My "usual" plans for Saturdays didn't work out today and I missed out on a very important weekly appointment I always look forward to all week. So, I decided that I needed some cheering up. Tonight I celebrated - well, for lack of anything else - ME!
I recently hurt my leg pretty badly and seem to only be ok when walking if my heel is elevated slightly. It eases pressure on that part of my leg I maimed. So, I took that as a good excuse to put on some heels and go for a walk. I slipped into a dress I've had for a while and have never worn and donned my favorite black boots for ankle support with a height adjuster. I then walked down to "George's Greek Cafe" in Belmont Shore where I treated myself to a lovely appetizer, Dolmathes for my entree, a glass of fine red wine to accompany, and then Baklava with ice cream and coffee for desert. The meal took about two hours to eat and I spread it out on purpose. I enjoyed and savored every minute of it.
As I sat there in the patio of the restaurant watching the people go by, I got several looks of approval. I guess my legs haven't lost their appeal, even if they have lost a bit of color from not having seen daylight in almost a year. It was refreshing, feeling like I didn't need a reason to throw on a dress and heels, but instead just to dress up because I felt like it.
Back in November I decided that once I got the position of Director at work, I would celebrate by having my first cigar in over a year. Well, life got in the way and that never happened for me. It just so happened that my favorite cigar shop was just across the street from Georges, so when I finished eating and payed for my meal, I decided to walk across the street to purchase a cigar to take home.
I stood at the register and pulled out my credit card to take care of the tab. As I stood there, suddenly the heel on my boot broke completely off and I nearly fell down. Another patron in the cigar shop caught me by the arm before I completely collapsed and helped me to a chair. It just so happened that I had bought a tube of super glue at Rite Aid earlier in the day for work and had it in my jacket pocket. So, as I sat there in the chair making small talk with the person who caught me, I tried gluing the heel back on my boot just to make it home. It was about a half mile walk at that point, and that wouldn't have been at all easy on a lame leg and a broken heel.
The super glue didn't want to work! I tried and tried, but it just didn't work for me. Finally, taking it as a bit of a sign that I wasn't meant to go home and hide for the rest of the night when it was only 6:30 pm, I asked for a light. The cigar I had picked out was a good, long smoke that took about two hours. I chatted and watched a Clint Eastwood movie with the regular customers who all wanted to know who this redheaded woman was in the shop smoking a cigar. When the two Long Beach Police Officers walked in, it was no different.
I've never had a problem holding my own with the boys. I was surrounded by men and yet I fit right in. There's nothing new there, most of my friends have always been guys. We talked cigars, sports, movies and Single Malt Scotch. Turns out I knew more about Scotch than most of the guys did. I always shine when that happens.
By the time I left I received 3 hugs from different people - the first hugs I've gotten in a VERY long time (other than Keira who hugged me last weekend after we saw a movie - @keiradazi on Twitter). I took a step out side and the heel I had tried in vain to glue back into position snapped off again and one of the Officers noticed. Suddenly I was being chauffeured home in a LBPD car front seat. By the time we pulled up, my neighbors were all looking out over the railing, wondering what was going on. This was WITHOUT the lights or sirens.
It's been a while since I got to sit in the front seat of a cop car. It was a memory worth reliving. I very much enjoyed it.
I found out before I left that most of the guys I met at the cigar shop tonight are there every Saturday. I think I found a new Saturday Night home! I'm remembering what it's like to have a life outside of my four walls and cat. I'm making friends again, finding something to do, and discovering I don't have to be so lonely or reclusive.
I've been missing something and someone so much lately, and suddenly the pain isn't as bad as it was. I ate a fine meal, had a glorious time, and was treated with the dignity and respect I wouldn't find if I walked into a bar here in California only wanting a glass of wine. I felt like I fit in with these guys. What's more, they felt like that too!
I think I'll go back next Saturday night as well. It was a pleasant evening and one I very much needed. More than that, it was one I deserved.
I think we should all do something like this once in a while. I really couldn't afford it, but I needed it and I enjoyed it. I hope each of you can find that moment of peace in your lives as well - that divine moment when pain doesn't exist, friends abound in the faces of strangers, and we feel just that much better at the end of a long week.
If you're ever in Belmont Shore - may I suggest these places?
George's Greek Cafe
5316 E 2nd St
Long Beach, CA 90803
Tel: (562) 433-1755
Anto's Cigar Lounge
5305 East 2nd Street, Suite 101.
Long Beach, CA 90803.