Sometimes a conversation can go skidding sideways in the most innocent, silly way, and effects can linger for hours. Longer, even.
One night my gal pal and I were at Old Chicago for our slightly irregular night out. We used to go there regularly on Thursday nights. In the summer, we enjoy the patio that spares us freezing in the A/C. In the winter, we hunker down inside. And they have electronic trivia, which sometimes we are fortunate to be able to play.
The recent irregularity of our outings was all my fault. After I broke my leg, I hibernated for a super long time – as in, about a year. Yup, the better part of 12 months. The progression of medical implements from October through December 2011 was walker, crutches and cane, and I hated having to use any of them, and especially where other people might be around to see me looking all elderly and frail. I suspect it’s really going to be supremely rough on me (and my ego) when I hit the age and physical stage that a cane might need to be a regular accessory.
When I arrived back in Tennessee from my Christmas 2011 visit with the family, the pretty pink cane was set aside and not touched again due to a newly developed habit of tripping myself with it. I could manage without it as long as my walking was slow and I paid very close attention. Pre-fracture, I walked very fast, like a person on a mission, but nerve damage made it impossible to lift the front of my left foot, so every step still brought with it the danger of tripping, and the mental focus required to take ten slower steps from here to there was draining. (NOTE: MS Word wants me to change the word “was” to “be” – as in, “ten slower steps from here to there be draining.” This is cracking me up.)
Anyhow, the heightened self-consciousness arising from pathetically slow pedestrian progress and the intense concentration requirement to set one foot in front of the other made it a lot easier (and more comfortable) to just stay home on the couch whenever possible. It’s amazing how easily “whenever possible” became a regular condition.
Fortunately for me, my friend is a kind, patient woman -- a humanitarian -- and not the type of person to abandon her friend, even when said friend has transformed herself into something more inanimate than human. She would regularly check in with me to see if I wanted to meet out, and even after weeks (months? eons?) of my saying, “No” she hung in there.
I'm glad to report that in the past few weeks, I’ve finally managed to shed the cloak of gloom and we’ve resumed our Thursday adventures at $2.50 Margarita night. We sometimes eat, and I usually sip away at my second world beer tour (only 29 more beers for my second 110-beer tour and note on the Wall of Foam!).
This time, we convened over sweet tea and a Margarita (her side of the table) and a Cocoa Porter followed by a Double Chocolate Stout from the new winter mini-tour (my side). We talked about her new job and my recent conquests with online Christmas shopping and rewards program redemptions and assorted other topics. At some point into the second beer (the Double Chocolate Stout), our conversation turned to the weather and how my dogs won’t go out when it’s cold (defined as 35 to 40 degrees), and how I may be insane and they will likely hate me for dragging their little doggy butts to New England where it can get super-freezing cold (defined in negative numbers), and how perhaps I should heed the advice of my two west coast cousins and move to Carlsbad, California with them, and how one cousin has an apartment in Barbados and I wish I could just go live there. Forever. Because it’s warm and near a beach.
And I, on my side of the table, arms crossed, all serious, was about to proclaim that it is infinitely colder this year than last, when it occurred to me that last year at this time, I was hunkered down on my couch with my leg elevated and avoiding going outside, so I didn’t actually know how cold it was. I have no clear idea, just a potentially faulty recollection that when I did exit the dwelling, I did not wear gloves. Not once. All winter. Which is probably not even close to the truth, it’s just how I remember it now.
I was about to redirect and make the point that I keep forgetting that I was not out in the cold or not-cold last year, as the case may be. Except it came out of my mouth (all serious) as “I have to keep reminding meself that” and I stopped when I realized what I said. We started laughing and she asked if I was trying to speak Irish leprechaun. It was funny, but possibly more in the “you had to be there” kind of funny that is supremely difficult to convey.
When we paused giggling and I could take a break from dabbing my eyes, now moist with laughter, we looked at the beer bottle to determine what ingredient or alcohol content might have me speaking in the famed Lucky Charms dialect. And then we laughed some more and my eyes were watering again. And I laughed all the way home. And after I got home. And some more when I woke up the next day and thought about it again. I just couldn’t seem to help meself.