It’s not that I do it intentionally, but I do go through phases where I just don’t really see my friends very often. We still text, etc. but sometimes the good, old-fashioned face-time is lacking.
Lately though, I’ve been getting in some quality hangs and I’m starting to remember what it felt like before I suddenly developed “social anxiety” which I’m not even sure I really have, to be honest. I was going to make some comment at this juncture about how it’s really Henry keeping me under his thumb but who would even believe that? For real though, December has been rife with good people!
In addition to Vintage Snack Attack, here are some more casual hang-outs I would like to be remembering:
- Indian Foods with Kara and Brian
Sometime ago, Brian and I randomly became friends via Facebook. We have quite a few mutual friends, so I guess it wasn’t all that random. But it was one of those deals where we friended each other and then never interacted. If we’re being honest, I thought he was too cool and popular for a lame-bag like me, so I would just occasionally like his posts but never comment, because I can’t hang with the big dogs.
I even struggle with the little dogs.
But then one day, Brian sent me a message and was like “PLEASE DON’T GET CREEPED OUT, BUT…” and already he had my interest because I love being creeped out. Anyway, he thinks that Henry might be his long-lost older brother because there is a resemblance that he just can’t un-see, and that is how the Facebook ice was broken. Plus, it turns out he has known my pal Kara for like, ever, so we decided that we all needed to go out to lunch. (We realized that we were both at Kara’s wedding in 2008 before we knew each other! Pittsburgh is small as fuck.)
Basically, what is happening here is that Brian is just going through me to become friends with Henry. And it’s cool. This is how it works. EVERYONE LOVES HENRY MORE THAN ME.
(That’s not a chip on my shoulder. That’s just a newly-formed dent from all the extreme KpopX arm moves.)
We were originally going to go to Zenith, but they were closed for a dumb private party, ugh. So Brian suggested Cafe Delhi in Carnegie because it’s really good and also because he can just walk to it. #selfish Turns out we all benefited from his selfishness though, because Cafe Delhi’s curry was like “Please fill a water park with this and let me intertube my way to obesity!” levels of greatness.
Brian took this picture of my Sophia ring (which I’m posting here without his permission because I do what I want on the Internet), which escalated fast to the point where he is basically my manager trying to launch my hand-modeling career.
Anyway, Brian was just as cool and funny in person and he seemed to not think I was a complete dud! Now I guess I have to let him meet Henry.
Also, it was wonderful spending time with Kara in a setting where we could actually talk without me fussing over a table full of gelatin or our kids running around in flames.
2. Brunch with Lisa, oui oui
I was super excited last Saturday when Lisa changed her mind at the last minute and said, “No, instead of you coming over here to hang out, let’s go out!” I love hanging out with Lisa even if it’s just lounging around her house with coffee, but we really don’t go out very often (I get it — I had a toddler once!) so this was like a big deal. We decided to go to Tartine for some French culture. I was happy because right away, our waitress complimented my sweater and not Lisa’s.
“Go ahead,” Lisa sighed, and I frantically posted about it on Facebook. This is kind of our thing — anytime someone likes something of mine and not Lisa’s, I blow it out of proportion, and I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, that seems very out of character for you, Leo Erin.”
One of my favorite stories is from when Lisa and I went to Eat n Park during one of her visits home when she was living in Colorado, and the waitress approved of my dessert but not Lisa’s:
Lisa temporarily resides in Colorado so I was excited to get to see her Wednesday afternoon during her Pittsburgh visit. We walked down the street to Eat n Park for coffee and dessert, the perfect pre-work sugar fix.
Our waitress Barb was an older woman with the easy-to-talk-to charm of a seasoned server. Lisa immediately overshadowed me with her big smile and confident voice.
“I’ll have the chocolate cake!” Lisa cheerfully ordered.
Barb smiled and jotted it down.
“And I’ll have the blackberry pie with ice cream,” I ordered not as cheerfully, but I sort of smiled. Which is big for me.
Barb’s body shook with pleasure. “Yes! Good choice!” she sang as she scratched my order on her pad with a flourish. “That’s my favorite!”
I smirked at Lisa after Barb retreated. “She likes me better than you,” I chided.
“What makes your pie so much better than my chocolate cake? I mean, it’s chocolate cake!” Lisa’s visage melted into a befuddled glaze.
“Chocolate cake is a menu mainstay, Lisa. My pie is a seasonal delight.” This seemed to distract Lisa long enough for me to continue droning on about my life’s conundrums. It’s nice to have counseling ears across from me sometimes.
