I Saw A Real Live Cowboy, Too

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m back!

The last two weeks have been physically grueling and emotionally intense. First, I drove with my Loving Husband and with Sausage up to western New York state for my grandmother’s memorial service and to help my father deal with her possessions, which felt like a strangely mournful looting. Then, less than 48 hours after our return home to Maryland, we were driving again — this time to New Jersey, where Sausage would be staying with my mother-in-law while we flew to Oklahoma for a friend’s wedding.

Oklahoma, OK?

It sounds trite to say that in all this I learned a lot, but it’s true. I don’t think I’m ready to talk about the things I learned with regard to my grandmother’s death — that’s all too raw. But I will happily talk about the things I learned in Oklahoma City, where I attended the beautiful wedding of a dear friend and attended the damn good party that she and her new husband threw afterward.

Lesson The First: Oklahoma City Is … Special

Things that are great about OKC: the Bricktown Brewery‘s wheat beer is pretty damn good. The people were invariably nice and polite, and did their best to be helpful. The streets are clean. The botanical gardens are beautiful.

Things that are not so great: we could not find a salon that could accommodate four mani-pedis on a Friday afternoon. There are no proper drugstores in downtown Oklahoma City (so don’t bother looking); but we did find a convenience store that sold Band-Aids for my blistered feet, at 25ยข a pop. And, after some searching, we found a place that was open at 2:00 on a Saturday afternoon and would sell us drinks, which saved us from a very long day with nothing to do.

If you go to Oklahoma City, you’d better rent a car because it’s the least walkable city ever; don’t forget to pack sunscreen, because there are very few places to buy it downtown; and in general, don’t schedule too much time out of your Oklahoma vacation to spend in OKC. Go see the buffalo or something instead.

I will name him George, and I will hug him, and pet him, and squeeze him.

Lesson The Second: I’m Not 22 Anymore

I forgot, for a little while this weekend, just how ancient I am. I danced, I drank (oh, man, did I ever drink), I shouted to be heard over loud music. I slept two hours before catching an early flight home, stumbling onto the plane still a little drunk from the night before.

And then I suffered. I suffered the pain of physically realizing how far I’ve come from my 22-year-old self. For example, some things that I learned the hard way:

  • My feet can’t handle all that carousing anymore. Blisters and bunions and badness, oh my!
  • I can’t jump up and down on the dance floor anymore. At least, not unless I have a REALLY empty bladder.
  • I start to get sleepy at around three in the afternoon, so events that start at 8:30 in the evening will largely find me tucked in a dark corner, nursing a beer and my bunion, struggling to stay awake.
  • My appearance has changed enough that people who knew me in my late teens and early twenties don’t recognize me.

There I am. Partying like it’s 1999.

Really, I should have known better than to try to party like I did back in college, but after more than a year as a stay-at-home-mom, finding myself sans child and surrounded by adults and freely flowing booze, I felt like I had escaped from some sort of cheerio-scented, diaper-filled prison. And as for not being recognized, well. It had been fifteen years in some cases. Who doesn’t change in fifteen years? I will choose to think of it as being caused by my more-flattering haircut and hard-earned confidence, and less as a result of crow’s feet and lost youth.

Lesson The Third: I Have Some Wonderful Friends

I was lucky this weekend in that an old friend, one whom I hadn’t seen in eleven years, was also able to come to the wedding. We stayed in the same hotel and spent a lot of time together, catching up. We had been very close way back when, and somehow that closeness and trust had survived the years. This got me to thinking about just how lucky I’ve been in my life to have so many friends like that — people that I’m friends with no matter how much time and distance there is between us. This weekend’s lovely bride is one, my eleven-years-gone friend is another, and I can think of several more women who I know I could call on any time, even though we haven’t been in close touch for years. Women with whom I’ve had such a great connection that we’ll always be friends, no matter what. For someone who has trouble making friends and who finds social situations to be anxiety-inducing, this seems pretty remarkable. I’m so, so lucky to have this kind of friendship in my life.

We always said we’d be friends forever. It’s starting to look like we really meant it.

So now I’m returning to normal life — blog, baby, theatre, and all the accompanying craziness. But I feel better having cut loose a little, having reconnected with some of the people I love the most, and heck, having been to Oklahoma. Who would have thought?

38 responses to “I Saw A Real Live Cowboy, Too

  1. Glad you are back!

    I sympathize with the not-22edness of your self. It sucks a little, but whatever. You have sausage to show for it. How many people can honestly say they make sausage? Seriously.

    Also, I love George the Buffalo. He is perfect.

  2. Hahaha, “booze, pee, I’m a hot mess” sounds an awful lot like someone I know (that would be myself). Sounds like it was fun!

  3. If you don’t cut loose once in a while, the human body will implode. It’s science. I think…

    • Well, I’m pretty sure that I’ve headed off any impending implosions for a little while, then. I haven’t partied that hard in YEARS.

      • Ha, yeah sometimes the partying in us comes out too hard. Last summer, I was a groomsmen at a buddy’s wedding. I had a little more than I should have, and started to take a little nap in my chair. The wedding planner came over and said, I had “a little to much”. In my drunken stupor, I flipped her off. It went well…

      • At least you were napping in your chair, and not on the floor, right? She should have been grateful.

