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The Universe Strikes Again: Redefining Special

Jacks Smack 090920

Last week I ‘finally’ went out to dinner with a girlfriend. Over the last six months I have been exceptionally careful. However, due to some extraordinary circumstances my friend chose to get tested. Her results came back negative and I jumped on the opportunity to socialize. Cause for celebration? Absolutely.

Build A Woman:

I showered, put product in my hair, dusted off the make-up bag and ‘shopped’ my closet for something cute to wear. I even took a few minutes to pick out my accessories for the ensemble. To be honest, I am notoriously awful at this. Typically, I wear little to no accessories out of laziness. I always notice other women and how put together they are. Oftentimes making a mental note that I’d like to make a more concerted effort in this department. Then, just as often, deleting that mental note seconds after making it.

The last time I had been out with a girlfriend was early March. Honestly, I can’t remember the event at all, much less the date. I think that if I had known it to be my ‘last supper’, figuratively; I would have made a bigger deal out of it. And, this is the lesson that came hurling at me through the Universe.

Most evenings out don’t leave much of an impression. Or, at least they hadn’t before. This time I wasn’t going to be caught off-guard. Just in case some other debacle is looming, I went all out. I captured each bit, laying down the tracks of the evening, like constructing a top selling album. Being generous with each stage so as to take up as much space as possible in my psyche. Like the art of vinyl making, I did not want to compress any of the evening’s moments thereby ensuring a rich playback. 

Expectation Versus Reality:

outside the hand sanitizer and the mask it looked like a ‘lite’ night at the establishment”

I wasn’t sure dining out would have the same allure as before. All the pandemic precautions made me skeptical that the experience would be fraught with ‘Am i going to get sick?’ anxiety. But honestly, outside the hand sanitizer and the mask it looked like a ‘lite’ night at the establishment. It was rather nice; having some extra space and definitely some extra attention from our server.

I indulged in all the little nuisances of a night out. A delicious, sinfully dry martini; verbal banter with a sweet young server; exquisitely crafted dishes that I would not make at home; and the decadence of the full-range of ‘girl’ topics in which my friend and I are experts in practicing. 

Certainly I have had many such evenings with friends in the past. But, this one played out in much brighter tones. The linen napkin, perfectly ironed and stiffer than I remember them being. My cocktail, crisp with a whisper of vermouth, left an impressionable taste in my mouth. The shrimp, tender and lightly spiced to compliment the dryness of the libation, had me wondering: ‘Is this the best meal I have ever had?’

Was it really objectively that much better than any other evening out? I am not an idiot. The answer is absolutely not.

Re-Defining Special Moments:

over my life-time, the many restaurant episodes, while enjoyable, had lost their aura of ‘special’”

The disproportionate enjoyment of the evening lay in the delta; the difference between what I’ve become accustomed to over the last six-plus months and the novel (yet familiar) experience. I had forgotten the appreciation for the ‘cotidiano’ (a Spanish word that means daily but somehow has a much stronger weight attached to it). It’s not as if I dined and wined everyday pre-pandemic; but over my life-time, the many restaurant episodes, while enjoyable, had lost their aura of ‘special’. 

Similar to the making of the mental note of ‘do better with accessories’, I scrawled one for ‘slow down, notice the subtleties of an event’. It’s been days since dining out and while what little accessories I own are haphazardly stored in hard to access drawers and closets;  that immaterial scribble is front and center in my mind.