Whining and dining [ 2005-08-06, 11:47 p.m. ]

I wasn't all that hot on going out tonight but I told myself that it would be fine. Nothing too exciting or whatever. And no,it wasn't exciting. Just a bit sad.

I went to the Olive Garden to meet up with my old friend,Meg. I've known her since my theatre days at the community college. She's always been a bit ditzy but otherwise she's pretty together. Except when it comes to dating. She's always made terrible choices. Low self-esteem being the major factor there. Her first marriage ended but not before he punched her around and broke her nose. Her second marriage is still going but he's verbally abusive though they've been going to marriage counselling now. They have a daughter,Allison,who is 5 years old now.

Meg and I used to be really close for a while back in the mid-'80's. She's two years older than me and she was playing at a piano bar back then. She's got a nice,strong voice and is a pretty good piano player. So I'd go watch her play sometimes and though I was underage they waitresses would always serve me. And Meg always..I mean always had a glass of wine next to her. I love sober Meg but intoxicated Meg is just sad.

So I met her at the restaurant and was there a few minutes early. Meg drove up a few minutes later with her daughter. We hugged and she really didn't look any different. The last time I saw her was 3 years ago. And we live in the same city. I know. It's nuts.

We were waiting to be seated when Allison starts doing that thing that kids do when they are having a freak out. Gritting her teeth and breathing hard. Oh,fun.

Eventually we sit down and Allison sits next to me. Fine. I like kids okay and they usually like me mainly because I don't talk down to them. I also don't take any shit.

I'm a hardass.

Anyways,Meg and I started talking and it was really nice to get caught up. Her husband and she are buying a house and have sold the one they're in right now. Meg is starting a job in a couple days as a teacher's assistant. Lots of changes going on so I kinda forgave Allison's freak out. No biggie. I have 2 nieces and 2 nephews so I'm used to kids being that way. Allison also decided to rearrange the furniture around us. Meg had absolutely zero control over the kid. Which is not good.

But we talked through the meal. Had lousy service but hey,it's the Olive Garden. I followed Meg to the grocery store where she ran in to get some beer and wine and cola for everybody at her house (Michael,Paco & Paul were showing up a few minutes later). I sat in her car and kept Allison company. I'm really not bad with kids. I always surprise myself with that fact. But like I said, they tend to respect the fact that I'm not babytalking to them. I talk to them almost like an equal. It's the only way you can get them to listen.

So we headed to her house and her husband djs at some place on Saturday night so he wouldn't be home till a few hours later. She showed me the house and I sipped on a bit of chardonnay. The guys showed up and we chose a movie to watch and put it on, Raising Helen. By the way,don't bother. Snoresville.

All through this Allison is zooming around the room blocking the tv and just being a loud kid. Meg barely notices. Hello? You have company. Get the kid in her room or let her grandparents, who love to spend time with her,babysit. I do not understand. Argh.

Finally after the movie is over, Meg goes to her piano and she has me sing. I sang "Stardust",one of my favorites, and it sounded pretty good. Then we sang "The Rose". Michael sang a little bit of this and that but gradually I started noticing that Meg seemed to be getting really fuzzy-headed.

Michael and I pretty sure she was going into the kitchen and stealing sips or gulps of wine during the evening. It was just sad. By the time her husband got there around 11pm, I was ready to go. But since I didn't want to be the first to say so I waited for Michael's signal. Finally, he said that they were going to go so I took my cue.

I went out to my car and went over to Michael and he agreed that Meg seemed to be drunk. It was pretty textbook.

I phoned him on the drive home and said "I can't do that again". He agreed with that too. That was not an adult get-together. And I know that Meg is lonely but she's gotta know that that whole environment was not conducive to hanging-out. Plus,she kept repeating the same stories about her first marriage over and over again. And about a boyfriend back in the '80's that she used to do drugs with. It was weird. We were looking at photo albums and there were pics of him in it and that got her going. She told one story about 5 times.

Man. I just can't deal with that kind of stuff. I'm sad for her but honestly, we aren't close. And I don't feel I can call her husband and ask about her.

To top the evening off on things that effect me, I got an email from Brenda. She told me that her husband was definitely getting a transfer to Seattle (He works for Microsoft) and they would be moving by the end of the year. So she's putting in her notice. My one real true friend at work is leaving. Fuck. But I did email back that I would have an excuse now to go to Seattle which I've always wanted to visit. That's one bright-side,at least. Cause it's all about me. Except not.

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Ryan Adams