21 December 2011

New Zealand Chronicles | 21 + 10 = Angie

2 December 2011

As the clock struck the last possible moment to both go shopping and be on time for the party, it occurred to me that there had been a shift. I can't even call it a "role reversal," because it was just something that had never been. I was insisting  Ang & I go shopping. I was insisting Ang & I go dress shopping. I told myself it was less about the shopping and more about the birthday. And most of that was true. Birthdays bring temporary spotlights. The subject of which (I feel) ought to be presented in their best light. It's part of my birthday belief system. But I digress. 

Angie hates shopping the way I used to; the way I thought I still did. We went from store to store and while time stayed constant for me, I could see it dragging for my little friend. Don't get me wrong, we found a dress. It was the hunt for accessories (and lack of Diet Coke) that was killing her. Angela is a trooper. She would have kept trudging had I insisted. But she was not having fun. So I did not insist. Naturally everything worked out perfectly anyway. 

We went home to get ready, and in walks The Squash Player. Now, when I say "in walks," I literally (pronounced "LIT tra lee" by Kiwis) mean he just walked into the house. As it was explained to me, it's perfectly okay to leave your door unlocked. Angie (ever the extremist) left her front door wide open. I work in news. I tried to explain home invasions (They HAPPEN!) to my friend. But she's gone native. So. In walks The Squash Player.

Watching Cricket.
Ang asked me how I would describe The Squash Player. I didn't know then and I don't know now. I let my fingers do the story telling. I've known of The Squash Player for quite some time. Quite. Some. Time. I've known him through Angie's experiences, which have been many of late. The question begs to be asked; what's going on there? The good news for you, inquiring minds, is that I am not afraid to ask such tough questions. The bad news, I have to ask Angie. If there is one person who cannot articulate Angie's inner workings, it's Angie. I've got nothing other than what I observed. We'll get to that. 

What passes for a backyard apparently.
In walks The Squash Player. There were smooches (I listened for them), but that doesn't mean anything, because smooches in New Zealand are as common as RTDs, which are quite common. We all got ready, and then it was party time. We went to Chapel Bar + Bistro. It's dangerously close to where Angie lives; I went home once to get our sunglasses, and again to drop them off. We stood outside at first, though Angie had reserved two tables out front. She was 5 feet of fire when the tables weren't ready, but it didn't really matter. While we were waiting, I saw a familiar face. It was a surfer who had been in the security line at LAX behind Negative Nelly. I stopped him as he walked by the bar.

"Hey it's Good Attitude Girl," which I guess would be my super hero name. 

The Process.

Angie had her birthday at Chapel. She was in her element. It was the perfect way for me to put names to faces, and connect some dots. I also got to roam and observe. I asked the bartender to make me what he makes best. He got really excited. I single-handedly slowed bar service for all while limes were squeezed and a jalapeno(?) was retrieved. The end result was a fancy margarita with a hint of vanilla and just enough heat to make you take notice. Swoon. 

Love a lady on the 1's & 2's.
The end result. Also, the garlic flat bread is highly recommended.

Good Attitude Girl.

The craftsman. And some shots.


From Left: Nigel, Elanor, Angie, Me, Jason (The Squash Player!)

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And so passed my first night in New Zealand. I drank a lot. I ate a lot - chips come by the bucket you know. I met a lot of people. There was a lot of smooching. I stopped to commit all the little things to memory. Acknowledging them made me realize I was a Grinch; my heart had become ten sizes too small. There's a happiness that comes from simply being in a place with happy people. I couldn't complain about work or gossip about anyone. I couldn't run errands or read or go to the gym. I was left alone to be just me, in that place. I was content. Welcome to New Zealand. 

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