Some guy showed up without a costume. He looked less pirate, merely just irate.

Oh hey. Don’t mind me. I’m just here adjusting to what BEING FUCKING OLD feels like. I had a late night out last night (getting home around 9am or so) and for the entirety of today I’ve felt bushed. I got maybe 5 hours sleep altogether between a full scale rest and an evening nap. The result, however, is that I’m now an overgrown cranky baby. Still, going out to a Leprechaun drinking game event tonight, so I’ll be hard-pressed to stay dour. That said, this is 100% gonna be a get this out of the way style entry. Maybe I’ll make a pun or two worth sticking around for.

Why out so late? Because I’m trying in vain to be one of the Kool Kids. I went out to my very first toga party tonight, which is a thing raucous college students do. College students are the bastion of cool, right? Thing is, it was a rad ol’ time. Put on by a burner adjacent group with a space pirate aesthetic. There were performances, togas, screen-printing, a plounge and overpriced drinks. Despite the $10 house wine (I decided I needed to go full on “Bacchanaleon”), it was a fucking riot. I got to toga up with an old lime green bed sheet. I was wearing my tiger printed undies so I could have a toga on top and tiger underneath. I spiked my hair like a crown atop my head. Think Statue of Liberty, but more 90s chic.

The performances were all pretty neat. There was a woman dancing with something I could only describe as electric seaweed. It was a curly lash with fronds shooting off the central stalk. Coloured LEDs spanned its length, creating a myriad of sweet patterns. Another similar but mildly different act were the Spin Starlets. Alternating between electric poi, vibrant light up hoops and infinity wands, they were a dream of the 80s brought to life. It was pretty nuts seeing them hooping with their knees, but it’s hard to comprehend how visually arresting the ensemble was on a small stage. The light from the hoops flooded the room, bathing us all in electro circus mystique.

The music was pumping and the dance floor was hyped. I got to catch up with a ton of friends I hadn’t seen in ages, plus make a bunch of new ones. People’s costumes were awesome, with bold splashes of colour while incorporating a vague Greco-Roman theme. There was a photobooth set up, complete with a green screen. Thing is, my green toga faded into the background. One the galactic layer was added to the picture, it just looked like my arms and head were reaching out from the astral plane. It was kind of cool, being a disembodied demigod. I snapped some great pictures to remind myself in low periods that I’m touched by divinity, or something.

After the club emptied out around 3am, a bunch of friends and I absconded back to one of the couples’ place. They pulled out a crash mat in the living room, brought their aerial hoop down to an accessible level and we fooled around learning hoop tricks until the early morning. Not the most conventional post party activity, but I had a grand old time learning various holds and techniques. Given how limber I was feeling after a yoga class earlier that day, I managed to tire out muscles that’d been thoroughly stretched mere hours beforehand. Oh, I’ve felt it this morning.

And now? Now I need to pull myself together for some 90s cheesy horror themed revelry.

Bacchanaleon indeed!


The idea was to get intoxicated, not poisoned.

Oh what a night! Is what I’d say if we hadn’t all spent it writhing around with stomach pain. Our day was fantastic, the night was an exhibition in food poisoning 101. Our delicious streetside burgers from the suspiciously sparsely named “Burger Bar” got the better of us. Pity, ’cause they were both cheap and abundantly tasty. I guess the greater cost was unseen. Our reactions ranged from repeated vomiting, to sweating and cradling our bellies. I either spent the night sleeping or hallucinating. I’m not sure. In any case, I feel oddly refreshed this morning. Maybe it’s steadfast determination made manifest. Today we’ll bounce back. Today is Barbecue Day and by God I’m more hungry for ribs than Eve.

Yesterday was Day Drunk Day, a theme we Krushed, Killed ‘n’ Destroyed like a nice 90s video game. Starting in the Rainey Street district, everything looked oddly deserted. Another bar hop area, it was all patios and lawn games, The sky was overcast and grey, dampening the atmosphere. Still, drinking was our prerogative and we were gonna make it happen. As we walked further down the street, we noticed more people. We heard music, a jazzy ensemble playing popular covers. The place, Bangers, was pumping. The line stretched down the street. We joined, until a staff member told the line there was a three hour wait for brunch. Holy shit. Maybe we’d grab something quick elsewhere, then come back for the atmos. We picked up food truck barbecue sandwiches (mine was stacked with buttery fall-apart brisket and thick spicy sausage) then headed in.

