Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Weekend Encounters:

1. On Friday, Adelphia and I went for our avoid-Valentine's-Day-crowd day-after-Valentine's Day dinner. Of course it was crowded by Valentiners with the same idea. Still, we had a nice romantic meal, and afterwards, decided to go out to a fancy bar, since we were all dressed up. She always looks elegant, but I for once was wearing a jacket and the new tie she got me as a V-Day gift. All a ruse to make her man more refined, I'm sure. But after checking out a couple of swanky schmancy sites, we opted to throw a few back at the Irish pub on the corner. We'd never been there before, but felt at home instantly. Maybe it's because we saw someone familiar -- a guy we always spot in Santa Monica. It's not weird we see him all the time at our happy hour seafood place. But after joking about how we're gonna get restraining orders on each other, we discovered that he's also from New York, and knows some of the same high school people as Adelphia. They chatted about their favorite hometown hangouts. It's like I always say, you've seen one Long Islander, you've seen the mall.

2. Browsing through franchise furniture stores on the Promenade, resisting the urge to add more potential clutter to our wedding registry, I spotted a woman I used to work with. In the split second I saw her, it dawned on me that she had seen me first, then ducked around a shelf to avoid me. Had I realized her evasive tactic -- as strange as it was -- I wouldn't have said anything, but I had already called out her name. So she stopped to talk to me, but it was it was an extremely awkward conversation. I recall she was always uncomfortable in her own skin, and now it was worse. Why? Because she was working at this store. She kept playing with her long hair and her sweater, trying to hide her lapel ID tag. And implying that she was shopping there, not working there. I never passed any judgment or gave her reason to be embarrassed. A job's a job. This was a step up from that corporate hell we both left behind. I tried to put her at ease and remind her I'm a writer. At least she had a job. Oh, she said, she also got her master's. In psychology. Great, I thought. Physician, heal thyself.

3. Monday, President's Day, I went for another run on the boardwalk and spotted Arnold Schwarzenegger riding the opposite way on a beach cruiser. When I told Adelphia about my celebrity/politician sighting, she was skeptical -- he wouldn't be out there alone. I said, hey, the Governator doesn't need protection. He'd just tell his bodyguards: "Ah'll... be... biking."


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