Sunday, August 26, 2007

a big long post about three little words

Last weekend was Super Awesome.

Even though he was red and peeling in a sunburntastic way that brown people usually only hear about and his tastebuds were still stunned, my brother happily carted his crap back to Alabama to start what will hopefully be his last year of college.

My high school peeps requested my presence at 5 pm Friday for a shindig in my honor, but they wouldn't divulge any details, except that Highcon wasn't going to be able to fly out from nyc that weekend after all. When asked about dress code, Ri told me to wear something casual "that doesn't snag easily." All day, my coworkers and I were trying to figure out what the hell it could be, but could only come up with that fad from a few years ago where people would jump on a trampoline and affix themselves to a Velcro wall. Don't laugh; I would totally get a kick out of that.

Unfortunately, there was a snag. Normally--except for those 14-hour days--I get to work around 8 am and leave around 4:30 pm. And it would have been the case that Friday too, but as you may remember, earlier in the week we discovered they're dissolving our jobs, which made it a little harder to concentrate and work ahead.

All of my colleagues had afterwork plans, so we were busting our collective hump to send the reports and get the hell out of there. Kaiya was supposed to pick me up at 5 in her cute new car and whisk me off to wherever, so by 5:30 the text messages started buzzing with growing urgency. We have far to go! We may lose out on our tickets! Sadly, it was two more hours before I finally emerged onto the street with an overnight bag, my seersucker dress flapping in the wind. I was searching around everywhere for the cute new car, until a less-new-but-still-cute car pulled up and Highcon leaned over and said, "It's ABOUT TIME, missy."

Ever since we could drive, I've known to hang on to my life when riding shotgun with Highcon. It's a good thing I grew up with a dad that accelerated at hairpin turns, so I was only slightly fazed when my chauffeur for the evening was texting, dancing and even reading me a Forward joke in a bad Indian accent from his Blackberry, all while zipping around cars on the highway. I kept trying to guess where we were going and he kept making me promise to close my eyes as we approached signs.

One missed exit, fourteen phonecalls in code (I'm passing the "L.C." Do I keep going until I see the Big W?" Should we park by the "B.G"?) and a shuttlebus ride later, we arrived at Ravinia, an outdoor music/park venue with loads of lawn seating upon which people set up elaborate picnics with candles and mini-tables and blankets, and baskets of food and wine. It's a must-do summer pastime in the Chicago area. I was very excited because I hadn't been there since the college girls and I went to see Celia Cruz shortly before she passed away a few years ago. By the time we got to the gate, we'd missed about 45 minutes of the show. And I shook my fists at the work gods when I found out that the people on stage were The Gypsy Kings, whom I have loved since I was about 16 but have never seen live.

It was such a perfect Cadiz evening:

We were sitting under a canopy of tall, shady trees.

The stage was very close and sparkly.

The other kids had gotten there early, staked out an excellent spot to the right of the stage and had a delicious spread of MiddleEastern delights, handpicked by Kaiya. And everyone was there, including my favorite mami, whom I rarely get to see!

Even the brussel sprouts were good!

We rocked out on the lawn near the stage.

After plenty of dancing around barefoot in the grass, silly photo-ops and running around for ice-down-the-back tag, we lazily packed up our stuff and headed home. This part of the evening is kind of blurry, because I'm usually passed out by 11 pm and riding in the car has always made me fall asleep at the end of the night, so I have no recollection of the long road back to Ri and C's place. I'm sure all that wine probably helped, too. I knocked out on their couch.

The rest of the weekend, I crashed with Ri and C. They showed me the gorgeous albums from their wedding and forced me to watch myself give their toast on dvd. I'm glad they did, too, because even though I spent months preparing for it, I didn't know what I was going to say until the words were coming out of my mouth and all I had remembered was trying hard not to let the champagne spill out of my trembling glass. But the speech was actually very good. I sounded exactly how I would have written it as a blog post, and I was surprised at the details I came up with on the fly, like consoling Ri on the loss of River Phoenix and that we served a 12-layer tropical Jell-O mold at Kaiya's 25th birthday party, where we first met C. I was pretty proud of myself.

Saturday we were supposed to go to the Air & Water show, or perhaps Chicago SummerDance at Grant Park, but honestly I had a much better time eating blueberry pancakes and catching up with the two of them all day. I love that I don't feel like a third wheel hanging out with a married couple, and we rarely get a chance to sit around and shoot the shit for an entire weekend. Besides, they live in a highrise right off Lake Shore Drive, so we were able to see a lot of the planes swing around to make their next passes over the show. Unfortunately, the only ones I was able to capture on camera in semifocus were a sprightly group of tricksters in formation.

They can do some fancy tricks, too.

Later we dragged ourselves out of the house for a great All-American meal at McNamara's and then to see Superbad, which H was reluctant to recommend because he hadn't seen it yet, but I think it was actually because he knows he's dating SuperPrude. I admit, a few "oh my goodness"es escaped my lips during the movie, but I've decided that I liked it. (I've come a long way from having covered my face through most of There's Something About Mary.)

On Sunday, Highcon picked me up at the suburban train station and we went to this Chinese restaurant shaped like a pagoda that had mesmerized us as children, with its fake bridge over a koi pond and fancypants decor. Now all that stuff seems a little dated. We made the tragic mistake of overemphasizing how spicy we wanted our Ma Po Tofu and Garlic Chicken, and spent the entire meal dripping sweat and downing gallons of water. To add insult to injury, we both got the SAME fortune when we cracked the cookies: "Happiness is sitting right next to you."

I got home and called my brother to find out how his journey and moving in had gone. He insisted everything was great and warned me against getting HDtv because it would chain me to the house, but I suspect he was really tired. Then he described the sweet bachelor pad he has with his friend Mark, with a bigscreen, Xbox 360 and lots and lots of grilling. He sounded downright giddy when he said, "You know Cadiz, life is good."

That was the perfect thing to hear at the end of an excellent weekend. Yes, baby brother, life is good.

To steal an idea from Alexandra, a shot of the booty.

Oh and this, which was stowed away in the bag that I take on the train.


Gerry said...

sounds like a hell of a birthday to me... the blueberry pancakes alone would have made it a success, I think.

me, I just got to ride a moped in berwyn after several hours of drinking.

Gerry said...

on closer examination, it appears your celebration was not explicitly a birthday-related activity.

but I still rode a moped.

naechstehaltestelle said...

Sounds like a great weekend!

Jon said...

So did you get like, 3 or 4 cards per gift? That's pretty impressive. Or were some people being cheap and just giving you a card with no real present attached?

cadiz12 said...

gerry, i'm choosing to believe that the entire weekend's events were a collective celebration of me in all my awesomeness, not just ramped up because the group can hardly get together anymore.

what? it's so rare to get nice mail, the cards (plus the party, concert, cake, food) are gifts in themselves: they're addressed to me, i get to rip them open, they make me happy.

Alexandra said...

sounds goooood!!! and gypsy kings..!!! they passed by here and were sold by in one second

Jon said...

well if this isn't just the epitome of frustration. I fell like "anonymous" has just barely scratched the surface of what they were trying to say. I'd love to follow up on this, but how? How can I?? It was an ANONYMOUS comment!!! Shucks!!!

Sorry for the offensive language.

cadiz12 said...

jon is referring to a 50+screen comment left by an anonymous person that had a lot of religious words and profanity right before his.

i genuinely hope i don't have to turn anon-commenting off.

Anonymous said...

That first sentence is one of the best I have read... Pure poetry.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I'd read your post about friendship some weeks back...but it only just struck me...what great friends you have!