Here’s the thing about Bangers, it was go big or go home. Their trademark was colossal brunch and Manmosas. A 1 litre mimosa containing an entire bottle of champagne. It was so potent that they refused to sell it to anyone who hadn’t ordered a full plate of food. They also had a tap wall of beer with a selection of around 60 or so beers. Crazy, creative beer catalogued into sections like “light and refreshing”, “dark and malty”, “Belgian and farmhouse” and “Nitro”. My friend grabbed a sake/pizza flavoured beer, which was oddly accurate though too savoury for my palate. Anything under 5.5% alcohol volume they’d also serve in a litre jug. Good times guaranteed. The band played and they were fucking fantastic. Lively and talented, neat twists on songs we all knew. There were bridal parties everywhere with themed shirts (which, I dunno, seems to be a Very Austin Thing). So many friendly dogs (I met a wonderfully docile and soft Great Dane called Nico). The sun came out and we had a blast dancing along. The Buzz was true and our moments felt full of love. After things quietened down, our stomachs full of beer, and hearts filled with joy, we headed out to see what the rest of day would bring.

We had a couple of impromptu photo shoots along the way, goofing about as was our way. I had my heart set on Easy Tiger Bakery, ’cause I love bakeries. I was hoping to find a cute little store with nice chocolate chip cookies or something. We wandered along to our map’s instructions and found the place. It was nothing we expected and everything we didn’t know we’d wanted. A big canal ran alongside an outdoor courtyard filled with ping pong tables. The bakery also had a full beer hall, and here I was just wanting a cookie. I ordered a chocolate chunk cookie and lost my mind. So, back home in New Zealand we have this cookie brand called Cookie Time. They’re large cookies with a crispy exterior, soft interior and big chunks of chocolate. They’re one of my all time top favourite things, and utterly remarkable for a mass produced product. This Chocolate Chunk cookie was a near perfect recreation of a Cookie Time, but also freshly baked. I found my bliss. There was no way the day could get better from there on out. I’d reached peak holiday.

Then we found our new plateau. We dithered around trying to figure out what to do, while overly accommodating one another. The result was us getting a little pissy and nothing getting done. One of us wanted to see the Capitol, but also get goofy tourist shirts. I wanted to find cheap drinks. My friend was saying we should get the drinks I wanted, while I wanted her to have her shirts and Capitol building experience. Canadian politeness, eh? We’d passed a bar earlier where everyone inside shouted at us to come inside. “TWO DOLLAR DRINKS” they’d yell. “COME ON IN”. We’d learned in school not to bow to peer pressure, so we told them maybe we’d come back later and walked on by. After my friend and I argued about why it was better to accommodate the other, our fellow friend took executive decision and walked back to the peer pressure bar. It was settled.

Turns out peer pressure was the best thing that could’ve happened to us. The $2.25 drinks were decided by big Wheel of Fortune style wheels above the bar. It cost money to spin the wheel, which would change the drink affected by the wheel. One wheel for beer, one for shots and one for cocktails. The cocktail on offer was a $2.25 Bacardi Mai Tai, so we figured there wasn’t a lot to lose. EXCEPT OUR MINDS, it turns out. The drinks were delicious and the bartender was a great bloke. He was this super down to earth guy and we all had a rad time chatting to him. One drink stretched into seven or eight as others flooded into the bar. The crowd were good hearted locals and it was interesting hearing their perspectives. The kind of people whose political views were so different to our own, but what was interesting was how little that got in the way of communication.

