On Thursday night, my friend and I met up in Georgetown after work. He wanted me to help him pick out a pair of glasses and we’d planned to get dinner afterwards. We met at the corner of Wisconsin & M, and walked half a block up to the store he’d had in mind. It was a small, trendy place with a wide selection of frames.
I got a new pair not too long ago and am still a little bit obsessed with them. He’d tried them on a couple times and looked really good in them, so I was kind of excited to see him in a pair of his own. [The things I get excited about sometimes are so weird.] I’d imagined him in something kind of hipster-y, but still conservative enough to wear to work. We knew we’d found them the minute he slipped them on. They were black, very angular, and plastic. I smiled as I looked at his reflection in the mirror. “Yeah…you look really good in those.” And he really did. He posed a little in the mirror as he tried them on. “You’re posing! Look at you pose,” I joked as he stood there a little puffed out, head cocked to the side. “I am not posing!” He insisted. “This is how I always look at myself in the mirror…” “Whatever,” I laughed. “You’re totally posing.” He liked them, but was a bit hesitant because of a slightly cloudlike pattern on the sides that he wasn’t sure he could pull off. He tried on a few more pairs, but we kept going back to those.
“They’re perfect,” I encouraged him. “You should get them.”
“You are such an enabler,” he said.
I love running errands with him. Like me, he likes to play around with the sales people or wait staff. He jokes and flirts and treats them like he’s known them for a long time. It can make even the most mundane errand fun, and is just a really great way to relate to people. We tend to make a little bit of a spectacle (pun very much intended) of ourselves when we go out and this time was no exception. Once he’d made his selection, the sales girl invited us to sit down at the table to fill out the order. He and I kept our little soft-shoe going while we waited—he randomly pulling out a package of Chuckles he brought me from his office vending machine and trying to convince me to let him measure my pupils with the store’s machine. “Come on,” he said. “It’s digital. You like digital things!”
“So how did you find us?” the sales girl asked as she entered his information into the computer.
“I found you when I was walking back from the comic book store,” he replied very matter-of-factly. She burst out laughing then asked again, “No…really…?”
When he insisted that he was telling the truth she looked over at me for confirmation. I glanced up from the magazine I was leafing through and nodded. “He’s not joking," I said dryly.
We’d planned to have dinner at Peacock Café, a place I’d read great things about but had never been to. Before dinner we ducked into the aforementioned comic book store for a few minutes. I felt a little unsure of myself in the unfamiliar surroundings and clung to him at first. I walked around a little and checked out a few graphic novels, but was more interested in watching him shop. I was taken by the no-nonsense way that he quickly plucked books off the new releases shelf. It reminded me of how I act in the grocery store when I have a very specific recipe in mind. I’ll run through ingredients in my head, mentally checking things off as I place them in my cart: bell peppers, parsley, endive… I don’t go there to browse—I know what I want, I get it, I leave. And that’s what he was doing. It wasn’t so much the method that intrigued me, but rather the juxtaposition of this very organized, very determined approach to something that at its heart seems so playful, so childlike… Thinking about it some more, however, I realized that it’s really one of the things that I’ve always loved about him; his unselfconscious refusal to separate these very different aspects of his life. Whether he’s buying three thousand dollar suits in a Daredevil t-shirt or three dollar comics in his work clothing, there is no compromise.
Peacock proved wonderful. It had a very different feeling from the restaurants I’m used to around here, and while the food wasn’t spectacular, it was still very good. He ordered pork chops and I ordered lamb. We split an order of mussels as an appetizer and when dessert was offered he asked to see the tray without hesitation. I know that it’s such a tiny thing, but it’s so important to me. My closest friends all know to always order dessert with me. Dining should be an experience, and it’s just not complete without something sweet at the end.
On the ride home we talked about how we’d both imagined living in parts of Georgetown. He on the cusp near the park and me on one of those little side streets leading up towards Wisconsin. He’ll probably come back here for a bit when he returns, but I’m not really sure if I ever will now. I felt one of those pangs that I keep getting every now and then. I know I made the right decision by choosing to go back to New York, but there are still moments when I second-guess myself for a few seconds.
Later that night he sent me a text telling me how much fun he'd had. I felt the same. There was nothing particularly remarkable about the evening when you break it down, but taken together it was just one of those nights where the company and conversation has a way of making the tiniest thing seem really special.