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A belated birthday in Little Italy 2/2

...Shortly thereafter, G&S arrived, then J.J, and we started ordering shortly thereafter -- while in the washroom (which I was quite relieved to finally get to), I'd received a text-message from N.M. that he'd be eating before arriving later, on account, no doubt, to issues of poverty.

Therefor, we began our orders when next our waitress showed up, J.J. ordered some horrible "smoked" German beer which smelt of ham, with F.S. following suit (I congratulated Josh on ordering what had to be the most anti-Semetic beer on the menu; a German beer made with ham...), A. had some sort of Belgian, 10% abbey-beer which she and F. were familiar with, S. had a coke, G. something in a green can, and I ordered a dry Japanese beer to go along with dinner. For dinner, F&A both had mussels, I ordered the penne with mediterranean sauce. I can't recall what the others ordered, asides from the fact that Gord's had Italian sausage, and that there was a brief allergy scare on S's side of the table, when it looked as if an olive had snuck into her fetuccine.

J. showed up right after we ordered.... and promptly got lost. Though we were seated in the middle isle, right at the door, she turned the wrong corner and disappeared. We kept along for a few minutes, conversing and the like. A. and I talked about their upcoming move to T.O. and her push for a reassignment (and, possible promotion) to a local T.D. branch. We talked about G's successful completion of his MRP, and F's progress on his thesis... and J. didn't reappear. And so, with a bit of a sigh, I went a-hunting for her, 'round the corner, past the bar (didn't set herself up there), down the back, towards the washrooms... and there she was, coming back in from the side terrasse, presumably.

So, guiding her back to our seats, we got on with the occasion, with J. ordering herself a pint of ale, N.M. joining us a short time later, and all of us (particularly J, whom I'll guess hadn't eaten enough) enjoying the free bread in the meantime. The food came while most of the jolly gang were out smoking, with only G, S, and I left at the table. Eventually, I went-out on another fetching expedition.

More talking, more eating. G. and F. got into a lively discussion regarding something or other, to such an extent that G. was following F. out front to join the smokers on their little breaks. A. and I talked a while about anime, S. and I talked about series like The Tudors. N. and S. bonded over the latter's past in theatre, and there were a lot of questions for N. from various quarters on his thesis on Gorgias -- the sophist, not the Platonic dialogue. He'd really been taking the chainsaw to it, it seems, and both he and F. had been undertaking some severe editing upon it (N. had stayed with F&A for a couple of weeks when he first returned to Ottawa, before moving back into his old apartment. He mused that he probably gained a few pounds during his stay, which I wouldn't doubt).

There was a lot of other conversation, of course, which I'll likely have to fill in as I recall it. J. and I spoke a bit, though I can't remember much of what; from across the table, she did query me on her mistaken impression that Professors Poirier and Darby had travelled together in Greece, which I cleared up (never happened). What I do recall is F&A secretly arranging to treat me to an expensive glass of 20-year scotch (very smooth, positively ethereal), and also the surprise and mild chagrin of one piece of chocolate-moose birthday-cake, complete with sparkler, and a rousing, half-drunken chorus of "Happy Birthday". I also recall that J's next round, after J.J. left, was served in enormous glass chalice; we joked that if it came down to a bar-fight at the end of the night, it would come down to her leading the way, clubbing on-comers down with her weighty crystal pint-glass.

At any rate, we ended up leaving at just past midnight. I left our waitress a large tip; she was quite good to us, and was working on her birthday, no less. G&S offered to give me a ride, while F&A offered lifts to J. and J.J, and they all said their goodbyes and congratulations to me, excepting J. 'Can't say for certain what that was about, but I suspect that she was a bit too past her limit, being tired and a bit drunk, to handle anymore personal contact, though it did bother me for a couple of days. On the drive south, G, S, and I talked about Summer plans: they intend to spend a month in Europe, as S. has conferences in Vienna and someplace else, and I mentioned the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

When G. pulled the car into the access to my townhouse complex on D'Aoust, we said our goodbyes. And, I must admit, walking the few, pine-cannopied metres to my front-door, I briefly had a half-frown on my face, wondering why J. had walked away without a goodbye, and if A. had said anything to her while they were left alone, outside, finishing their cigarettes while we the rest went in for our dinners.

Edit: Ah yes, some bits and pieces came back to me at random, while on the bus, the train, at the office, etcetera.

J. and F, for instance, got into a heated debate over orthopraxy vs. orthodoxy. F. was maintaining, on behalf of Prof. Emberley I believe, that orthopraxy tends to be more stable, and potentially a more robust entry-point to the transcendent. J. maintained differently. Both G. and S. teased me for the fact that I was sitting silently and analyzing the both of their arguments.

There was also some sports conversation, and my joke about the Scots inventing dodgeball (who else would invent a sport, wherein the intent is to hit, repeatedly, your friend in the face with a ball as hard as one possibly can?). J. and G, in particular, were rolling from that one. The overplayed accent might have played a part.

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