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9:46 a.m. - 2012-05-20
What happened at the BBQ joint.

Yesterday Mick and I had a lovely relaxing day. If our diner breakfast hadn't been so expensive and hadn't given Mick some digestive trouble later the day would have been damn near perfect.

Thanks to blogs and social networks it's become pretty easy to make new friends online, but for me it's becoming nearly impossible to make new friends in 3-D space. Of course my life is one of deliberate solitude these days and except for unsavory escort services there's no such thing as 'Dial-A-Friend...we deliver!' Because I am such a homebody I simply don't have many venues to meet new people. So this morning I'm kicking myself for not taking better advantage of a friend-making opportunity last night.

Wolf was off on a school sponsored trip to an amusement park, he's still having his own friend-making troubles with his schoolmates but he enjoyed the rides. My kid is a roller-coaster fiend. Mick and I took advantage of being on our own to do a few grown-up activities including trying a new-to-us BBQ place. Food is about the only thing I came back from my time living down south with any true appreciation for. (Though I will say that Texas with its horrible climate and its big hair, Jesus-shouting, gun toting loony-tunes inhabitants certainly made me appreciate New York in ways I hadn't truly understood when I'd left home. Never has a person moved back to her home turf with a gladder heart than I.) But food? Southern food was something I came back loving. Fortunately these days it's becoming much easier to find southern food without actually having to go down south. Case in point a barbeque and blues joint which opened up a few months ago in what was formerly our local Irish brawl dive. Never went in when it was O'Shaunessy's House of Stupid, hell, I live with a belligerent Irishman- no need to go to a smelly bar to find one of those. Anyway, I noticed the sign change and how the front windows never seemed to be broken on Sunday mornings anymore and made a mental note to give the place a try. And last night was it.

In a word? YUM!!!!!

REAL barbeque. So tender, so spicy. Vinegary smoky heaven on a plate. A big old disposable plastic plate, thankyouverymuch. The decor and the service were as bad as the food was good. Oh the girl who seated us and technically waited on us was nice enough, but hadn't a clue how to serve table. Apparently none of the staff did. Never saw so much flustered running around with so little result. The cook was banging on the pick-up bell like Gene Krupa, the food was piling up in the service window, my glass stood empty for most of my meal (not a happy or comfortable thing when eating barbeque), and still somehow the very young and heavily tattooed waitstaff managed to scurry around like chickens who knew it was almost their turn for the chopping block and smoker without any real service being rendered.

No matter. We will go back. Mick, who's become quite adventuresome as a foodie- he's come a long way since one of our earliest dates when he ordered veal parmigiana at a sushi restaurant, had cajun catfish and dig this...he ate his dirty rice and beans! And liked them! Turns out Mick's aversion to those two foods came from early and prolonged exposure to store brand pork-n-beans served at his mother's table and school cafeteria rice. School cafeteria rice- hard little bullets of tasteless yuck dumped on your tray with an ice cream scoop. Man, if I'd never had anything but that mess I'd hate rice too. And store brand pork-n-beans? Blech! So the menu here at home as well as our choice of venue when dining out just expanded exponentially. This keeps up and we just might have a few dishes to serve our vegan friends without stooping to peanut butter and jelly.

Speaking of friends (which is what got me started on this ramble in the first place), at the BBQ place last night Mick and I hadn't been seated long when the joint began to fill up. Mick looked over the people being seated next to us and began to blush. I looked over and saw it was Ruby and an elder couple I assumed were her parents.

Here's the deal with Ruby- she and Mick used to date. They also used to work together. My guy never did learn not to shit where he eats and was forever getting involved with co-workers. He and Ruby only went out 4 or 5 times, long enough for both of them to realize it wasn't a good fit. Ruby left the school not long after to take a job with the county (not because of Mick, the job paid better and had more room for promotions) and through her work with the county strangely enough became friends with Mick's sister. This leads to SIL's 50th birthday party last year. Ruby was there and after an awkward introduction from Mick (who beat a hasty retreat) she and I hit it off famously. Seriously. I really liked her. And I'm old enough to understand that holding a grudge against someone just because she once saw my guy in his birthday suit is totally dumb. Ruby felt the same way and instead of glaring at me because I married The One Who Got Away and she was still single, she and I had a good laugh over what a small world it was and then went on to have a hilarious and interesting conversation that flowed and ebbed for the rest of the party.

I will be shallow but honest enough here to admit that part of our ease together stemmed from the fact that she and I are about par when it comes to looks. I didn't get my panties in a bunch thinking Mick would see us together and regret he got stuck with a dowdy cow like me while Ruby glittered like some teeny well-groomed gem nor was Ruby biting the insides of her cheeks thinking she got the chuck so Mick could hook up with a super model. Ruby's not as tall as I am (but who is?) and she doesn't wear glasses, but on the whole she and I are fairly similar looks-wise. There was automatic comfort and compatibility in our curvy bods, pretty eyes and excellent hair.

So last night she greeted Mick a bit coolly but had a glad welcoming smile for me. After our meal we chatted for a bit and just like at SIL's party she and I fell into an easy convo that if not for her being with her folks and us needing to get over to the school to pick Wolf up might have continued for a good long time over a couple of beers. It wasn't until later after Wolf was safely home and I was here at my desk that it dawned on me I should have asked Ruby for her phone number. She works right down the road in Podunkville and arranging to meet for lunch or an after work coffee would be easy. Duh! But my 'make a new friend' skills are rusty. There's hope though. I'm figuring the universe threw us together twice already and an opportunity to see each other again will come up soon enough. Next time I won't be so brain-dead and hopefully I'll be able to expand on this odd but real connection and set the foundation to make a new 3-D friend.

Today looks to be the same kind of easy relaxing day as yesterday was. Though without going out to eat and lots of noisy whoo-hoo (the kid's home). The weather's gorgeous and hopefully Joe Barky who used his riding lawn mower on his postage stamp sized yard yesterday and then spent 2 HOURS using a weed-whacker in the most annoying tentative tee-nouncy fits and starts imaginable is finished fucking around with his lawn and things will stay quiet. We can only hope.

It's all good in my 'hood, hope it's the same for you. ~LA

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