Tait is leaving ASH at the end of the week, to go to NYC and teach ESL. Or I think maybe that’s like a temporary gig, until he starts some fellowship or something. I don’t remember. I’ll have to ask him.
We go to Mai Thai, just up the block. Used to be Fin. I arrive closer to 5:30 than 5:00, when the shindig was scheduled to start, so I’m late. The place is pretty much empty, except for the ASH group in the lounge area to the right. I head to the bar to bus my own beer. I always prefer that to joining a group tab.
The bartender seems to be having trouble figuring out something, although she’s got all of three customers at the bar. She goes back and forth from this one customer and the cash register computer, and she takes a long time to get to me. Finally it’s my turn and I order a Bass on draft and hand her a ten. She pulls the Bass and fiddles with the computer screen. Then she hands me the beer and returns my change to me, in a cup. Strange. I pull out the bills and the receipt, and there are more bills back than I was expecting. Oh, apparently it’s happy hour. My beer is all of $2.75. I leave her the quarter and another dollar as tip, feeling mighty generous, having spent all of four dollars.
I go over to the gang and stand for a few minutes. Elisa is telling a story of having attended the Preakness the weekend before. She spent eight hours there, much of it packed in with drunken people, people who’d been drinking like since eight in the morning. She mentions not being able to count the number of men she saw urinating in public, but I ask her to try anyway. She guesses about eighty. And some women too, evidently, although the guys were polite enough to hold up a urine-soaked blanket to shield the poor young women. But there were cops on horseback on the other side of the fence. One of them whipped out a camera and took pictures.
Lauren leaves because it’s her roommate’s birthday and there’s some sort of party or dinner going one for the roommate. She gives me her seat, between Kate and Sasha. Next to Sasha is Elisa, who talks more about the Preakness. There’s some discussion of spending time in the sun and then having to wear dresses to friends’ weddings and such. Dealing with tan lines. Guys never think about these things.
Ayuko the director of the meetings department shows up, and I feel a sort of twinge of nostalgia. When I was at Arthur Andersen, or even later at Deloitte, when a partner would show up for a happy hour, everyone was greatly pleased, since said partner could be counted on to pick up the tab. But those days are long gone.
I’ve been feeling sick the last couple of days, so I don’t plan to stay long. But of course I get settled in and so I stick around for another Bass. Finally I leave with Kate, who has to meet Ben Block on the corner of 19th & M, because Ben is dropping off the kickball bag for tomorrow. It’s our team’s turn to squat on the Mall, to save the fields for the league. Ben and Jeremy were going to do it originally, but now I think Kyra’s going to do it.