Archive for the 'Mingling minus alcohol' Category

May-December shoes

November 23, 2010

Andrew Hicks

I made the 100-plus-mile trek to my in-laws’ house a couple weeks back, so I could drop the kids off at Meemaw and Peepaw’s Daycare (can’t beat the rates) and follow up with the orthopedist who performed my ankle surgery in September. I got the customary X-rays — for some reason, I love looking at my ankle screws from three different angles — and was pronounced Almost Back To Normal. Which means, first and foremost, I won’t have to drive 100-plus miles to any further appointments.

Snoop Docky Doc* also told me I could go bootless as I see fit. It’s still kinda weird putting that left shoe on again, after being foot-shod in post-surgery wrap, a fiberglass cast and then the space boot. The left shoe sat out for quite awhile. It’s not often a shoe partnership gets split up like that, with Righty continuing to go into battle while Lefty stares at the inside of the closet for weeks on end. It’s like one shoe’s having a midlife crisis, and the other shoe’s counting the days to retirement. I’ve got a May-December shoe situation.

I coordinated the doctor appointment to match up with the weekly big-city standup open mic, and invited the Facebook world at large to come see me. Usually, those kind of invitations provoke a couple half-hearted “I’ll try to make it out” comments and about a half-dozen “I would totally be there, but…” apology responses. I’m guilty of this, too — I love to claim I’d go do something, that there’s nothing I’d love more, but I tragically, unfortunately can’t due to some preexisting, tenuous reason. Which, these days, two babies and a broken ankle is pretty much a catch-all**.

I had a few friends that I knew would come up to see me, but imagine my onset of sheepishness when I got to open mic and found out it was canceled because Doug “Superhigh Me” Benson was in town doing a special engagement. Now imagine that, in the next few minutes, friends kept showing up. Old, close friends I haven’t seen in awhile, making surprise appearances. Nine in all, with the show canceled. I had no choice but to head out to a couple restaurants and bars with the entire group for the next four hours.

I’ve entered the stage of my adult life, previously thought impossible, where I am capable of holding my own socially without feeling like I need to drink. I hadn’t fully tested this until the night everyone showed up for my canceled open mic, so out we went, and I held court while downing ice waters. (I’m one of those customers now. Sorry, entire service industry.) It was a good night and a great group, and there was a strange moment a couple hours in where my assembled group of friends sat on the entrance stairs to the restaurant and I performed the four minutes of standup I’d prepared***.

I mingled, I played some shuffleboard, and I discovered alcohol wasn’t the reason I’ve always sucked at shuffleboard. Most importantly, I had a really good time with a group of close friends, friends of friends, significant others of friends, and my omnipresent ice water. My childless courtship time with Tiffany occurred in a whirlwind, with me quickly going from single party guy to married dude in a different town, working a different job.

Out of necessity, and with no personal precedent to refer back to, I neglected some fun, healthy relationships with some great young people after I got married. Three-plus years later, my life seems so much more valuable, and so does time spent with Hall of Famers from my social golden years. Thanks for coming out, all’a y’all.

*I give all my medical care practitioners nicknames based on prominent hip-hop MCs throughout history, though I have no further examples to offer at the present time.

**Also, this kinda makes me an immature jerk, but I think it’s great to tell someone online that you’ll definitely be there for their four-minute performance in the community college adult piano recital, then later on pretend like you forgot they live two time zones away. I mean, what do they expect when they send out an inconsequential blanket invitation to everyone they’ve ever exchanged a friendly word with?

***This was my second indicator, the first one coming from my clued-in, opinionated wife, that I couldn’t sell the following joke onstage: “When someone asks me a date-related question, I always round up.  Q. How old is your youngest?  A. He’ll be six months in January.  Q. How long have you been married?  A. It’ll be ten years in 2017.  Q. How long have you been waiting for a good laugh on this joke?  A. It’ll be one day tomorrow.”

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Baby Silas chills in his buggy.