Christian and Christina and I should not have met. I don’t sit at that end of the bar; I don’t normally interrupt my newspaper time; and I was expecting someone to join me. But my normal seats at Capitol Grille’s bar were taken, I had just finished the Sports section but not yet started the Metro, and my friend begged off our plan for a nightcap.
As they were settling their dinner tab, a near throw-away comment about the consistently excellent service at Cap Grille started a serendipitous conversation about their much smaller hometown, the glory that is the Pittsburgh Steelers 6th Superbowl, and the two of them not yet finding rhythm in DC. It wasn’t a long conversation, but when they mentioned that they were having trouble finding their social way in DC because it felt too slick, too clever by half my sense of ambassadorship moved me to show them a slice of the DC they’ve been missing.
Three relative strangers agreed to catch a cab, to trust each other with potential, to embrace some inner good.
Conversation loped and ranged and soared. It was food, DC, the law, music, painting, philosophy and that was just the first hour. We shared laughs at the expense of the interns and junior Hill staffers queuing for Hawk & Dove while we sipped bourbon at the Tune Inn – a grand dame of a dive if ever there was. Christian befriended the Vietnam Vet telling stories in the corner, Christina and I talked about the restaurants that supported her beer habit while she worked her way through undergrad, a masters and law school. They told me about their labradoodle, Gus.
We were having a lovely, laugh and booze filled evening, and I was delighted to have made new friends. There was, however, the crystallizing moment when I knew that this was not the ordinary making of acquaintance.
Christina raised her glass in a toast.
“I am so glad that we all met tonight, and I really hope the three of us will be able to get together soon.”
“But not in a ‘Dear Penthouse Forum, I never thought this would happen to me’ kinda way, right?” As soon as I said it I realized this was a risky joke for people I’d just met.
Christina immediately allayed my concerns by laughing, loudly, and responding “You mean that’s not going to happen?”