Friday night I went out for my birthday with Ms. Winston and a few of her friends in Athens. I don’t really KNOW Athens all too well, but I knew I wanted to be in Athens for my birthday. Why? God, I don’t know. A change of scenery? Originally, Cincy was supposed to come down this weekend, but she was pummeled with some financial worries and had to back out. I knew she’d like Athens and she’d never been, so it seemed fitting to make our Friday night plans there. When she had to cancel, I just stuck with the plan. And boy, am I ever glad I did.
We went to a bar in Athens that a mutual friend works at and shortly after arriving, started with the first birthday shot — some sort of coffee vodka and canned latte/energy drink concoction. Then we went to the back of the bar to play a game of shots. Ms. Winston’s sister (we’ll call her Nickel) had a birthday was this week also so we we teamed up as the “BDay Girls” versus Ms. Winston and iCarly, another one of her friends, were the “Sluts” and we totally obliterated them. Well, maybe not obliterated them, but we won. And TECHNICALLY I did cheat twice (pulling a dart out and putting it back where I MEANT for it to land) but whatever. IT’S OUR BIRTHDAY! On my first turn, third dart, I got a bullseye. I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten a bullseye in my life. It was monumental and a bit of foreshadowing to the beautiful evening to come.
Move on to a Jameson and Gingerale during the tail end of darts and then a Hendrick’s Gin & tonic. Somebody bought a round of something called “The Gooch” which was redbull and some sort of flavored something or another. It was red and tasted like punch. I recall saying something like, “When I get married, we’ll add sherbet to this and make it the punch.” Super tasty.
At this point, it’s nearing midnight and I don’t feel buzzed at all. I’m antsy to go someplace where we can go dancing and Ms. Winston encourages me to wait until 1am because the eighties bar we’re going to go dancing at doesn’t get really good and crowed until later. Somebody bought a round of tequila shots and THEN and only then, I finally started to feel a little drunk. I’m sitting on the patio with Ms. Winston, smoking a cigarette and talking about the people that walk by. She’s shushing me. “Oh, bless his heart. A pony tail AND he’s short? He doesn’t even understand,” and, “Seriously, why do men wear mutton chops? Has there ever been a woman on the face of the planet that actually LIKES them on a man?” I guess these phrases are the kinds of things that warrant shushing, especially when the “patio” of the bar is a front area, pressed right up against the sidewalk which is full of pedestrians. There’s a bar ledge around the edge of the patio and stools right there up against the ledge. I mean, to me, it seems like that intention of whoever built the patio WANTED you to provide commentary on the passersby, but whatever. I’m not an architect.
I spotted a guy with a cool hat. To me, it was like a beautiful cross between a fedora (tired) and derby hat (ancient). Flat on top, with a equal brim around the edges. It was grey and just, I don’t know cool. I think I like hats on men because my dad wears hat. Seriously, for my dad’s birthday, my mom bought dad two hat racks that hang on the wall. It looks like a hat store in the corner of their bedroom — he’s got like forty hats. Indiana jones style, little fedoras, all sorts of hats. So, seeing as I was over-the-moon happy with my birthday, all bullseye brazen and borderline blitzed, I said something to this man walking by with his cool hat. I think it was something really literary and beautiful like, “Hey man, I like your hat.”
He stopped and thanked me. We chatted up a bit and when he found out it was my birthday, he decided to come in and buy me a drink. We stood there on the patio for the better part of an hour… talking, laughing, making fun of people. It was awesome. He was taller than me, but probably not considered “tall” by the world’s standards for a man. I’d guess about 5’9”-5’10”. He had a shaved head under his cool hat and a blonde/ginger-ish beard. He told me that he was 33, worked in a kitchen and lived a few blocks away. We made out like stupid teenagers on the patio of this bar and, in an interesting turn of events, the passersby were now talking about US. My friends, too, snapping pictures with their camera phones. I didn’t want the night to end and I was *this* close to going home with him — totally out of character for me — but realized, thanks to my girls, that it would be a bad idea. I apologized to him and told him that I was too drunk to make clear choices, but here’s my number if you want to call me and ask me on a proper date. He was disappointed, but obliged me. Kissed me goodnight and I was whisked away by my crowd of friends to go get something to eat.
I thought we went to a diner. It was decorated like a diner to me, anyway. So immediately, I wanted two well done eggs and some bacon… I ordered this and everyone laughed, “What gives?” I thought. Well, turns out it was a burger joint, but they were incredible and made my eggs perfect and I happily snacked on it while my friends gnawed at giant, drippy burgers and fries that were so hot that they burned your mouth. Pile into the car and head home to Ms. Winston’s where I crashed with her and, apparently, spent most of the night spooning her. (Sorry! I LIKE TO SPOON, OKAY!?) She had work the following morning, so we were up at 8am after only four hours of sleep and I … felt…
Seriously, I was not hung over at all (thank you, liver!) and actually felt cheerful and peppy. I danced into Nickel’s room where iCarly was still laying in the bed, looking like somebody shot her and was all sing-songy and probably terribly annoying. I suppose that spending the evening surrounded by people that you love, being loved on, having fun, and making out with a cute boy will do that to you. He texted me on Friday night, telling me that it was great to meet me and that he would call me the next day.
And he did. (God I love follow through! Fuck flowers, I want follow through)
We also talked again last night, and I learned a lot about him… and was reminded of my list (don’t hate me Devon!) and the serendipity of the whole evening… And this lovely, bubbly hopeful optimism is effervescing through my body.
He is a sous chef at a really cool restaurant in Athens and is working both Friday and Saturday night this week, but has Thursday off and Sunday night off… So, dinner Thursday night and if that goes well, maybe Sunday night, too.
I am a happy, happy girl. What a great birthday, man. I take it back… Maybe the great stuff starts at 29.