Nothing lately excites me more than happy hour. I love the idea of it, that for an hour–well really, for three hours–your time should be spent with friends at a happy discount of half. Half-off appetizers. Half-off wine. Half-decent company. I went to a restaurant the other day and ate $0.35 oysters. 35 cents! And I drank my wine and life became uncomplicated. I fell in love with my husband and loved the way he found reasons to touch me, his hand on my back, slipping into our casual selves, friends. We’re looking to make more. We spend our week at home with the tater tots, eating frozen dinners and steamed vegetables, but come the weekend, or some random weekday night, we find someone to watch the kiddos for a bit while we watch each other, finding time to be who we were in New York, where we had different friends and different lives. I love the idea of making friends with people at the bar. Striking up a conversation, using the bartender to play the intermediary. I love the idea of new, their new stories and families of their own, their preferences and favorite restaurants or musicians. I love people, watching them interact, listening to their stories, seeing the differences within couples, the roles they play, when she begins to share too much, and he steps in with "oh, is this a story we actually tell, honey?" I love guessing who would prefer to keep to themselves and who wants to be chatty. Those who are open and those who’ve chosen the bar to be closed, with an open tab.
It’s beginning to feel like spring here. I’ve begun to go for walks, have made my way to the elliptical machine, and have even opened up a new can of tennis balls. Phil and I hit on the courts then escape to happy hour, ordering up minty juleps and finger snacks, rehashing our bright days, as I watch him chat it up with the bartender, proud that he’s with me, loving that the person beside me was once a stranger at a bar, too. I love that someone who can change our lives starts as nothing more than a stranger.