As I said an earlier post, I have a tendency to retreat inside my shell when things get rough. This patch has been no different.
But last night, I saw a group of girlfriends for the first time since late April, and it made me wonder why, before I do it, going out and interacting seems like such a difficult thing, when afterward, it makes the world about twelve shades brighter.
Things had moved on, had changed in my period of absence from them, from life in general. Two of my friends are expecting, and in that time they’d each gotten so much bigger, the impending realities so much more real. The flow of life continued, for the people as well as the plants (as I posted here and here), and I couldn’t see it from inside the shell.
It’s nice outside the shell.
Slightly noisier, though.
And on game days, a lot more crowded.
Our dinner nearly hit a snag when one of our friends, who, for the purposes of this post and only this post, shall be referred to as “Towanda, Amazon queen,” or simply Towanda (the name comes from Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, it’s a delightful read, and the movie, starring Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary-Louise Parker is actually a decent adaptation) had difficulty finding parking, due to the aforementioned game.
She knew she’d have to be able to get out of the lot when the time came to leave, as she has two fully-baked children she’d need to get home to. She asked the guy for in and out access (when there is a sporting event, everyone who has an empty two feet of pavement calls that space a parking lot, and crams as many vehicles in as physics almost allows. When it’s time to leave, you have to hope that the other drivers of the other Jenga-piece cars show up so that you can escape. In and out is supposed to prevent that).
He tried to charge her a ridiculous amount.
Towanda is not one to agree to such idiocy. She haggled.
Eventually he gave it to her for the same price as regular parking, and we had our very fun, very talkative (I fully admit, I was the talkative, at least for most of the meal, sorry, table next to us, and no, I was not working out the plot of my next novel). Finally, my flood of update reached its back end and retreated, and we were able to settle into the bouts of usual conversation that make those kinds of evenings.
Then it was time to go (we knew that because they turned on the lights in the restaurant. All of them. It’s one step shy of putting the chairs on the tables).
We crossed the street to the lot, and there was Towanda’s car.
Completely blocked by a minivan. With no parking attendant in sight (so good for her she didn’t pay him the money, he wouldn’t have been there anyway).
She was not deterred.
Pinned in on one side by a portable shack selling game merchandise, cars on the other, she eyed the expanse of sidewalk in front of her.
“Think I can get out this way?” she said.
“Maybe that’s what he meant by in and out,” said one of the expectant.
“I don’t know,” I said, my obsessively rule-abiding nature unable to contemplate a quick drive across a sidewalk, with a turn to avoid the signs, not to mention the hoards of swaying game-goers.
“I think you can make it,” said the other expectant.
Towanda got in her car. With delicate precision, she got it out of the spot, past the shack and the poles, while a light held pedestrians at bay.
Towanda! (Seriously, check out the book. Or at least the movie, and this line will make sense).
Off she went, in, yes, but she blazed her own out.
Ladies, it was great to see you. Thanks for an awesome, and exciting evening, and for the excursion away from my shell.