Well, actually it started with how we apparently get stood up, because the story began Saturday morning, when a friend of ours, with whom we’d planned to attend the Renaissance Festival, totally flaked on us apparently disappeared from the planet (ahem – you know who you are). (Yeah, so um, Mr. Flaky Dude? Don’t be, like, dead or in traction or anything, because then I’ll feel all guilty for talkin’ about you like this.)
But, see, SkipFitz and I HAVE to attend the Ren Fest. It has become a Tradition of Our Love (much like manacles and various foul odors; but those are stories for another time). The first year that we dated, he drove the 80-some miles from his city all the way to my city to pick me up and take me to the Ren Fest (which was 60-some miles back towards his city), and then bought for me a sparkly crown of stars to wear at the Fest. A couple of years ago, he pushed me into the mud at the Ren Fest and then bought for me the Scotch Egg that would, later that night, result in gastrointestinal distress (some of which I also wore) that made Linda Blair’s Exorcist performance seem like the starring role in a kindergarten class production of Little Mary Sunshine.
So yeah. The manifestation of said love has undergone a few transformations.
But the tradition stands. We ALWAYS go. So what, we wondered, were we to do about having been stood up for Saturday’s Renaissance Extravaganza? Should we go by ourselves, to keep tradition alive, or should we wait and see if we heard from Flaky McFlakerson our missing friend? (Dude, PLEASE still be alive and healthy!)
Ultimately, we decided to do both; we’d skip the Ren Fest on Saturday, to give our flaky-ass probably really busy friend a chance to get with the program (Dude, seriously– you’re alright, aren’t you?) and maybe attend with us on Sunday. After a brief Saturday morning run to pick up my new prescription glasses (and an equally brief return to the optometrist’s office when, approximately 7.8 minutes after arriving back home with my new specs, I broke the summa bitches), I insisted that we HAD to do SOMETHING, because it was an absolutely gorgeous day! So we opted to pack up the babe in the car and spend some time in a quaint little shopping area about 20 minutes north of us, where Skip could get a haircut (which embodies another tradition, since this is the barbershop to which he’s gone for haircuts since he was a kid), and where I could get cheese.
Oh, yeah, Baby.
You see, in the same shopping area is this little shop that sells a gazillion super-licky varieties of cheese; I am only stopped from consuming the store’s entire inventory at one sitting by the fact that I do not have a bajillion dollars (well, by that and the fear that if I ate all that cheese, I’d never poo again). But on Saturday I did have about fifty bucks, so with that SkipFitz and I purchased four chunks of cheese in a variety of flavors (one of them was goat cheese flavored with honey . . . how, I wonder, did they get that goat to swallow a buncha bees? . . . but such is the magic of cheese). After that and the aforementioned haircut, we wandered back towards the car, eager to head home, dig into the cheese, and commence the constipation. En route we passed the outdoor dining area of a cute little French joint. Just as I opened my mouth to ask Skip if he’d ever eaten there, a strange (as in heretofore unknown to us, not as in weird) voice called out: “Hey– you have the same stroller we do!”
We turned to see a smiling couple sitting, with their baby in the stroller beside them and nearly empty plates before them, at one of the tables of the French joint. And almost as if it had simply been waiting for that cue, my mouth opened completely of its own accord and blurted out, “OK, so does your stroller have the wonky front wheel?”
(It’s a jogging stroller, see, so it’s got three wheels instead of four; only the one wheel in front sometimes wobbles and makes the whole stroller vibrate, and you’re forced to pop wheelie after wheelie in an attempt to get it to restabilize. It’s a pain in the butt, really.)
“YES!” came the reply, and then we were off and running– or chatting, rather, as easily as if we’d known each other for 20 years. They were in town from a nearby smaller, farm-y town, in order to satiate their yen for a little urban living. They’d recently relocated to the Midwest from Houston. Their baby, a girl, was about three weeks older than Auggy. The dad worked at a university. The mom was a stay-at-home mom with previous experience in TV production. But perhaps most importantly of all . . .
. . . they were looking for a good sushi place.
So we recommended our favorite local sushi joint which, I may as well confess now in hopes that nobody notices this little tidbit in the midst of such a fascinating story, we love so much that we chose to skip that recent Earth, Wind & Fire concert for which we had tickets, in order to have dinner there.
They seemed pleased with our recommendation, and invited us to join them for dinner. We did that thing that couples do, which was to evade the question and say our goodbyes to the nice couple, then walk away and consult each other in private about the invitation we’d both pretended not to hear (because neither of us was willing to be the Bad Spouse who consented for both of us to a social event that one of us did not want to attend). When we found that we both actually DID want to join them for dinner, we concocted some lame and transparent excuse to return to their table and accept the invitation.
(Of course, by the time we returned to the table, our new Mom friend had run off to change the baby’s diaper, so our new Dad friend was forced to demur until HE could check with HER, in order to avoid being the Bad Spouse. So we walked away again, leaving our cell number; about 10 minutes’ worth of phone tag later, we had a (double triple) date.)
Which means that I have officially become One Of Those People, the ones who make friends with other people based merely on a common biological experience, i.e., a baby.
I always hated those people.
In fact, I was only able, with clear conscience, to befriend my friend Cat after we swore a blood-oath that we would, like, TOTALLY have been friends BEFORE we had babies, if we’d ever, y’know, actually had a conversation with each other back then. (I think there was also a clause in the oath that requires us to seek each other out and become friends if we ever both happen to travel back in time.) But, see? By NOT having actually spoken to each other when we were both normal, non-Mommy people, Cat and I spared ourselves all that insignificant introductory chit-chat, and moved straight into deep, intimate discussions about nipple soreness and poo. And good or bad, these are apparently the kinds of conversations that foster friendships for me now.
So here I am, one swirl deeper into the Parenthood Potty, having broken yet another of my sacred parenthood covenants: Thou Shalt Not Succumb To Mommy-Bonding. But what the hell, I’m too exhausted these days to actually put effort into being a scintillating conversationalist with a fascinating life (or hell, even to put effort into being well-groomed and free of unidentifiable crust)– so if I can make cool new friends based merely on my choice of stroller, Honey, watch me roll.