Monday, June 21, 2010

Out With the Girls

Amster invited me to join the party last night, and I said yes.  TBG isn't much for sitting on bar stools or imbibing the liquid refreshments proferred by the bartender, so spending Saturday night apart from him wasn't a problem for either of us.  There are many advantages to being part of a long marriage; the ability to spend time without each other is one of them.

We started off at Jax Kitchen for Jax Ice Water and the cheese plate.  Known in other establishments as Kansas City Ice Water, this crystal clear confection is a sweet-but-not-too-sweet way to wet your whistle on a hot summer's evening.  And yes, I know that summer doesn't start until the 22nd of June, but if the National Weather Service can make an arbitrary decision regarding the start of the monsoon season, I feel justified in declaring that any day where the temperature is over 100o can be called summer.  Touching the steering wheel or shifting from first to second reinforces the fact that, though the calendar may call it spring, my flesh is singing a different song.  When I burn my fingers as I graciously hold the door for G'ma, it's summer.  And Jax Ice Water is just what I need.

We sat at the bar, Amster and her friend and I.  We laughed - loudly enough that the diners were not amused.  The bartender saw their stares, and reassured us that laughing at the bar was totally acceptable behavior, and that if people were unhappy with the sounds of joy, well, that was just their issue now wasn't it?  We weren't crude or rude or really all that loud... we were happy.  Old movies, old men, old flames... we covered it all.  Three decades of women were holding hands down memory lane.  This is my favorite part of living in Tucson.

We moved on to Armitage , adding two more friends along the way.  At this point, the outing turned from girls' night out to moms escaping for a while.  Not a bad thing, just not where I am these days.  The waiter's name was Stallone..... he thought he was as cute as we did.  Amster had a recommendation for a red wine, but somehow Stallone decided that we really wanted to drink the Grgich Hills which he'd give us for the happy hour price and since Amster never drinks red anyway she said "Sure." 

I wondered about that interaction over the next hour, as their conversation touched on peole I didn't know and events I no longer had to worry about - swim teams and school moms and pregnancies.  These were the stuff of my life for two decades, and now they are not.  Like turning off a switch, all those roles have disappeared.  I don't miss being known as the team parent or PTA president (a role I never held, but the alliteration was too sweet to pass up) or the Cuters' mother, though I reveled in it back in the day (another expression I just couldn't avoid).   I like the freedom to define myself without the accouterments of family or community.  I've never been anonymous in quite the same way as I have been here in Tucson, and it's been fun.  Lonely, sometimes, but fun nonetheless.

Without the connections the others shared, I was free to take a mental trip with Stallone and our hijacked order.  The colleague who recommended the wine also recommended Stallone as a waiter.  Was there some connection between the two that gave Stallone the authority to override our request?  When a customer tells you she's been told to drink this wine even though it's expensive and she doesn't normally drink reds what in the world would make you bring her something else?  Does he know that she will be back because she still hasn't tasted the wine she knows her colleague will ask about on Monday morning?  Could it really be that complicated?  And why did I care? 

That was the point at which I realized that sitting outside in June in Tucson is an exercise in perspiration and endurance.  I packed up my purse and kissed everyone goodbye.  I was home and asleep by 10pm.  Among other things, I've also lost the ability to party, it seems.