We really noticed that while people in America hold steadfastly different views, they steadfastly defend the right of everyone to have their own views. It’s such a staunchly individualist society where people care about their right to live or die by their own ability to take care of themselves. People loathe the concept of paying into a system of healthcare where your money goes to other people. It’s anethma to them because the belief is that if you can’t support yourself, you don’t deserve to be helped. The American Dream says that everyone is entitled to reach heaven if they can get themselves there. It’s embodied in tipping, for instance, which is predicated on the notion that the better you are at making people feel welcome, the more you deserve. The satisfaction isn’t in doing a job well, but in immediate gratification for your work.

To be clear, I couldn’t disagree more. The three of us listened to these views respectfully, then told them precisely how and why our more “socialist” society worked for us. How we felt okay about paying more in taxes so that everyone could access the system. That we earnestly believed that people’s lives shouldn’t be ruined or ended because of broken structures. The concept of someone needing to choose between going to the doctor or not leaving their family in debt was inhumane. I hope some of the message got through to them, but who knows. In any case, we were drunk as skunks when we followed one of our new friends to the fateful Bad End of Burger Bar. We all know how that turned out. Or at least, I did this morning.

Oh, and The Curse of Cookie Monster has finally worn off. I’m back to brown town. Barbecue Day is truly Hashtag Blessed.


You know what? It IS a good morning. Thanks for asking. I’m fresh faced after a night out on the town. I can confidently say that I’m having a capitol time here in Austin. As soon as we stepped off the bus the smell of barbecue was both immediate and arresting. I think that’s what “living your best life” is. Everything here is enormous, both in value and impression. I’m sitting in Summer Moon cafe enjoying a colossal 20 oz Summermoon, their signature drink. It has a quad shot and it was all of $6. Ridiculous. It’s something I always forget about when in the states. Portions. We bought a couple of $5 happy hour “appies” and they were basically full meals. Two sliders and fries, a chunky slab of mixed cerviche/avocado with a side of nacho chips. Gargantuan. Food is abundant and inexpensive. Do I have to ever leave?

The drinks are STRONG too. I chatted with our server about them. I told her back in NZ, a double shot was standard. In Canada a single shot is the go-to. How was the US in this equation, I asked. “Oh, they’re single pours” she assured me. “Our barman just happens to have a heavy hand.” According to the rest of the night, Austinites just have heavy hands. We met many heavy handed bartenders, like the one making White Russians for my friend. “We’re out of cream” he said “so I’ll just use baileys instead if you don’t mind.” My friend very much did not mind, so the bartender handed him a cup of straight liquor. Yeah, we had a night. Happy Hour is a revelation here. Cheap mixed drinks EVERYWHERE. Lots of snacks and apps. The locals come out and they’re chatty. It’s the best. After some hectic afternoon drinking last night we settled in at The Ginger Man, a quiet and comfy craft beer bar. A huge variety of international beer, big leather couches and most importantly, a dart board. The three of us spent hours playing Around the World and getting to know whatever locals stuck around the bar. There was a dude on a date who started jokingly (but maybe not?) accusing me of stealing his date. Odd, I was chatting with the two of them, zero ulterior motive. I dunno, she seemed to be enjoying herself hanging out with the three of us, but he decided to call it and take her with him. There was some older British/American lady who ended up bringing over her entourage to all hang out. It was fantastic. They were all so friendly and she was a fun, punchy artist with a starfucker streak. She was telling us where to go to meet Mike Judge, his favourite bar wasn’t from our Air BnB. Then she casually mentioned knowing Richard Linklater and my brain kind of broke. She offered to take us all fo a drive out of Austin central if we wanted, to get barbecue at this great place just outside town. It felt like a super genuine offer. Her husband was super into architecture and told me about this place called Soane House to check out on my impending London holiday. We were having a fucking blast, then decided to hip hop on out of there and off to a dance night at a messy student bar. 10/10, exactly the kind of night I wanted.