  4. Sounds like lots of fun. I think you are just out of training is all. Partying is hard work – you may have to party more often and harder than ever. And then you could get your own reality TV show. Sausage Party Mom or some such. Winning. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • YES! And then I will have lots of money and a book deal! I could be the Snooki of the mommy world! Except that she’s having a baby, which will probably make Snooki the Snooki of the mommy world. Hmm. I’ll just have to work on establishing my niche.

  5. With regards to lesson the third, even at the age of 60 (or more, I’m sure) it’s possible to learn what wonderful friends you have, even if you haven’t seen them in 40 some years and they’re 3000 miles away.

  6. Welcome back! Who knew the great state of Oklahoma would provide such a restorative time for someone? I like George, please pet him for me.

    You’re very lucky to have friends like that—I have a few as well, who I can talk to like we just saw each other yesterday even if we haven’t seen each other in years. They’re what make getting older easier.

    • Sometimes I’ve been known to get down on myself for seemingly having fewer friends than more social people do, but right now I’m just feeling amazed at what wonderfully intense friendships I do have. Like I’m really the lucky one, because people who are surrounded with billions of superficial friendships are the ones missing out.

  7. So funny! I relate to jumping up and down, screaming, and bustin’ loose, realizing a day later that it was a mistake! I went to a death metal concert and banged my head like there was no tomorrow — two days later I had whip lash! Welcome back to the ‘cheerio-scented, diaper-filled prison’! Thanks for sharing your adventure. I’m glad that you got to appreciate some of the relationships that you have — that’s a gift. Good to have you back.

    • I love — LOVE — that you gave yourself whiplash by headbanging! It gives me migraines. We should go to concerts together and hold each other accountable to avoid violent head movements. Or at least each keep a grip on the other’s head so that we don’t get too crazy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. WELCOME BACK, KV. You were missed but it’s sounds as if you had a rousing good time. I’ve been to OKC and it was HOT AS HADES when I went and saw the aforementioned bison and a few prairie dogs and went downtown as you did. Anyway, loved your story (and your duds look very spiffy) and I saw none of the crowsfeet or bunions you mentioned. You looked the part of a carefree young lady getting your freak on and having a great time and it’s always nice to reconnect with old friends. You are indeed lucky. Hope you’ll keep doing that dancing while listening to your 8-tracks. :).

    • One cannot help but dance while listening to 8-tracks. And I did have a rather great time, although I feel like I’m still recovering! I’m glad to be back!

  9. AirportsMadeSimple

    Hi Kathy V, and thanks for stopping by and offering such great advice to others about OKC. I’m glad I read your post. Hubby and I are in Dallas, so I’ve always wondered about Bricktown – they seem to have fixed it up quite a bit in the last 10 years or so. Thanks again and so sorry to hear about your grandmother. D

    • It is fixed up, and I suspect that it would be a pretty great place to walk around and explore, if things were open on weekends and evenings. They’re not going to draw in tourists with the hours that they currently keep.

      • AirportsMadeSimple

        I find that so odd, don’t you? It’s the same thing with small Texas towns. If we want to road trip it for the weekend, NOTHING in small Texas town is open except DQ and McDonalds! So very strange, I think. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • They want the tourism revenue, but they’re not willing to work at the times that tourists are touring. It’s counterproductive. Okay, I can get not wanting to work on Sundays, what with it being in the Bible belt and all — call it a cultural quirk. But Saturdays? Friday evenings? That’s where the money is, people.

      • AirportsMadeSimple

        Right! You got it. I can’t tell you how many times hubby and I had “dinner” from a convenience store… well, as long as it wasn’t a dry county, we made do. Ha!

  10. First of all, you looked fabulous. The picture of you partying like it’s 1999 reminded me a little of the statue of liberty, but with more gusto, which got me to thinking (you should never get me to thinking) that we should make the statue of liberty a little more festive–give her the exuberance that you were displaying and maybe replace that torch with a cocktail because I think it would be a far more accurate description of what visitors can expect in New York and America in general. And also, we should give Lady Liberty a dress like yours because it was way more flattering than that tired one she’s been sporting and doesn’t every woman (even an overgrown statue of one) deserve a flattering dress?
    And thank you for the helpful travel tips for OKC. I tend to avoid middle America, but now I know that if I ever take a wrong turn at Albuquerque and end up there I should travel with bandaids, sunscreen, Depends, a fresh pedicure and a car. Good to know.

    • That dress is pretty flattering. I felt like a pixie in it. And I would be more than willing to pose for a reboot of the Statue of Liberty. I’ll wait for Mayor Bloomberg’s call on that one. As for OKC … I think Oklahoma would have a lot to offer, if you don’t show up expecting it to be a city in the sense of … you know … cities. If you’re just staying there for the hotel and are driving elsewhere for things to do … no. Nevermind. Don’t bother.

      • Yep that’s pretty much what I thought about Oklahoma…and Kansas for that matter. In fact, America’s heartland doesn’t inspire much from me except the acceleration of my gas pedal. I like the edges.

      • We could even call the coasts America’s Silver Lining. All the rest is cloud.

  11. George is the perfect name for that buffalo.

  12. Teresa Cleveland Wendel

    You look young compared to this old girl.

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