She was taking me to meet a group of her girl friends, two of whom were also bridesmaids in the upcoming wedding.
"They said they would be here at 5:30."
I looked at my pager. It has become my substitute watch ever since I lost my 13 year old Movado two years ago in Florida. I try to hide it when I'm not at work so I won't look cheesy, but I would be lost without it. It was ten 'til six. I was late picking her up cause I had to stop at a store and buy John an Easter shirt and do some last minute Easter basket shopping, then run home and get out of my scrubs.
We walked in and got stamped to go in the bar. I love going places with Annie. She is so pretty and petite. Her long unruly mane of dark brown hair and shocking blue eyes highlight her natural beauty. Without a stitch of makeup, she turns the head of every guy in the room. We wandered around the bottom floor of the cavern-like atmosphere, and as she looked for her friends I watched the band setting up.
"I don't see them."
"Why don't we go upstairs?"
We walked up and looked in the seating areas, then out on the patio. The patio seemed smaller than I remembered; I probably hadn't been up there in over 12 years. Still no luck.
I said, "Maybe they are in the restaurant?"
After a careful double sweep of the entire premises, Annie reached into her purse to get her phone. We were wondering if they had gone to another bar - changing plans last minute.
"Oh no! I left my phone at the house. I can't call Carissa."
"I have my phone - you can use it."
"But I don't have her number." I thought this was a little weird, not knowing your bridesmaid's phone number, but I didn't mention it. I said, "Well, we can call your phone. Maybe Dave will pick it up and he can look it up for us."
"Dave won't answer my phone. I know him."
I continued to problem solve. "Let's call Dave. Maybe he can help us."
She looked up at me apologetically. "I don't know Dave's number."
This time I couldn't keep my mouth shut. "You are about to marry a guy and you don't even know his phone number!!???"
"I know, I really should learn his phone number. I'll do that, I promise."
That didn't help us now. "I'll call Ike. I'll bet he knows Dave's phone number." She smiled. "Yes! Ike will know it, I am sure."
Ike didn't answer his phone.
We continued to wander around and eventually discovered that the Cajun's patio was indeed much larger than it's perceived dimension from the patio doors. A group of five girls was parked around a bowl of cheese dip, and lit up when Annie walked out. We sat down to a chorus of "ANNIE!! Let's hear it. Tell the story."
That was the prime purpose of our get-together, so that Annie could relay THE STORY. Of HOW SHE GOT ENGAGED. After a quick round of introductions, she jumped in, and they all listened with rapt attention. Meanwhile, Ike had noticed I called and was returning it. I stepped away from the table and listened to him rattle off the number that I no longer needed. It was loud in the background. I asked, "Where are you?" He had been stood up by his mom for a bridge game and was planning to go out to eat by himself.
"I found Gasper, Brett and some other guys at The Fountain."
As I walked back to the table Annie was finishing up her story. I had to interrupt. "Does anyone else here find it odd that Annie is about to get married and doesn't even know her fiancee's phone number?"
They all looked at me with blank faces. A couple shook their heads and one girl voiced aloud what it quickly became apparent to me that all the others were thinking. "No." Now I was the weird one. Their expressions reminded me of the one I got when I was exchanging my palm pilot (yes they still make those) because the screen was messed up. No one at the Alltell store knew how to fix a palm so they just gave me a new one. My cheerful helper became suddenly upset as she relayed a glitch. "I'm so sorry! You will have to come back on Monday so we can move your contacts to your new phone. Our computers are down right now." I was momentarily confused, then realized what she was talking about. "Oh, it's ok, " I reassured her, "I don't have any contacts."
I have always remembered phone numbers. Sometimes, to my detriment. I still accidentally dial my high school friends old numbers, when I am calling them, forgetting that they have long since moved out of their parent's houses. Last week, when Ike and I were in the Nebraska ER with John, his first trip to the ER, Ike became upset that a urologist would not see John until the next day (luckily, we didn't end up needing one). I told him I would call Mel, my friend from residency. Her husband is a urologist. Problem was, I hadn't dialed her number in months, and was at a momentary loss, partially due to the stress of the situation. Ike was frantic, "Can't you remember it?"
"Please be calm and patient. It will come to me. I just have to get the area code and the rest will fall into place. Give me a minute."
Sure enough, her cell materialized after a quick mental sorting. I'll spare you the details of the ER story. My friend Trish urged me to blog about it -- It is highly entertaining but a little personal, and I am reluctant to commit it to words. It makes for good dinner party conversation. To be fair, I did end up calling my friend Dr. Styles for Mel's home phone. She wasn't answering her cell. Luckily Walt was still up - it was close to 10 Knoxville time.
Back at Cajun's, we continued the girlie conversation as the wind picked up and Mr. Happy warbled popular bar tunes. I looked out over the river and pondered the fate of that sunken bar I had been reading about on Arkansas Blog (The Salty Parrot?). Two others at the table were engaged, and wedding plans were the dominating theme. If I didn't know better, I would have thought engagement was some sort of contagious disease among this lot. I felt like an old maid, despite being only 5 or 6 years older than most of them. But I loved them all, and am looking forward to hanging out with them over the next few months planning showers and the all important bachelorette party. We sketched it out. An overnight - shopping, pedicures. We pledged to keep an eye out for a great band to go see for the evening portion.
I love that Annie surrounds herself with non-medical friends, much as I enjoy doing. They were lawyers, make-a-wishers, working at Box Turtlers. NO DOCTORS. It was wonderful. I'll have to get their numbers.