I guess it’s worth mentioning my travel companions. They’re a couple and honestly, I fucking adore them. They’re excellent to travel with. We’re all pretty easy going and there’s a pervasive atmosphere of “greenlighting” going on. If anyone ever wants to have an experience, the rest of us do what we can to accommodate them and make that experience happen. We’re all close enough that we can speak honestly and bluntly if need be. We’re having good emotional check ins and helping to facilitate everyone enjoying their holiday to the max (like we used to back in the 90s. Remember taking things to the max? It was radical). They’re both sharp as a tack, witty and clever. He has this natural gift with words and they both have immense emotional aptitude. She’s a comic and they’re both unbelievably funny. We’re all just doing bits and callbacks constantly. It’s absurd. Tossing out malafors and messing with protracted idioms, it’s getting gloriously bizarre. Holy fuck am I ever happy right now.

More than anything, my stomach’s dreams are coming true constantly. Yesterday we had the best tacos I’ve had in my life. One was a shrimp taco slathered in proprietary fish sauce. The other was a diabolically hot jerk chicken and mango one. Here in Austin there’s a taco spot on every block. Some have several. Torchy’s Tacos have set a high bar. Let’s see if anything’s gonna clear it. I also think my central character development through the trip is gonna be understanding and setting my own limitations. I think I discovered one of those boundaries at a bakery yesterday. I was taken by this enormous and elaborate Cookie Monster concoction. It was constructed of two chocolate chip cookies with a large dollop of whipped cream in between. The top was adorned with what I assumed was some kind of blue fondant, but happened to be more whipped cream. Enough to make the word “excessive” an understatement. I assumed Cookie Monster’s eyes would be marshmallows or something. NOPE. More whipped cream. I was a whirling dervish of stray blue cream, which got fucking everywhere. My hands were stained, my teeth discoloured and my tongue looked like a giraffe’s. It was brutal. Blue-tal? I knew it was too much before I bought it. I was certain it was too much when I set it down in front of me. The first bite assured me I was making a mistake. The beard full of blue whipped cream only brought it home. Before I even finished the first cookie I knew I’d feel awful if I proceeded further. Not having anything to prove, I should’ve quit while I was ahead. Being me, of course I didn’t. I had so much fucking sugar that I felt like a total mess. Underslept, overfed and wired on coffee, I was trash incarnate. It was wonderful.

This morning my poo was a toxic forest green. I think Cookie Monster may have impregnated me with a weird alien foetus. Hey, we’re in Austin. The city motto is “Keep Austin Weird.” I’m only following the imperative.

Oh to be a carb-on based life form once more.

I’m out of town tomorrow, I’m so checked out already. I’d say I might as well be gone by now, but I haven’t packed a thing. I’m heading straight to the airport after work, so I guess packing is tonight’s business. I’m going for five days, it’s hard to mess that up.

Work lately has been both difficult and simple. It’s been difficult to put any intentionality or mindfulness into my work. It’s frankly not that kind of job. It’s been simple in that the work isn’t difficult, so I’ve been carving through it in an attempt to clear up potential covering that my coworkers would need to do. With little to no extra effort, I’m about a week ahead at this point. It’s alarming how much more I could be doing in more ways than one. I’ve been under no illusion for the past few years that I’m wasting time at this job, but clearly nobody could accuse me of wasting effort. In some ways it’s made me realise how badly I want to be the kind of person who invests their identity into the way they pay the bills. In other ways it’s brought home how severely I can’t with this job. My therapist told me two years ago I needed to get out. I listened, I tried, I failed. I guess like Aaliyah I’ll need to Try Again.

In preparation for my brief Texan sojourn, I’ve dumped keto. It’s been an incremental process over the last two days. By tomorrow I feel like I will have transitioned. It was the kind of exciting shit that’s a) not actually exciting and b) actually exciting to me. Yesterday I had oatmeal for breakfast for the first time in months. It wasn’t my usual concoction (I used coconut milk instead of soy and had no banana). As a hybrid it wasn’t perfect, but non-perfect was considerably better than non-existent. This morning I tried it with a banana. The banana wasn’t ripe and thus not sweet, but the consistency was closer than normal. My body also felt buzzed indulging in real sugar, even if it was just a banana’s worth. I haven’t done a full 180, but I’m trying to up my carbs, lower my fats and increase protein in an attempt to ease the transition. I had milk this afternoon. Tomorrow I might even try bread. What a brave new old world. On Friday I’m going to ingest every single carb based food in existence. Food truck tacos, pizza, burgers, chips, lattes, cookies, cakes, beer, happy hour cocktails. I’m going to return as a blimp to save on airfare.

