Saturday after lunch, I headed to keryx's swinging pad (a really lovely high-ceilinged wood-floored refurb) to hook up with her and her dancing shoes. We found her friend Chelsea, turned around and headed out to Richmond Pride. I totally forgot my doumbek and had to borrow one! Pride was great fun, and the drummers for To The Earth very kindly let me play and thankfully, I didn't make an ass of myself and thanks to Tigre, was able to follow along and keep the rhythm. We did three sets over the course of the afternoon. This reminded me that I need to get a strap to attach to my drum, because even if I'd remembered it I'd have been hard pressed to play standing up. Pride was plagued by a few meek protestors with a really, really big yellow sign. A lovely lady with a dalmation and the sparkliest face ever danced along with us. I found a bracelet with my name on it. By the time it got close to 8, we were all exhausted and ready to get on with the partying. Somwhere there are pics of me drumming with the group! Which I hope I get to see. Oh, and I met the queer square dance group, which was really compelling. I did square dancing in the 4th grade, and it was always my favorite dance to do at the spring festival. I am so white.
We got back to the pad and A. set out a ton of tasty appetizers, including sushi which I am still in the phase of falling in love with. I plucked on her harp a little... I must say, it's nice to have the full set of strings. I tell myself that's why I don't play more, even though we all know it's not that. There was some discussion of drama, much discussion of fake prostates, and some discussion of ASL. I was tired and unlively for the party, and felt a little outsidery, but that's to be expected. By the time people dwindled away I was so exhausted that I tried to read and the book fell on my face because I couldn't hold it up.
A side note to all this: spending time in Richmond made me, as usual for every place I visit, imagine that I could live there. It's urban, but it's small enough to get around in! There's so much that's charming, but the press of humanity and the cynicism of a city driven by the political machine is not so prominent! Most of all, it's freaking affordable!
At any rate, we did eventually get up Sunday morning. Originally our plan had been to go to Busch Gardens. Did you know that Busch Gardens costs $50 to get into nowadays? Huh. So after long talks about the deep meaningful things of life, keryx and I decided that the best way to celebrate our 20 years of friendship was definitely a short road trip... to somewhere that doesn't cost money to get in to. It was a great choice, and we headed off down paths we've walked together almost two decades ago to the heart of Colonial Williamsburg. Wow. I know I went there many times as a kid, but I was surprised how few memories I actually have of the place. In the car on the way down, we talked about career stuff - this was probably way more helpful to me than to A. - but it really put me in a positive frame of mind about things. I've taken some measures this week to move further on that and possibly get into some classes that could take me in a direction much more appropriate to me than the one my job was leaning towards even a month or so ago.
Right, so we got there, famished. We walked from campus, and talked about college life. I expressed some regret that I didn't choose W&M. I made a number of extremely unwise choices back then, and right now I'm doing well, but putting myself right in the middle of a scene of "what it could have been like" was very jarring. From there we went to discussions of costuming, which led A. to try anew to convince me I need to go to Pennsic. I am still not sold on the idea... over the years a number of people have talked it up to me, and I've yet to be swayed. We'll see. :) I worry that the time when I had the right attitude for Pennsic is gone. Not about the naked lounging by the swimming hole thing, that's fine. Just the entire historical recreation thing. I have no particular excitement about it like I once did.
Finally, we made it to the Cheese Shop and procured Smithfield ham asndwiches. Lunch was really, really, really tasty. There was this orzo salad. Er... I hope I have time next weekend on the way to or from Norfolk to maybe get some, because thinking about it is making my mouth water. We then strolled around the colonial stuff, sharing memories and generally enjoying ourselves. Twenty years is a long time, and in that time we've come together and drifted apart more than once. That we still share so much basic stuff in common is really remarkable. And comfortable. A.'s voice is something that while I don't have perfect concrete memories of the words, the tone and timbre have not changed, and while 6th grade is a long, long time ago, it's so amazing to have something so sense-familiar. I'm so happy we're both here, and communicating. Which sounds like a really robotic way to say "omg BFF <3".
April helped me with something totally random sunday afternoon too. My back problems heartily reasserted themselves about halfway through our walk, and I complained. A. had me walk ahead of her, and soberly observed that I walk funny. Apparently my natural gait is such that I stick my left foot out, pointed to the side, while my right foot points straight ahead. We stopped by the side of the road in the grass, did some stretches, and then I tried walking with both my feet pointed forward. It was pretty crazy how quickly that made the pain go away. In addition to that, I lift my left shoulder up higher than my right. Just trying to be conscious of those two things made a significant difference. I recall when I was younger I had a problem where I would walk on the outside sides of my feet, and would wear out all my shoes on the side, and my parents were all concerned about it. I unlearned that somehow - I imagine I can unlearn this. In the meantime, I feel like I'm doing an Igor walk.
We hit some crazy traffic heading home, and dumped off 64 to take a back road and get Slurpees. That was probably the best Slurpee I ever had. In Richmond, I bid my goodbyes and hit the highway, immersing myself back into magical british stuff, and took a long meandering drive home via 301. Greeted Jack gratefully upon arrival and collapsed on the couch, where we watched Margaret Cho's Revolution, which weirdly wasn't all that funny. Her delivery was so laden with excess physical expression - everything was held just a few moments too long. Maybe I was just in the wrong mood... we ate gyros and I got my mind back into day to day reality until, wiped, I lay down to sleep.
Monday night was peril_book_club. We have a new slogan: "Now with twice the colon!" There was pie. And the best salsa EVER (Trader Joe's Hot - in the fridge/fresh section). Poor examorata was the only person who liked the book. Her input was valuable! I still would think twice before I read another Ishiguro book.  Spoilers about the latest book included in comments.