Otherwise known as the Love Shaq.

Leon’s First Cottage Weekend has accelerated beyond good times and into a borderline comically idyllic montage. It was inevitable, given the collection of hilarious and witty people filled to the brim with goodness. Good friends beget more good friends taken to the nth degree. If there was a montage (scored with Vitamin C’s “Graduation” no doubt), it would potentially include all of the following moments:

Playing catch by the beach. It’s been nigh on 20 years since I last wore a baseball glove and throwing the ball back and forth came back to me and then some. There was a muscle memory augmented by the fact that I’ve learned what hand-eye coordination is since I was a child. I can actually catch now. I know this is gonna come off as “Leon learns something that comes as base element of being human”, but there was something supremely satisfying about using that webbed part of the glove to grip the oncoming projectile before it even had a chance to hit my palm.

Playing “piggie in the middle in the sea”. Always a scourge of my childhood (the aforementioned lack of hand-eye coordination) in a large group, we had two or three people in the middle at once. Whenever someone in the centre caught the frisbee, everyone in the middle swapped out with prior from the outer ring. Everyone got a chance to make some wicked catches in a super supportive group. No bullying allowed.

Making smores around the fireplace. Loaded up with booze and insect repellant, we had everything we needed. A crystal clear night in full view of the stars. A lillypad studded lake replete with the gentle croaks of frogs punctuating silence like detuned banjos.

Watching people swap lives on Donkey Kong Country. It was strangely hypnotic as a spectator experience. Cheers erupted wherever the player passed a close shave “What is that?” I asked. “It’s a beaver running a milestone in a Mayan crocodile city, obviously.” Of course, why would I even ask?

Co-conducting the ceremony of Lokoshabbat. An arcane ritual passed down since the days where my friend and I discovered the strange palatable nature of Four Loko when added to Manischewitz. We extolled the gospel and indoctrinated new acolytes to our cultish order. This led to impromptu dance parties, and incredible hangovers. “THIS TASTES LIKE GRAPE JUICE” announced a new disciple before avidly finishing off the remainder of everyone else’s ‘Loko.

The meals. Holy fuck. Chorizo bread pudding and fruit with unicorn dip (sour cream, cream cheese and marshmallow fluff). Vegan chilli with spicy quinoa salad. Chargrilled burgers in a make-your-own burger bar. Pineapple slow cooked chicken. Rich, sweet, pulled pork. An anti-hangover breakfast feast with pancakes, bacon, hash browns, mango and Greek yogurt. Ever-evolving sangria. Given that everyone has only had one meal to take care of, they’ve put all the effort in and it’s shown. Furthermore, we’re past that early 20s thing where everyone tries to avoid responsibility. People offer to help and it makes everything run smoothly.

It’s also nice to be a part of a new social group. Knowing half the people present has given me the opportunity to meet the rest when everyone is at their most relaxed. Seeing couples together in an environment where they feel comfortable showing their love for one another is nothing short of wonderful. Many cute and lovely moments, seeing how and why these relationships/marriages work so well. It’s fucking excellent and I’m having the best time.

Speaking of which, my can needs more rum and my stomach needs pulled pork. Plus it’s my turn on the controller to play Shaq-Fu. Do I really have to leave?

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