I have one work day left. That’s it. I’m likely gonna do about an hour’s worth of work then spend the rest of my time twiddling my thumbs until it’s early enough to ditch. Speaking of which, it’s about time to check out here.

One more day! One more day!

Everyone’s always so quick to blame the scotchka.

I feel rough as guts, that’s how going back to drinking went. It’s 8pm and I may still be hungover. This hangover has been remarkable. Not in a pleasant fashion, but in its length and depth. Fluid movement has been off the table since this morning. I’m a shambling mass trying to navigate the minefield of Getting Shit Done. Fortunately I’ve got nowhere to be for several days. I was hoping to get out and see Black Panther today though.

I was sick. Let’s get that out of the way. I chundered spectacularly just as we were ready to get into bed. It was awful and covered the sheets. My girlfriend sighed and took charge, grabbing spare sheets and we set to making the bed for a second time. When we’d finally finished, my body took that as a sign to unleash hell. I upchucked on the bed again. Demoralising and disgusting in one package. My girlfriend handed me an old pair of spare sheets and told me I was on my own. Fair call. She slept in the spare bedroom and I somehow managed to mostly keep my little chunks inside my body. At some point I awoke and continually began throwing up bile into a mixing bowl she’d left for me. I checked in the morning, it was a sickly blackish green. Nasty as fuck. My girlfriend went to work at 10am, leaving me with pain meds and water by my bed. I don’t know what I did to deserve her.

I lay in bed all day, drifting between sleep and gentle dosing. I felt incapable of moving. At some point my downstairs neighbour began strumming his guitar and singing along. It was actually really lovely to listen to. I felt broken, but relaxed. My body wanted to pee, but my head wanted me to stay in bed. My head won. That was me for most of the day. It’s sad that being irreparably hungover was what it took for me to relax for once, but aside from feeling ratchet, it was kinda pleasant. After some time I figured it was getting late. It’s probably after 3pm by now I thought. I looked at my phone, it was 3:30pm. I’d spent the entire day being hungover. I guess I paid for my revelry tenfold.

Thing is, I had such a fantastic night. The party was amazing. They’d recreated a bunch of The Room’s sets. There were framed pictures of spoons everywhere. Everyone seemed to come in costume and there were some awesome left field ones. A guy just came as The Cancer Doctor, carrying Claudette’s diagnosis with him continually (“You definitely have breast cancer” was all it said). It felt like half the people attending were keto, so there were a bunch of keto friendly snacks. I got to catch up with some good friends I hadn’t seen in something like six months. Drinking again was predictably fun. Even taking today into consideration, I regret nothing.

Come to think of it, this whole exercise was invaluable. After several months on the wagon, I’d forgotten how to handle myself. My resistance had plummeted. The rum went straight to my head. I was having the time of my life, but I’d clearly forgotten that drinking doesn’t make you invincible. Considering I’m heading to Austin in four days, I needed to remember this. Can you imagine how shitty it’d be getting ruined in Austin and wasting my vacation on a hangover? This harsh lesson hopefully saved me from making a dick of myself with the abundant and cheap booze that’s sure to be on hand. I mean, of course I’m still gonna drink. Maybe I’ll do a better job of managing just how much I do.

The silver lining of being hungover at the moment is that keto cuisine is hellishly hangover friendly. I’ve practically just been eating mayo on everything today. Cheese, avocado, mayo. It’s all right there for the taking. Plus in precisely five minutes I’m about to tuck into some meaty chicken bones I’ve roasted while watching a big dumb superhero flick. I guess this day’s turning around after all.

What am I? I’m just a chicken. Chip-chip-chip-chip-cheep-cheep.

I’d say that I don’t know where to start, but there’s really only one place to start: At the beginning. It all began at the leftmost side of the page, right up the top. You weren’t there when it happened, but it’s where you joined in. Like, a line or two above this very one you’re reading now. At this point, you probably realised that this wasn’t going anywhere narratively. In a more literal sense it’s heading to the right in a downwards direction. Metaphorically, it’s spiralling in a downwards direction.

