You can’t go home again, but you can shop there

Long, intense weekend, not really sure where to begin.

I had Friday night dinner with my childhood babysitter, he has this little takeout grocery near him with yummy food, and I brought challah (I freaking miss baking my own!) and we lit candles and talked a lot. The twins are growing up fast, by all reports! His twins are the cutest, sweetest little munchkins, in preschool now, and quite enchanting (plus there’s something cool about hanging out with the toddlers of the babysitter who changed my diapers way back in the day), but Friday night was just him and me hanging out. And we played Scrabble, and he kicked my ass with three seven-letter words, which shouldn’t be humanly possible, and we flopped down on his bed to watch Jennifer Aniston on Lifetime. And then, after a debate with dictionaries about the definition of the word rentboy (I thought it was a young gay man who traded sex for room and board, the dictionary bore Fred out as thinking it’s just a young male prostitute, a renting of bodies, not houses), I dragged myself home to catch a little sleep before the morning train. My parents raised us with lots of lovely people around us who have stayed in our lives, and there are times that he feels like an older brother or something. It’s great just hanging out and talking. I was sorry not to see his husband, though, every time I come over, he’s off teaching again. Sigh.

And after various bits of train craziness, I went to Princeton with Sam and met Sam’s folks. His dad is great. Normally I’d be nervous about meeting the parents, but as I’ve already said to some of you, they met me at age thirteen and it doesn’t get any worse than that. The day was this beautiful, interesting blend of walking down memory lane and having new experiences, walking together down my old block and seeing places we used to go together, trees I used to climb, (low) roofs I used to jump off of, locks I used to pick (yeah, I was a bookworm tomboy). We went inside the building I used to go to for services every week when I was a kid; it was getting refurbished, so the carpeting was all ripped up, but it felt so sharply of home and childhood just the same. It felt like the scale of everything was off; I walk such long distances in New York that things that seemed far as a child now seem ridiculously compact. And we played pool. I freaking love playing pool, and it was fun just hanging out together, arguing religion and philosophy at Victor’s pizzeria (except it’s not Victor’s anymore). Oh yeah, and they destroyed the library. Ripped it down. They made a new building with a huge food court and DVD section and oh yeah, a couple of supermarket checkout books if you really want those nasty paper things.

Sam’s studio is beautiful, inside and out. It’s in an ancient mill house, divided up into various studios, and I got to see his work up close. It was really gorgeous, alive. It was strange, looking around this huge space with millraces and support beams, filled with all sorts of kitchy curios, and here and there would be these enormous paintings that suddenly jumped out at you, these pieces of his mind that took your breath away. And it was great seeing Sam. Long distance relationships are hard.

We went out for dinner at this Indian restaurant in town, which was extraordinarily delicious, and very strange because it’s not what I think of when I think of Princeton. It was just a massively huge day, and it’s still all boiling around in my head a bit, but so lovely.

On an entirely different note, maybe I have some sort of sign on my head, because this has been my weekend for inappropriate comments. Sam and I blew kisses at each other through the train window, and somehow this made the guy sitting across from me and the guy sitting behind me start making salacious comments like “Oh, I bet I know what put that smile on that boy’s face,” and “I’ve heard you get a special feeling when you meet that certain someone, is that true?” (emphasis theirs) in a tone of voice that made me really uncomfortable. I thought about asking to be reseated, then trusted my instincts and confronted them directly, and after a little verbal fencing I felt quite safe on the group-W bench *cue Alice’s Restaurant*. But then last night, I was going into the subway and this creepy guy says, “My metro card isn’t working, can I go in the turnstile with you?” refused to accept my polite refusal that there wasn’t room, and then got pissed when I asked him to back off so I could go through on my own. Gah. This never happens to me.

And then I spent Sunday watching a Stargate marathon. Susan, you rock, the eps are so great! The whole experience reminded me of the 48-hour movie marathons Uri, Nate and I used to do; there’s something really satisfying about watching a huge chunk of eps that way, and Stargate is a splendid, funny drama. Oh and hey, yeah, some writing! And no going into work on the sly this weekend! Aren’t you all proud of me? 😉

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