Barb returned with our desserts and the reminder than I am, and always will be, better than Lisa. She set down Lisa’s plate with an unremarkable motion, but then turned to me with the fanfare of a queen’s arrival as she gently placed my pie beneath my fat face and took a step back.
“Look at that pie, would you? Oh, I hope you will enjoy it. It really is the best!”
I hesitated before crushing into the crisp sugary crust, unsure if Barb was going to stand there and gawk. She smiled once more and carried on with her rounds of coffee refills.
Lisa was absently slapping her cake with the back of her fork, scowling at me. “Enjoy your freaking pie,” she mimicked.
During our meal, Barb came back later with our separate checks. She was delighted to tell me that my check was special. “Lookie here! There’s a number at the bottom to call and complete a real short survey. Then you write down the code they give you and bring this back next time for a two dollar discount!” She clapped her hands together and held them under her chin, waiting for me to call my mommy and thank her for birthing me so that I could one day experience the jubilation of getting an Eat n Park survey check.
I feigned happiness for the sake of Lisa’s plummeting self-worth. “It’s because I was smart enough to order the delicious pie and not the boring cake,” using my words to further wheedle away at her ordering inadequacies.
We continued to pick away at our desserts and imbibe (too much) coffee, when Lisa spilled her water all over the table. Barb came running over with her rag and we all tried to make light of Lisa’s fumbling fingers.
“At least it didn’t get on her pie,” Barb sighed.
Anyway, Lisa and I both enjoyed our French brunches (she has some kind of ham crepes, but I had the Tartine Poire, into which I really wish I could face-plant right this very moment) and I made some Drake-inspired comment about how we started at Denny’s now we here, which was probably only funny to me but Lisa politely laughed anyway.
Our waitress looked so much like Shelley Hennig from Teen Wolf (and ex-Days of Our Lives!) that I actually wondered if it really was her and we were being secretly filmed for some “celebs doing blue-collared jobs” reality show. Lisa of course didn’t know who that was because she’s an adult, so I showed her a picture on my phone and even she agreed that it was uncanny and Lisa and I usually don’t agree on things like that, so this was a big day.
Bertrand, the cutest restaurant owner of all time.
Lisa and I definitely need to do this more often. Or at least have Henry make us fancy French breakfast shit.
3. Pittsburgh Hangs w/ Jason
Jason was visiting from Cleveland and penciled us in for a Saturday evening hang sesh. He was already in Dormont, so Henry suggested that we just go to Tom’s Diner, because it was raining really hard and who wants to drive in that shit, right?
I don’t think we have ever had the pleasure of seeing Jason so many times in one year — three times in the span of a month is pretty good! I guess this makes up for last March when I was in Cleveland with Janna for the Howard Jones show and completely dropped the ball on meeting up with him.
What I really want to remember about this night is how WELL-BEHAVED Chooch was being! I mean, not that he’s a menace, usually, but sometimes he can get ornery if the attention isn’t on him (he must get that from Henry). Chooch is a chronic interrupter. Have you met me? This is my GREATEST PET PEEVE. I hate being interrupted. Shut your fucking mouth and wait your turn. Put it on my gravestone for Christ’s sake, I don’t fucking care!
This is one of the reasons Chooch and I fight so much, is because he can’t just wait his turn to speak. He is obsessed with hearing his own voice! So I’m always flipping out and he’s just like, “THIS CAN’T WAIT!” and guess what?! Not once in however-long-he’s-known-words has it ever been “important” or an “emergency.” So I get on edge sometimes when he’s with us and we’re hanging out with people who don’t have kids, because you just never know.
But he was a real pleasure on this night, in that booth at Tom’s Diner, and he ate all of his idiotic food and actually seemed enrapt in everything Jason was talking about and then it occurred to me: of course he was enrapt. Literally all we talked about the whole time was music and the music industry and the magazine and Warped Tour. Why wouldn’t he be enrapt!? He is my kid!
And then Jason asked him what he’s been listening to lately, which launched a conversation about Bring Me the Horizon and Twenty-One Pilots. I don’t think I ever really had anyone to talk to about music when I was a kid, so it’s cool that Chooch does.
God, Chooch has it all.
I didn’t subject Jason to any pictures this time, but Chooch followed Henry into the bathroom and snagged this gem:
I think my favorite part of Tom’s was when Jason reluctantly promised that he would give the entire Carly Rae Jepsen E.MO.TION record an honest spin.
Later, I realized that the reason Chooch was being so quiet and respectable is because he was sick. Whatever, I’ll take it!
Here’s hoping January brings some more quality hang-times.