Sat. March 28
With Chrissy and Amy coming from New Hampshire and Goy and I from the South Shore, it was really more like 3/4 of the way but Newburyport was the perfect place for our long overdue night out. Chrissy had to be close enough to be dropped off because, even though she's traveled as far and wide as China, she still can't bring herself to drive on the highway. Amy, who is the mother of four kids, took comfort in the fact that she only lived 20 minutes way.
("No crumpets, no crumpets")
True to form, Chrissy showed up for a 24-hour outing with a suitcase the size of a small office building and a curling iron wrapped in a floral, curling-iron cozy. Amy brought in a huge tray of organic cookies and muffins and teas -- and a sleeping bag, which she promptly set up on top of her bed at the Essex Street Inn as we looked on, bewildered.
"You guys, I spend my Friday nights watching 20/20, ok, " she said, covering her pillow with another piece of fabric brought from home. She told us about an expose that 20/20 recently ran on the nastiness that lurks within the microscopic fibers of hotel bedding. She also shared her firsthand experience of staying in a Foxboro motel with Mike (her husband) after a Patriots' game where a chain-smoking chamber maid discovered a cookie on the floor next to their bed the next morning. "And, it wasn't our cookie, guys, ok? That's all I'm saying," Amy said, her disgust palpable. She was not taking any chances and Goy and I thought she may be onto something once we walked across the hall and took a whiff of our own room.
Over some lunch and cocktails, we brought each other up to date. And over some crotchety old photo albums, we brought each other down to size with a lot of high-waisted pants and trouser socks. Our plan was to walk around Newburyport, go back to the Inn for a disco nap and then head out to dinner at one of the local establishments, maybe Agave for Mexican or the Mission Oak Grill, where the Inn had given us a $50 gift card.
My friend Dave (the one who coined the "camel" phrase) lives in Newburyport and planned to meet us out for drinks that night, but he contacted us at 3 p.m. with what he called "a better idea." With some "surprise guests" in tow, he suggested we bag our "nice dinner" and just meet them at the the Port Tavern around the corner right now for some appetizers and drinks.
We weren't ready to completely let go of our plan, but we decided to forgo the nap and went down to meet Dave, et al, around 5 p.m.
And soon we were backsliding into the mid-1990s.
Dave had brought along our old friends Clarky, Con and Crev, whom we haven't seen in probably 10-15 years. We used to spend many weekends together in the city: Red Sox games, snow days at the Green Briar, numerous Great Woods tailgates. It was officially impossible not to backslide. Dinner was off. We stayed put.
Chrissy, an empty Seabreeze in front of her, was hell bent on getting girl-drink drunk amid all this backsliding. As she sucked down the remnants of a Sex on the Beach, she pointed disapprovingly at my and Goy's full martinis. "Hey, c'mon, drink up!" She was working her way toward a Sombrero.
I cupped my bowl of loud mouth soup with one hand and pointed a cocktail sword full of vodka-soaked olives at her with the other: "Listen to me, woman. This is straight vodka."
"Corrupt Chrissy" and "Fucking Dave"
Dave has a long memory and is just nostalgic enough to be dangerous. He is the last person you'd want to have witnessed any bad behavior in your youth because he's incapable of holding a conversation in the present tense that doesn't involve something embarrassing you did in the past tense. With one or two words, he can heave ho a random skeleton out your closet.
He started referring to Chrissy as "Corrupt Chrissy" in 1994 when he learned, after a series of weekends in Brighton, that she was not as buttoned up as she carried herself to be. He picked up where he left off 15 years ago. After sparring with Dave for more than 30 minutes over a plate of congealed buffalo wings, Chrissy'd had enough, "Somebody please get fucking Dave away from me."
It took all of 30 minutes for Dave to become "Fucking Dave" all over again.
From his house of cards, where he lives as the guy he used to make fun of 15 years ago, he unleashed his reign of terror (his memory) on everyone at the table.
Clarky pondered: "Seriously, what's wrong with him?"
That's a question for the ages. The dichotomy of Dave. For instance, one minute, he's a dear friend who's got your back: "I'd do anything for you, pal." The next thing you know, he's sending abusive text messages to a mutual friend from YOUR phone.
Which I have yet to explain. Fucking Dave.
We left the Port Tavern and rambled over to the Mission Oak Grill, which used to be a church, to blow our $50 GC on a final round of drinks before heading back.
Goy being Goy, brought a fifth guest into our rooms at the Essex. She abducted a creepy-looking china doll (dubbed Veronica) from the Inn's lobby and took numerous pictures of it in and around the rooms. Chrissy opened a box of Kashi crackers. I almost fell asleep in my wig.
Amy zipped herself into her sleeping bag.
And we called it a night.
Hopefully the first annual!
Seven Songs of the Day -- 4/1/2009
An Ode to the Mid-90s
1. Mr. Wendell - Arrested Development
2. Any Little Town - Push Stars
3. Shy - Push Stars
4. She's Electric - Oasis
5. Not An Addict - K's Choice
6. Nearly Lost You - Screaming Trees
7. Ridiculous Thoughts - Cranberries