ain't she a beaut

<Beth, Philadelphia, July 2010.>

We went to Philadelphia a few weeks ago for Josh’s show at the Grape Room in Manyanuck. We wandered around Philly the next day, mostly stopping at landmarks and deciding the lines were too long, or the entrance fee was too high, or who cares about history anyhow. Lunch was finely enjoyed at Eulogy, a Belgian pub in Old City. We laughed at the people on the steps of the Art Museum doing Rocky Arms. We drove back in the fading afternoon light, so exhausted and elated from being Somewhere Else. Driving in cars with friends is still one of my favorite things, even when we take the wrong highway and I crush my knuckles against the steering wheel trying to Be Cool about it, when we all know I am Not Cool about getting lost. I love traveling with friends, particularly the best ones, particularly the best ones who like having booze with lunch.

Lately, Stuart and I have been very nesty. Or I’ve been really nesty, and Stuart just likes me. We have a beautiful apartment and it gives me such stupid bougie joy to come home to it, to drop my keys on our kitchen table and let our little dog out of the office, to watch him bounce and whine with excitement, to open the fridge and know there are ingredients for an easy summer salad and maybe a quick pasta, to watch another episode of Life with dinner, to sleep deeply in a darkened cold room with my loved ones just right there. I have small bougie joys. Let me have them.

A friend (one of the best ones) said to me recently during a particularly soulful and wine-fueled heart-to-heart that I don’t have to justify having had a great childhood. It struck me with the not unpleasant sense of being very, very understood by the people I love. She’s right; I’m exceptionally hard on myself and one of my reasons (among many) is that if I don’t do something extraordinary with the blessings I’ve been given, then I’ve wasted them. This is like the exact opposite of people who still fuck their lives up because their childhoods were crummy. Neither is particularly healthy. These standards I’m carrying around don’t affect anyone but me.

Lessons here: a) it’s nice to have friends that remind you to give yourself a damn break already. b) Husbands sometimes get tired of making this point as you yet again agonize over some tiny choice and the Right Way to choose. c) It does not help to have this huge legacy from someone who was really good at ethics and taught you maybe too well. d) Things to talk about in therapy! e) all of the above.

Where were we? Oh, right. So, a motley assortment of other cool things:

Guess what I did last week? Saw David Mitchell read at BookCourt with Zan, got three whole books autographed (including a replacement copy of Black Swan Green, since I lent it to someone unworthy and never got it back). Then we went to dinner, her and Jen and Lavina and I, at Apt 138 and we drank gin things and laughed about everything. Then, the next night, Stuart and I joined Mayumi to see Mitchell read, again, this time at Greenlight, and then we went with May and her mama for a glass of wine at Stonehome, and then Stuart and I finished with dinner for two at Smoke Joint. Date nights are good, you guys.

Guess what I’m doing next week? Having brunch with Leah and Kristin at the same time. Plus, thanks to Leah, I’m going to pretend to be a decent blogger for once and go to the Friday night BlogHer party.

Guess what I’m doing next month? Turning 30 and going to Santa Fe on the same day. YEAH.

Guess what I’m doing in September? Starting my last year of coursework for my Master’s degree. And taking over the world. Watch out!