arrogant mistake.  I won’t do that anymore.”
As I drove home with the sunroof open, enjoying the still warm night air, I pondered my day and decided that although odd, it was worthwhile, as a life experience if nothing else.
*Postscript:  Things seem to be better between my friends.  At least, they carry on conversations between themselves.

Some links and quotes

There is not much better in the world of web surfing than being able to read the writings of an author on a weekly basis, especially when the content is so wonderfully humorous.  Witness Drew Magary of Deadspin in the most recent Funbag installment:
All day long, from the commute on the train in the morning to the commute back, and for every reasonably attractive female that passes by my office door in between (but excluding images encountered, e.g., on the web), I do at least a quick imaginary mental-bang of dozens of women each day. Hell, they don't even have to be that attractive. I've fucked disabled fatties - in my head - just for a laugh. If you were to tally the total number of women you've had some mental relations with, how many do you think total in your lifetime?
What's the world population? Roughly that. The mind of any man is a sewer.
 The most amazing thing is that I actually said something along these lines, trying to explain my gender (actually, I learned today that gender isn't properly used here, instead I should say my sex, that being male, as gender is more of a grammatical distinction and not a differentation between male and female...anyway, I digress) and how we are all basically little boys at heart with uncontrollable desires to fornicate.  I don't think I'm as bad as Jim in the above qoute, or Drew for that matter, but I'm no saint.  That discussion took place at the end of a weird afternoon and evening I spent with my friend, which I'm still attempting to commit to this blog.
A little more Funbag before I put this post to bed:
After reading the story about Ina Garten snubbing a Make A Wish kid, I got to thinking what my wish would be. The 1st to come to mind (assuming I can't wish for endless wishes) would be nailing Brooklyn Decker or smoking a joint in the White House. But those seem too easy. Should I wish to be a manager for a baseball team or to be a head coach for an NFL team? Or do I go on tour with Prince? So many decisions.
I think if we're dealing with REALISTIC wishes, like those bestowed by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, your choices are pretty limited. No sex acts. No money. It's basically "meet someone famous" or "do one cool thing". And meeting famous people is boring as shit. I think I'd probably ask for a free trip or something. But let's face it, those poor Make-A-Wish people probably have to spend 80% of their day explaining to very sick cancer boys why they can't get a blowjob before they pass away. Because that's what every dying young boy wants. Even that kid who's getting to ride with dolphins and shit is probably thinking to himself the whole time, "Man, I really wish they had gotten me a blowjob." If a kid I know ever gets cancer, I'm buying him a blowjob, damn the consequences.
 Fine thoughts indeed from Mr. Magary.  But holy shit, did Ina Garten really snub a Make-A-Wish kid and his or her dream?  For shame.  No more watching you on Food Network or The Cooking Channel.  The young boy is only 6, so I guess having her make up for the snub by taking up Drew's idea is out of the question.  Note:  apparently the bad publicity forced Ina to relent and grant this wish.  It wouldn't seem so bad if she wasn't constantly tossing parties for her friends on her show.  Busy schedule, indeed.

Before I go, you remember Antoine Dodson from this post, right?  The YouTube star with the Bed Intruder Song (just Google search and you'll find it, trust me). Turns out he had a bit of a disagreement with the local law enforcement officers and was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, as well as not having insurance for his BEENNZ (E-Class), failing to appear on a traffic warrant and speeding.  Here is a short but sweet post on The Root to get you some early background and give you a place to jump into the details more fully via the blogosphere.

Material from Deadspin used pursuant to terms of  Terms of Use policy.