I took an unprecedented time out from my walking routine (see also: directionless marching) to have an actual sit-down dinner at Mad Mex with my new friend (and new-to-Pittsburgh) Seri.
Don’t worry — I parked really far away.
I know what you’re thinking: “How does this broad sucker people into being her friend?!” That’s something I ask my diary every night, so your thoughts are not alone.
Sometimes, meeting someone for the first time can be a nightmare, a complete blueprint for awkward exchanges, embarrassing stuttering, and painful silences.
This is something in which I have accumulated much experience. So I thought for sure I’d be clandestinely checking my phone under the table, silently calculating all the steps that were passing me by while I was being held prisoner over burritos and salsa, and willing myself to choke on a tortilla chip so I could go to the hospital. (There was legitimately a coffee date I had with someone in 2005 where I got all wistful at the sight of an ambulance speeding past.)
But it wasn’t like that at all. Instead, we had so much in common that conversation flowed as freely as our black cherry margaritas and I quickly learned that this girl is basically the taller version of me. Our background similarities are astounding, and her husband Pete and Henry should probably just go ahead and start a support group for men with tightly-wound, temperamental lady-child partners.
Um, and she pronounced “Chooch” correctly without me ever saying it in front of her.
And the fact that she even came bearing a gift was just gilding the lily at that point. (Not that I mind gilded lilies!) Her husband Pete did an impeccable wrapping job (Henry is the household present-wrapper too!), and somehow, someway, the paper matched my nail polish exactly. The signs, they were everywhere and neon.
“It’s so you won’t smash your sandwiches on the trolley anymore,” Seri said, and I was so touched. I need people to take care of me and my sandwiches! It was such a sweet gesture, and maybe it was because my emotions were tequila-tinged at that point, but I for real got a little choked up. For real.
And even though I had to drunkenly shamble around the streets of Brookline* afterward to get my 20,000 steps, it was worth it!
*(At one point, I slurred out loud, “Why is it so quiet out here?” and then 3…2…1, “And there it is!” Domestic dispute in the middle of the road. Now that’s the Brookline I know.)
I’m meeting Seri at the nearby high school track this morning, so we’ll see how well she endures an hour of me talking about Jonny Craig. THAT is the true Erin Rachelle Kelly Friendship Litmus Test.