A day with Beca, 6/15:
Zahri aka Beca aka the third online friend I'm meeting up with on this trip of mine. And thus far I'm three for three for awesome, easy to talk to people! So after breakfast with Erin and Stephen, I headed out west to Greensborough. An hour west of Durham. I got to Beca's before Beca, so I just sat on the stairs and watched Orange is the New Black on my phone. I met Beca's girlfriend Candice who was awesome. A very nice couple, but I can't threaten Candice to be good to Beca because Candice plays rugby so any threat...well I'm not threatening. Still, I waved my finger. I'm protective of my friends. I want all of their lives to be awesome and lovely. And I want to live the good life with all of them. And thus far I've sat back and reflected on how this just really is the good life. I've got food, I've got company, and everything is well in the bubble I am inhabiting for that moment.
Beca, Candice, and I acquired hot dogs and beer (a 12 pack of Yuengling) and went to the pool at this apartment complex Candice had access to. No kids, and yes beer was allowed. So we spent hours swimming and drinking and eating and kicking back and soaking up sun and talking about this and that and Dee (a mutual online friend of Beca and mine). After we had absorbe'd more than enough sun (I'm a bit pink but not burned) we went to Cook Out and I got treated to a burger with cheese and onion and bacon, and a side of slaw and onion rings, and a big thing of sweet tea. Mmmm MMMM! Amazing. Candice returned to the apartment and Beca and I walked around downtown Greensboro. Borough. Boro. Uhh. Whichever. Not much was open on a Sunday, but we got to peep in some windows. But. BUT cheesecake was open. Cheesecake shop. So we splint a slice a cheesecake, my treat, and it was amazing. Like I said, meeting people I'm online friends with has been a good experience. All are people I've met through mutual nerd interests, so we have the baseline of "yeah we are nerds" to bond us all.
Back at the apartment we played Wii Mario Kart and both of us weren't so good, so it was an even game! I was sad to part, but oh what a lovely day!
A day with Jackie, 6/16:
I went to Japan in 2005 as part of a group through Experiments in International Living. Jackie was in my group, and we've kept in touch. She lives in North Carolina. I'm in North Carolina. And she is only 30 minutes east in Carrboro! Easy visit. I met her fiancee Mike briefly, and then we were off! First up was ice cream at this nice little ice cream place. I had the caramel crunch something ice cream and mmm MMM! She works at the Weaver Street Market and they have this special zoning thing where you can drink a beer outside at their little outdoor area. Just one beer. Their outdoor area had tables in the shade and a place for live music, which wasn't happening when we were there but it does happen. Jackie said she often hangs out after work, and that it's a place where everyone knows everyone. Which became evident as the day went on. I had a bottle of Fullsteam Brewery's Carver, which was a sweet potato lager. If you think that sounds delicious, it was.
So we had our beers and sat in the shade and talked about life and relationships and Japan and growing up and change, and all those topics adults talk about when they last saw each other as teenagers.
From there, we went downtown a bit more, to wander up and down the street that happens near any college campus. Restaurants, comic shops, book stores, little hole in the wall music shops. I bought the first three issues of Lumberjanes at Chapel Hill Comics. Lumberjanes is an all lady comic production, and it's been selling super well, so I felt like I should add to thank because viva lady comic makers! It's a hard hustle out there for women in the industry, so we gotta support each other often.
We ran into Jackie's friend Larry, and we all commuted down to Southern Rail aka "The Station" which was a bar that was old train cars and several different bars really. And Ishti, who I met at the porch party, showed up for this open mic that was happening later and he knew Larry. Lots of people knew Larry. Everyone knew everyone it seemed, and they all confirmed that it was the sort of place you can go by yourself and you'll know someone there. The last time I experienced that was Yur's in Portland, Oregon. There needs to be more places like that. Ishti remembered me and gave me a hug and played a song he was working on for Nathan's going away. US won their game, which was evident by after an hour of silence there were loud cheers from the bar area. It was less hot than Florida, so I was doing swell. Still hot and humid, of course. I sketched a bit and Larry and Andi (another of Larry's friends) were pleased to be immortalized in my sketchbook. And the sky was beautiful with perfect hued clouds.
To be somewhere where people are friendly and eager to talk. Where people know one another and remember you. Where comic shops have lady comics and local breweries make damn good beer. I'll be coming back to Durham.
Now Stephen and I are going to head out to a bar for a bit.