This past weekend, my old roommates and best friends came to visit for Passover. I was super hyped because it had been a while since I’d seen them, one since January and the other literally not since I left Chicago after graduation. Miriam came early and I was able to write with her in the writing group that her mom holds on Thursdays. I think I managed to give a good impression to her grandmother on her father’s side, who is a touch famous to put it lightly, because that grandmother ended up seeing us a whole lot over the weekend. Friday was Passover and one of the longest Fridays I’d lived through in a while, but once it was over, I bound a hop and a skip for one of honestly the best, most refreshing, and spiritually cleansing weekends I’ve ever had.
I really do believe in socializing and friendships doing one good, which I think is common knowledge by now. The seder was pretty cool; I’d never really experienced one and even though I’m clearly not Jewish, I didn’t feel alienated or out of place. It was as if the spirituality was universal. I was able to chat one-on-one with Miriam, which was nice to catch up.
We planned on going over to the airport in the morning together to pick up Matt, who ended up coming in way earlier than we’d expected so we were late as we clamored over to LAX. I’d been looking up brunch places around the area and we found this one weird little beachside bar establishment which had a bunch of small plates and moderately strong drinks. It was nice to actually brunch in comfort; I haven’t really brunched since moving and never with people who I didn’t feel the need to be a Person around. I was worried before vaguely that we’d been separated for so long, and although we talk a lot pretty much daily I wondered if it would be weird or awkward but I think there was only really one instance over the weekend I felt the silence was uncomfortable but also was eased out of fairly naturally. We walked to the beach nearby after and it was super windy and not too hot, so it wasn’t the best beach day, but I ended up dozing off on the sand with them which I think indicates how at ease I felt. We got cake after and dressed for the second seder of the weekend, which was also nice. I love dinner parties.
I brought them to meet Claire, since she’s pretty much my closest and go-to friend right now, which wasn’t really fair to either parties; they were already sleepy after dinner from the time difference and Claire clearly wanted to get to know them better and socialize but the party we met up at wasn’t that hopping and we ended up parting after maybe 20 minutes. I don’t know how well the mixture would have gone if given more time; there’s obviously a disconnect between how well both groups know me and I wonder if I carry myself differently here in a way that Claire has seen but they haven’t but I wouldn’t think so. I don’t think I’ve changed or behave any differently than before.
I’d gotten excited over the idea of us sleeping under the same roof and having a slumber party, but we are just too old; the East coast time zones made them go immediately to bed and I wouldn’t have felt that comfortable being too rowdy in an actual house anyway, so I went to bed too. Matt and I slept in Gabe’s room. I woke up in the middle of the night under minor attack by ants and feeling sweaty. It felt as if they were biting me, and I have no idea if they caused that overheating. We were woken by Sophie the dog barking at 10 AM in the morning, rousing us on Sunday for a late brunch downtown before heading to the Last Bookstore. Again, I love brunch. We went to Clifton’s, which was appropriately kitschy and cafeteria and overpriced. The bookstore was nice too, a huge selection with mixed prices. I thought we spent too much time there really not doing much, but as I sat on the couch with them as we just, well, did nothing, I thought it was nice to just be around and…do nothing. I felt vaguely restless but not opposed to the peace.
We planned to buy some grapefruit beers and snacks and hike up Griffith Park, so I went home and changed out of the long skirt I was in into shorts and figured since we were hiking, I didn’t need a sweater and that we weren’t going to be outside for too long anyway. That ended up being one of my biggest mistakes, since we ended up driving up another side near the Observatory where we sat on the lawn outside at dusk drinking and eating and I was lowkey freezing my ass off the entire time. Fortunately, it was the kind of cold that didn’t permeate and chill me to the bone, but it was still uncomfortable. I didn’t catch a cold.
I had an interview the next day on Monday, which I had taken off to elongate the weekend, so after a super late dinner in Thai town after midnight, I slept at my apartment and did the quick interview in the morning. The position is ideal for me, a mixture of law/policy and the environmental focus especially in Chicago (where Regina is now going, apparently), so I want it because it would just be so convienient but at the same time I know if I want it too much I’ll be crushed if I don’t get it and also they seem to want to hire pretty soon to catch new graduates (in retrospect, the time went by so fast! A whole academic year has almost finished since I graduated) and I would need some time to transition and already declared my intent to go to graduate school (although as an essentially paralegal that seems to be an obvious track). I tried to run the pension errand at the bank, which took up more of my day than I wanted, but I had a nice walk back to Miriam’s. After the bank business was squared away, we got chicken and waffles at Roscoe’s which was tastier than I remembered it being. Their chicken breasts are cooked more flavorful and less dry than the chicken I had before.
We went to LACMA afterwards, which I think was pretty much the only part of the weekend I wasn’t familiar with besides the beachside. I’d gone to pretty much every other part that we’d gone to as a local, which surprised me; I didn’t think in just a few months I’d have made the rounds to the typical spots. Looking at art was soothing, as it always is. Whenever I go to art museums, I admire the aesthetic and examine how the painting or art piece is constructed, because I can’t help but try and find the method. I thought again how it would be to be a professional artist, because it was slowly setting in that I would have to go back to work and back to the grind again. I had been mature about it, I had realized and accepted that my time with my friends would be short-lived but I was going to enjoy it while it lasted and the fleetingness of the weekend was what was going to make it so ideal and worth it. But it was starting to get to the point where I could see the end and although I thought it was a nice duration because having snippets between not seeing each other for a long time was better than overstaying the welcome, I was feeling kind of melancholy as we wrapped up the visit back in my area. It was hella windy and drizzling too, which was surprising.
Miriam left early for a screening, which I didn’t feel that upset about; with her parents anchored here, she has excuses to visit more often. We finished our bingsoo and said our goodbyes and I wandered a bit around more with Matt before that had to conclude too. We’re low-key sappy, I’ve realized, but even at graduation I was the type to write long notes about how much people meant to me. I kind of knew I would get it before Matt sent us the text thanking us for the great time. I myself had wanted to say something about thanking them for coming, which I wouldn’t mean like they were doing me a favor by coming as if I was the main reason they had made the trip, but since I didn’t know how to say it without it coming off self-centered and selfish, I just didn’t say anything. But it was truly a magical weekend, very much a spiritual cleanse and I felt like the dirt and jadedness I’d accumulated since I moved had been washed off.
Like I said before, I hadn’t gone anywhere in the city that I hadn’t previously visited before, but it really did feel like I wasn’t in LA anymore even though I recognized every site. It felt otherworldly, like I was seeing it all through a dream or a movie; familiar, but also new and novel. I left this morning to go to work and it felt like something foreign, even though my muscle memory recognized it. It felt like I was doing it after a long, long time of not doing it.
All in all, it was a much needed vacation and mental and spiritual cleanse. I keep saying cleanse but I don’t think there’s a better word for it. I really do feel healed in a deep, personal way. It made me sad to know that I would have to return to the grind and dirty it all up, as if I could preserve this state of mind and being, but I suppose that’s only how it goes. If I was mature to rationalize it, I can be mature to handle it too.