16 November 2005
On Time and Under Budget
(photo: Monday evening bar crowd at 53 South)
Annie and I had dinner with our friend and former boss Andy the other night. Since my digital camera's batteries bit the dust and rendered me photoless, I thought I'd use his Google image in place of the would-be photos. So, what happens when you type Andy's last name into Google images? Lo and behold, you get a face full o' Pope. This, in and of itself is odd. However, the fact that Andy has always said his father uncannily resembles the late pontif leads me to believe he is involved in some DaVinci-esque conspiracy involving the Vatican and swarthy suburban jews.
(photo: Pope Paven)
We had dinner at Fifty-three South, which by no small coincidence is located on Route 53 South. Aside from the occassional whiff of Chalupas wafting in from neighboring Taco Bell, the restaurant -- especially the bar area -- had the feel of a mini Bomboa or even Silvertone.
Over the appetizers, we revisited our Myers-Briggs personality profiles. I am an INFP. And while all three of us fall just shy of "misanthropic," Ann and Andy tend to be brooding and diplomatic, whereas I can be a reasonless freak with a faulty filter. No wonder Andy fired me.
When the Greater Tri-Cube Area was dismantled in 1998, our colleagues scattered in many different directions -- some to lofty PR positions, others to straight-up bumhood. Once a year or so, we have our "On Time and Under Budget" reunion where we huddle together like war buddies and try to work through the horrors experienced at the hands of the joint venture. But then there are the misty watercolored recollections too -- cherished ones of Prabu Prabakhar; the sound of his voice, images of his abandoned shoes, still fresh.
(photo: Prabu, where art thou?)
It's moments like these that make it so difficult to understand why attendance has dwindled over the past few years. Oh, there is no shortage of excuses, but the majority are flimsy reasons that border on self-effacing. We lost one colleague to an extended wallpapering endeavor, another to a fear of driving in the dark. Our former co-worker, Tex, is often present at these dinners, but his mind is now under the control of a cult, namely EMC. We usually roll with it because we're happy to see him and he's even inspired a new drinking game: Whenever Tex uses the word "storage," you take a drink. Still, it's only a matter of time before we'll have to slip him a mickey, shine a light in his eyes and de-program him. And Code Red and I are not shy about taking such desperate measures to save friends who have forgotten how much they miss us.
When BB Smooth J went underground a few years ago, we weren't about to let that X-ray with hair fade into obscurity. We said "We're goin' in," and descended on his Scituate home like a SWAT team, unannounced, on a Saturday afternoon. Just like that, BB Smooth J was back. If it hadn't been past midnight, BB just may have received another unannounced visit from us on Monday night. We were sort of in the neighborhood, after all.
After dinner, we were complaining to the bartender that it's hard to go out for a cocktail past 10 p.m. in this area. But she assured us we could find said drink just one mile down the road. Before you could say "Drop the Chalupa," we dove into Annie's car and peeled out of the parking lot. One mile later, we skidded into the parking lot of an establishment I swore I'd never set foot inside: T.G.I.Fridays, a soulless franchise next to a mattress retail store. But, it's not the place that matters as much as the company and we had a smashing time. And, in taking that step down, I reached a new milestone: I stayed out past midnight in the suburbs for the first time. On a Monday no less. And we can't wait to do it again. Just don't make us come over there, Andy.