Sunday, January 18, 2009

Either old or new, it's pretty amazing

What do you get when over the course of 36 hours you spend time with an old friend you haven't seen in 12 years and two new friends you've only known since July?

Well, if you're me, you end up with some pretty amazing feelings of love and acceptance, topped off with some awesome Mexican food.

Yesterday afternoon found me at Chez Ryan Carlson, talking, hanging out, watching movies (Yes, I cried. No, Ryan didn't poke fun at me. Much.) and having gourmet sliders with the darling Brittany. There's an easy comfort to our time, like we've known each other for a really long time ... like family. And yes, Cindy, he was a perfect host and a delight to spend time with. Be warned, Rice family ... we have Scrabble dictionaries, and we know how to use them!

Then last evening, it was my pleasure and privilege to be in the audience for a production of "The Cripple of Inishmaan," a dark Irish comedy set in 1930s Ireland. There's nothing like a gimpy Irish fella to get me chuckling, lemme tell ya. But in all seriousness, the performance blew me away. The inimitable Matt Fear, whom I haven't seen since 1997, was in rare form, and the entire cast commanded my attention throughout the show. It was at once poignant and funny, and it's no wonder they continue to sell out performances.

After the performance, I joined Matt and several cast members for tasty libations, and if it weren't for the fact that I knew I didn't know any of these people, I would've thought we were all old friends. What is it about the people in my life that makes us blend with each other, and each other's "people"? How is it possible that I can meet someone one evening, crash their group breakfast the following day, and miss them when I leave?

Shakespeare called tonight, looking for a little company and inexpensive Mexican food. Over dinner, we compared notes of our weekend and our lives. A quick check in the time machine shows we've only really known each other since mid-June, and yet we feel as comfortable as my favorite old shoes.

And ya know ... I really do love my shoes.