So the thing is my friend S. and I have proper careers and responsibilities and grown up lady lives. We have interests and hobbies and proper opinions on serious matters.
But all that goes out the window after a gin & tonic from the lobby bar at the Palmer House.
We’ve just come from dinner at the Berghoff, where I devoured a lamb burger, and she made a solid dent in her chicken pot pie with spaetzle, which she had the waitress pack up and give to me.
The lobby is full of conventioneers networking over light beer and glasses of red wine. S. leads me through the crowd, up an escalator to a mezzanine level where we find a high table and two stools on a balcony, assuming perches as though we were going to spend an evening of watching the people below.
Instead, I produce my laptop, turn it on, connect to the hotel’s free wi-fi. We lean forward towards its electric glow, and begin to lurk.
“Who was that really hot guy with the hot girlfriend with the big boobs who worked at the Seminary Co-op?”
I have no clue about this question, or most of the guys, our college classmates, former crushes and boyfriends and hook-ups, that S. wants to scour the internet for. I launch the Messages app and begin texting our mutual friend (and boy-searching partner in crime) C.
Who were the cutest guys we went to school with?
APART FROM K.S.?
W.S. was way cute
(PS: we already talked about W.S. at dinner)
We text a bit further before C. calls us, so she can hear the liquor in our giggles, and the din of the crowd below. She teases me about K.S., an awkward boy who grew up into a lovely man with a beautiful beard. I hand the phone to S. so they can catch up, occasionally yelping “I JUST WANT TO KISS K.S. ALL OVER HIS CUTE FACE” while I look up more boys, more men, on Facebook, LinkedIn (not suggested), YouTube, even our alumni directory.
S. asks me if I’m dating at all, and I have to explain that I’m not, and not really into it. I prefer this, giggling and whispering and lurking, having fun from a distance.
S. and C. are happily married women to longtime sweethearts, each with a pair of little girls waiting for them at home. I guess as a single girl I could do my best to bring the excitement of a man, a new man or a long ago crush back from the past, into our midst. Somebody to show off, to whisper about, maybe even to come home to like my beloved girlfriends do for their spouses.
We sign off after a few minutes, but not before swearing that we’ll meet in Chicago again, all three of us, for a proper weekend of gossiping, drinking, and eating more spaetzle. S. walks me down to the entrance on Monroe Street, hugs me properly by the Peacock Doors, and returns to the lobby and, eventually, her own hotel room. I make my way outside into a night fresh after rain, and catch a cab towards home.