Wednesday, May 29, 2013

All Together Now

One of the best things about having friends who have known you forever is that they remind you that you used to have a life before the life you live now.

My friends from college are a wonderful group of people; like, literally, they spoiled me for all other friendships later in life.  We’re a fluid bunch – we all had other friendships and groups we hung out with – but there is a core set and after we graduated in 2004, we kept saying we needed to get together. Through weddings, a funeral, a class reunion, and a few random vacations here and there, all of us have seen all of the others at some point over the years, but it wasn’t until a wedding last year that every one of us was in the same place at the same time.  But with some of us in the wedding party and some of us not, we didn’t get to spend much time together…which is why this past weekend, we finally convened in Austin, Texas, expressly for the purpose of hanging out.


Thursday night, Megan picked me up from the airport and we headed into Austin to grab a (late) bite to eat on Sixth Street.  After discovering that the kitchens were closed for most of the restaurants in town, we found ourselves in a touristy bar where the bartender mostly ignored us in favor of girls who were younger than us and did not have the dazed look of people who are usually long in bed by that hour.

Megan:  "He didn’t even card us."
Becky:  "This place is terrible."

Then we headed back to the airport to pick up Crystal.

Becky:  "Oh, it looks like you have a missed call from Crystal."
Megan:  "I didn’t even hear it ring."
Becky:  "Me, neither."

*phone rings*

Becky tries to hand the phone to Megan.
Becky:  "I don’t know what’s going on!  I don’t know how to answer your phone!"
Megan (exasperated):  "Becky, that’s your phone."

Friday we slept in and then took an ambling walking tour of San Marcos, where Megan lives, including a scenic stroll near the river.  Lunch was at a sandwich place and afterward we headed back to Meg’s where, within ninety seconds of us walking in the door, it started to downpour torrentially. It never rains like that in Austin, of course.  Ever.  Except the last time I was in Austin, back in 2009.  It rained like that then.  I think that was maybe the only other time in the history of the world it rained in Austin like God hates Texans.

The rain made our trip to the grocery store interesting (Megan, Crystal, and I managed to get wet enough to drip all over the store in the three seconds it took us to run inside) and then we headed out to the house in Wimberley where we were staying for the weekend to drop off our groceries and bags.

Greta, who was already in town, was staying with another friend of hers, so we picked her up on the way to the airport to collect the final amigo, Kathryn.  And I say all this like we just zipped into the city and loaded the car with more people but, in reality, the city of Austin has the worst traffic of any place on the planet, so our trip involved three hours of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Megan was going to rent a car at the airport because…well, it’s not important to the story to explain it all…but she was going to rent a car except she couldn’t because the people at National thought she was going to steal it.  Or something.  So Greta had to rent it.  And with the rain and the traffic and the National Rent-a-Car debacle, we were all terribly exhausted, but found solace in eating our weight in pizza and drinking pitchers of beer.

Greta:  "Are you keeping a quoteboard for this weekend?"
Becky:  "Obviously!"

Except I didn’t keep a quoteboard.  The only things I wrote down the entire weekend were, “Just go to the rocks!” (which, out of sheer self-preservation, I can’t bring myself to explain publicly) and the conversation topic Hipsters:  En Masse vs. On Their Own (the consensus was that solo hipsters are the more tolerable variant; feel free to disagree in the comments).

This represents an awfully poor showing in quote-recording on my part.


Saturday it was still raining, so I did my best to sell everyone on the OBVIOUS MOVIE CHOICE, HELLO, FAST AND FURIOUS 6 STARRING DREAMBOAT PAUL WALKER.  But then that didn’t happen, mostly because the only available seats were in the front row, but also maybe a little because I think Greta and Megan would have rather forcibly removed their fingernails with pliers than sit through this movie.  (I WILL SEE IT SOON AND I WILL LOVE IT.)

Instead, we walked around the city during a well-timed and much-appreciated break in the rain.  We had mimosas with lunch and, as the rain was still holding off, we went into some stores, like Anthropologie, which I only ever go in when I’m on vacation.  (I, personally, don’t wear clothes from Anthropologie, but every single person I’m friends with and go on vacation with would wear anything in Anthropologie and that’s why I have been in a billion different Anthropologie stores.)

Back at the house, we settled in to a night of drinking Greta’s fabulous margaritas and eating the delicious enchiladas that Meg made for us.  In between swapping stories…

Kathryn:  "I helped them move in together!"
Crystal:  *gasp* "What?!  How did I not know this?!"

…and deconstructing our lives…

Greta:  "I don’t know how much is her not knowing and how much is her knowing and covering for him."

…we watched the Grizzlies lose, which was sad, but not nearly as sad as me trying to explain the nine friends on your Facebook Timeline when I was four or five drinks in.

Becky:  "These are your nine except it doesn’t matter because what I see is different than the nine you see, and shit, I’m doing this all wrong!"

(Dear Everyone Who Has Read That Entry, I am so sorry for the shame I did our collective interest there.)

I had to be up super-early the next day so Meg could take me to the airport, so off to bed I went.

And that was that.  Everyone else had another great day together, but I had my date with Sir Paul.

What we didn’t do was post what we were doing on Facebook.  Facebook is, after all, the internet’s great experiment in making other people jealous, and none of us wanted our weekend together tainted by fears that someone was going to feel left out.  The lack of broadcasting made it much more intimate.  This wasn’t about sharing our fun times with the world (er, this entry notwithstanding), but about spending time with people purely for the sake of spending time with people.

And when I came home, I felt restored, as if a part of me that I didn't know was lacking nourishment had been fed, and that ties into what I said at the beginning about being reminded that your life has more scope than your present circumstances.

I'm already looking forward to the next time!  And maybe now that we've actually pulled it off once, it won't take us the better part of a decade to make it happen again.


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