i thought i had more energy, but i only read a few pages of my book before just passing out from exhaustion. it was kind of scary how tired i was. my body sort of just locked up and i could feel the world closing in as i drifted off into unconsciousness. not counting the restless sleep i had on the plane rides, i'd been awake for over 20 hours.
i woke up at 9:00. i could've slept more but i had to use the bathroom. drew was already up, and was afraid his kitchen noises might've woke me up as well. client R was supposed to call me between 10-11 because a few machines hadn't been set up yesterday. we exchanged a few e-mails, and i wrote them some documentation on how to adjust the computers for presentation mode, but they ended up not calling.
i heated up the last piece of ricotta spinach pie for breakfast. after i finished eating, i left for boston around 12:00.
i made it to haymarket via bicycle in about 20 minutes, a pretty fast time. i wanted to get some blueberries for myself (for my granola yogurt breakfast meals) and some fruit for andrew's barbecue that was starting at 2:00. i hoping to score some cherries but their season is long over. watermelon is the typical summer barbecue fruit of choice, but andrew told me they already got one. i ended up getting 2 boxes of strawberries.
i made it back to cambridge by 1:00. drew was just about to head out to do some grocery shopping at market basket and see if he could find the round house. i took a shower and soon left for west newton. since rain was in the forecast for this evening, i briefly toyed with the idea of bicycling. there's actually a dedicated bike path along the charles river that practically takes me to andrew's new house, but at 8.4 miles and with a calculated time of 47 minutes, i'd be a sweaty mess by the time i arrived, so the motorcycle was a better option.
i hadn't seen maura or andrew in over 3 years, not since their first child isabel was born. has it really been that long? in that time, they had another kid, a boy named nathaniel, and just this summer bought a new house. i saw andrew as i was pulling into his street; he'd just gotten back from a supply run and unpacking the car. he looked skinnier than i remembered, and some grey hair (or maybe they were just highlights). maura still looked the same. i can't even remember the last time they had a barbecue - i never been to one at their old house in newtonville, i'd have to go back all the way to 2006 in malden. andrew was excited about seeing elizabeth warren on his way back from the supermarket (i'd seen her before as well, at the pride march).
some guests i recognized (the last time i saw some of these familiar faces was probably at andrew and maura's wedding half a decade ago) while others were new. none of them had my shared history since andrew and i go back all the way to 5th grade in belmont. i'm embarrassed to even try to think how long ago that was, almost 3 decades. i saw isabel, now 3+ years old. she looked remarkably like andrew, although i don't know where she gets her blonde hair from as both her parents are brunettes. the first and last time i saw her she was small enough to hide in a lady's purse.
besides isabel, there was also a lot of little kids running around. they congregated by the inflatable castle on the other side of the backyard. all were very well-behaved, there was hardly any crying, which seemed rare given what limited experience i have with small children.
almost everyone there was a couple of some sort. it didn't really bother me since i'm used to it by now, the designated single guy in a sea of married folks. i think the only other single person who was there was steve, so i chatted with him much of the time. i was probing, trying to figure out something interesting we could talk about, beginning with the weather, until i realized he was a big sports guy, although a bit jaded by all the contraversies.
i had some raspberry seltzer water before trying a hard lemonade. with my low alcohol tolerance i was already buzzed by then, so i went back to the seltzer, figuring it wouldn't be a good idea to be drunk and biking.
at one point andrew brought up my motorcycle in front of some people. they seemed concerned when i told them i'd already been in 2 accidents, one of which totaled my bike. i brushed off my unfortunate incidents, saying that the worst that happened was a broken foot. i told them that motorcycling was dangerous (without extolling the benefits), since i figured most of them were family folks anyway, none of them would ever consider riding a motorcycle.
when it came time for grilling, i spiral-cut a package of beef hot dogs just to see what they were like. they were definitely more crispy, but still tasted like hot dogs. andrew also had hand-rolled burger patties, but they were plain burgers, none of the extra spices he used to put in. the star of the barbecue show were several packages of dom's original sirloin tips. i had a small piece which was blown onto the floor when a strong gust of wind took my plastic plate, but i picked it up and ate it anyway, that's how delicious and precious they are.
there was a young woman whom i'd seen before (i forgot her name) with a dSLR slung across her shoulder. i got a chance to play around with it, a rebel T3i - the camera i was thinking about upgrading to before i discovered that a canon-refurbished 60D is just about the same price. she was shooting in program mode, i didn't have time to teach her the advantages of using aperture priority instead. she'd just gotten back from a june trip to costa rica, where she was volunteering as a sea turtle researcher on the northwestern coast (mostly olive ridley turtles, occasionally a leatherback or two), then later venturing to panama. along the way she met a lot of sketchy american expatriates.
sometime after 6:00 it began to rain. the sky threatened to rain on many occasions throughout the day, and occasionally i felt a drop or two, but this was the first instance of a serious drizzle, although andrew's neighbor saul - who studied meteorology back in college - said this was just a sporadic shower and would clear away soon, with the bulk of the rainstorm not arriving until 9:00. still, it gave everyone the excuse to quickly clean up and take the party back inside.
i wish i could've stayed longer, but i was already late for dinner with my parents, and i still needed to get back to cambridge before the torrential stuff started falling. before i left though, andrew told me he had a new garden plot. "it's at great meadow," he told me. i kept my cool, despite being utterly shocked at the coincidence. "andrew, i have a garden at great meadow too!" turns out he's sharing a plot with neighbors, who suspiciously received it late in june as well. turns out these neighbors are actually the father-son group i saw who had the number 2 pick. when i told them i had the plot with the tree in the middle, they knew right away which one it was.
i didn't make it to my parents' place until 6:45. the drizzle continued, and even though i rode carefully, at one point the bike began to fishtail when i came to a too-quick-a-stop. i was able to slowly skid to a halt, but not before i experienced a few seconds of terror as i braced myself for a sliding crash. this is why i don't ride the motorcycle in the rain. that's also a good reminder to replace the rear wheel when i get the chance, the treads have lost their traction. my parents were at the victory garden yesterday and harvested all the korean melons. my father sliced one that had already split open. this one was actually pretty good, a soft sweet flavor. i returned to cambridge as soon as i finished eating.
i should've been more surprised but i wasn't when i found drew working in the dark on the living room coach. at least he wasn't semi-nude, which i now wonder if it isn't a canadian thing. the life of a professor is mysterious and time-consuming, it isn't all fun and games. he didn't have dinner until he finished, which was late. by then i'd already gone out and dried the bike during a brief lull in the rainstorm, before putting on the cover. the serious downpour arrived later, but very anticlimactic in its briefness.