I was gonna make some glib comment about how my life’s following suit, but really that’s not so much the case. If anything’s following suit it’s this entry, which follows yesterday’s entry in which I talked about my newly acquired suit. Cue the groans and strap yourselves in, folks. I’m in one of those kind of moods. It’s not a bad mood per se. Also I should refrain from using the word “bad”, I’m better than that, right? Dreadful? Ghastly? Dour? Contentious? Erroneous? Double-plus un-good? Aside from padding for time, I’m not sure why I went on that tear. I’d already said I wasn’t in a “bad” mood. I had a really relaxing night last night. I’ve got no important plans for the next two days and I’m whimsically sailing through time powered by the lightness of being. Also I’ve decided I’m going to drink tonight.


Haven’t I been going on about keto for the past bloody forever? Now I’m casually introducing the imbibing of libations? I never said I couldn’t drink on keto, I merely said I wasn’t. I haven’t been. It makes it easier to lose weight and seeing as that was the goal, I didn’t. However at this stage the finish line is in sight. I’ve lost as much weight as I’m realistically gonna lose and I figure it’s time to prime my body once more for eating like a normal trashy human. I’ve stopped trying as hard. Simple as that. My old phone bit the dust and this new one doesn’t have My Fitness Pal installed. I haven’t bothered. I’ve stopped logging food meticulously and instead I’m just eating within the nutritional boundaries I learned from the diet. By now I kind of know how many calories/carbs/fats/proteins most of my regular foods have, so I figure I don’t need to make such an effort to harvest the data if it’s causing me such stress. Instead of aiming for specific macros, I’m keeping my carb intake low, eating moderate protein (and more on days where I lift) and having as much fat as I want when I’m hungry. Coincidentally I’m feeling a lot better about it and myself. I’m still in ketosis and the funny part is that according to the ketogenic [urine -ed] strip I just urined, I’m incidentally producing more ketones than I was when I was trying really hard. Overall I’m not sure that’ll affect anything. I’ve hit a weight where I’m comfortable. I’m happy as I’ll ever be looking in the mirror and that’s good enough for me.

Alcohol has no carbs. Diet sodas have no carbs. On the other hand, alcohol is the first thing your body processes (with it being a poison and all). Like a theme park queue jumper, it’ll push that whole ketogenic body devouring fat process to second in line. The food you eat will stay as a backlog and stick around waiting for its turn. Plus while diet drinks don’t have carbs, they can cause blood sugar spikes similar to insulin responses. These won’t knock you out of ketosis, but it’s kind of like when you’re waiting in line for a roller coaster and the person in front asks if you mind if their partner can join them. No biggie, you say. But then it turns out they’re part of a massive polycule and suddenly half of The Bay Area is pushing in line and your five minute wait became five hours. To be entirely honest, I’ve got nowhere I need to be in a hurry. If I’m gonna have a blast getting nostalgic watching the 90s promotional videos they’re screening on overhead CRT screens. Why yes, I do want to buy into the elaborate backstory of a fucking Godzilla themed rollercoaster. That sounds just like my kind of zoning out.

Plus tonight’s party is themed after The Room and I was obsessed with that film ten years ago.

I remember that time that you told me, you said “Love is touching souls”.

I was listening to James Blake in the morning commute. No particular reason, I hadn’t heard him for a while. I figured I’d start with the Enough Thunder EP. When I got to “Case of You”, I put down the phone and really listened. I had a seat. The song’s outpouring of emotion had me stuck fast. When I got to the end I skipped back to the start, closed my eyes and listened again. I was pulled deep into a catharsis, releasing something held back by the stifling regimen of the commute.

