For Friday night, my lab planned a dinner in honor of my successful defense a couple of weeks back and we all agreed to meet at a local Thai restaurant. I was completely shocked (and hopelessly confused) to go to the restaurant with Deano and find Geb and Di, two of my best girlfriends from Minnesota. You know the weird things that go through your mind when you see someone totally out of context? Here's what I thought when we walked in and saw those two sitting at the table:
Wow, those two girls look just like Geb and Di. And they're staring at me like I know them. Oh my God, that is Geb and Di! They came to Tampa and didn't tell me, and happened to come to the same restaurant as us. This is going to be awkward when they try to explain why they are here without telling me. Oh wait! They came for ME! They came to hang out with ME!
Ridiculous, right? Needless to say they got me good. They had been in touch with Deano, my parents, even my lab mates to pull off this feat. And the predictable subsequent collision of worlds ensued how you might imagine with the girls telling my lab mates and Dr. Hari about the wild college days when my reputation as a robust drinker preceded my intellectual prowess. And so, being reminded of those days, and since I am still the same person after all, I decided it was perfectly reasonable to drink the way I did in college. Never mind the fact that age and an adult lifestyle have seriously eroded my tolerance, not the mention my ability to bounce back from a wild night.
I blame the girls. They force me to party every single damn time. Except this time Geb is preggo, which is totally awesome because not only do I get to be an honorary auntie in a few months, we also got a designated driver for the weekend.
Dinner at the Thai restaurant was excellent and I had a lot of fun watching my girlfriends and my co-workers mingle. Especially when one of my lab mates tried out her best Minne-sooo-tan accent on my friends. After an extended dinner and a couple of cocktails, half the lab went home to their spouses and families. The party continued (with Dr. Hari!) at the bar next door for a little while where we shared some pitchers and listened to Dr. Hari reminisce a little about his own college days.
Later, Deano, the girls, and I hit the neighborhood bar at the end of our street where things got out of hand very fast. We ran into some fellow grad students (a couple of "lifers") who took it upon themselves to hit on my friends. We also played a rather mean game of "who has the best drinking story". I got pretty emotional as it is a rarity to have my husband and my best friends with me (usually the husbands tend to step back a little in the wake of the force that is us girls) but I know they wanted him to hang out with us since they hadn't seen him in a few years.
Things got blurry after several rounds and the last clear memory I have is the clock reading 2:00. After that there are fragments of the remainder of the night including a not-so-great toilet-hugging session, but it was worth it to have an evening with my friends in my neck of the woods. Girls night in Tampa was a success.
Saturday we went to Clearwater. We ate lunch at Frenchy's and then headed to the beach where we recovered from our hangovers under a cabana among the sounds of the waves and seagulls, the smell of the saltwater and the beach eye candy that we realized for the first time was way too young for any of us. But it didn't stop us from looking. Or commenting.
In the evening, we just watched sappy chick flicks with candy and more junk food, reminisced some more and said our good byes until the next time we meet up, when Geb will either be big as a house or even a mom and I'll likely call some place else home. They flew back yesterday morning, and I resumed life as normal.
Thanks, ladies, for planning your trip down to Florida in a completely covert fashion, surprising the bejesus out of me and showing me a fantastic time, as usual. After 10 years, we still know how to have a totally kickass time.