I stepped away from the irritation of constantly moving my large bag so as not to inconvenience others, of contorting my body around other people and their baggage (literal and metaphorical). Of trying to be considerate of making space. Of encouraging other passengers to move into unoccupied areas of the train so potential passengers wouldn’t be stranded at the station for no reason. Everyone just wanted to get to work, so the best course of action was to make room for as many as possible. As Blake’s voice washed over me, I forgot all that. I thought back to when I first heard the song, working late nights at Sky TV. I thought of Joni Mitchell, who wrote the original. I thought of a Sunday morning post drinking at age 20. I walked into a room to find one of my friends peacefully listening to “Big Yellow Taxi”, humming along, blissfully unaware anyone else was awake.

I realised I didn’t know much of Joni Mitchell’s oeuvre and resolved to hear more. When I got to the office I put on Blue and went about my work. Something about the sound pulled me back to my childhood, to my parents. I’m not sure that my parents necessarily listened to Joni, but there was something in her sound that brought a scene to mind. In this mental snapshot it was night time. My parents must’ve been having friends over. We were all in the lounge. The long curtains and trusty old speakers stood out to me. The mood was jovial, adults chatting amicably, glasses filled with deep red wine. Plates were piled high and a couple of us kids were scattered around. The conversation was mostly going over our heads, but we were just excited to be around the adults that late. I don’t even know if this ever took place, but picturing it brought rise to feelings of safety, comfort and contentment.

As the album went on, it gave birth to some simple fantasy in my mind’s eye. In this fantasy my girlfriend and I go out to meet friends for lunch somewhere. We’re all a little older. The meal is great and laughter fills the table from start to finish. Phones are nowhere to be seen. We’re totally present and in the moment. We’re getting nostalgic over past adventures, stories we’d forgotten to the ages. It’s a long overdue catch-up and we revel in the affection we hold for each other. The warmth is abundant and it’s hard to keep from smiling. As we settle up and prepare to head on out, we all realise we have no particular plans. Maybe someone needs to run an errand in the surrounding shops and we decide to tag along and meander with them. The rapport continues as we mess around. It’s fantastic. Everyone’s doing bits and lifting one another up. We’re having a time.

The weather starts to take a turn and an idea sparks in my head. Why don’t we keep this party going, duck into a bottle shop and head back to ours? Everyone’s on board and we follow suit. We grab a couple of bottles of wine, order a car and pile in. The driver picks up on the vibe and turns out to be really interesting in their own right. We learn something new and by the time we’ve arrived, it felt like we shared a moment. It’s pissing down, so we rush the front door and get in as quick as we can. We’re all a little soaked, but the heat was left on. It’s beautifully balmy and inviting, despite our wet clothes. We figure we’re all friends and there’s nothing we haven’t seen of one another, so we all end up stripping down to various states of undress. Maybe someone’s still cold and they’re lent a plush garment. What we’re wearing doesn’t matter one iota, but what does matter is that we’re all abundantly comfortable.

My girlfriend grabs some glasses and I head to the stereo to toss on music. It’s something universally familiar, say The Big Chill soundtrack. Pillows and blankets are everywhere and we all cosy up with one another. We’re all chatting amicably, excited to be together. A song comes on and it sparks a memory for one of us. A long, heartfelt story is told, one we’ve never heard before, and we all feel privileged to be have shared in it. We realise it’s been a while since lunch and someone rounds up snacks while we all resolve to order takeout. We opt for candles in lieu of overhead light. The night continues in much the same vein. We lounge around, filled with wine, food, memories and song. The warmth we feel is in sharp juxtaposition to the storm raging outside. There’s an unspoken quality in the air that’s simply the representation of being excited to be together with the rest of the world on pause. The hours drag later. Wine swaps out for scotch and the music grows softer. Eventually it gets late enough that we realise we’re softly drifting off. It’s time to part ways. The storm has lifted. Nothing’s lost in leaving, because we’re all so filled to the brim with everything we could need. We don’t want for anything. A car is called and our friends get dressed to go. It arrives, we share long hugs and resolve to do it again sometime. There’s a note in the way it’s said that carries with it meaning. We know it’s not an empty gesture. Our friends head off into the night and we’re left with a warm, quiet house. One of us turns to the other and says “that was nice. Like, really really nice.” There’s no point in disagreeing.

That’s how I want to grow old.