Posted by: angelnorman | October 18, 2008

David Sedaris, my brother really hooked me up, and other stuff.

Last night, in an attempt to sort of reclaim some of my former self, my best friend Michelle and I went to see David Sedaris at TPAC. I couldn’t recall the last time that she and I had been out together, sans Mike or Nicholas, and I felt really badly about that. It was nice though to just go out alone and catch up with one another, especially since it’s Michelle. As in the friend who’s known me for half my life. The friend that knows it all about me and likes me anyways.

And last night she was specifically the friend that was trying to help me reunite with my former pre-mom self, the self that she said she is afraid I’ve “lost”.

I haven’t really thought much about that recently, but with some of the marital issues and otherwise that I’ve been having lately, I find that I really do just feel drained of all my life force these days. I needed a night to refuel and reconnect. I needed to have a full meal in a place where I didn’t– and couldn’t– order chicken nuggets or an apple juice box. I needed to be traipsing about town like I did when I was 17 and carefree, drinking coffee and reliving my youth on the streets of Hillsboro Village.

It was like therapy, only a lot more fun, really.

And it was fitting that Michelle was bringing me the therapy.

The show was fantastic, no doubt because David Sedaris himself is just fantasic. We had front row seats, too. So close that David Sedaris literally could have stood on my lap and read his show and the people in the back would have been none the wiser about him not actually standing on the stage. It was awesome.

My favorite quote of the night, which I believe is from a story that is to be published in the New Yorker tomorrow…

 “Calling yourself a maverick is a sure sign that you are not one.”

I could have given him a standing ovation for that. He totally dogged undecideds, by the way, comparing them to professional actors or people who just wanted attention. Because, to David Sedaris, being undecided in this election is like, to paraphrase it, being asked by the stewardess on your plane if you preferred for your in-flight meal the chicken or a plate of human feces (with glass in it) and pausing to ask how the chicken is cooked. I couldn’t agree more. My face hurt when I left TPAC; I’m pretty sure I didn’t stop smiling the entire time.

So of course I loved David Sedaris. He’s my kind of humorist.

Afterwards, we went to Fido to try and score some food but their kitchen was closed. So we walked over to Sunset Grill, an old (rather pricey) standby, and I ducked my head in to see if my brother Micah was serving. I didn’t see him, though I did see someone bussing a table who looked like my other brother, Joseph, so I told Michelle that we could go somewhere else if she wanted since it was pricey and we were too early for the 1/2 off special after midnight. I mean, if I wasn’t going to get cheap food or the chance to see my little brother, there was no sense in eating there. The food there is phenomenal but I didn’t necessarily need fine dining.

Just as we were deciding to walk back out, Michelle turned and looked back into the restaurant and said, “Angel, that IS your brother Joseph!” So it turned out that he works there too, and he seated us and talked to us a lot. It was so fun to see him since I haven’t in um, months. I should get a job there too and then it would be like a family thing and I’d see them all the time. (Plus, I just learned last night that my brother Micah is taking home the same amount in one week that Mike makes in two weeks. WOAH.)

Thanks to my family connections, Michelle and I got a huge hookup on the meal ticket if you know what I mean, which I was thankful for since she was buying mine. At least my connections essentially scored ME a free meal. A meal in which I dined on roasted brussel sprouts, the best carrots and risotto I’ve ever put in my mouth, and one heck of a delicious friend green tomato. Oh, and crack-in-a-bowl, a.k.a. vanilla bean creme brulee, which typically I hate but couldn’t stop eating. (Not a fan of the burnt sugar on top, which reminds me of the way roasted marshmallows taste… I hate that burnt flavor. The custard however, I could have eaten buckets of. Someone would have had to remove me with a crane, but it would have been worth every bite.)

After we ate, we had coffee and walked around a bit. Hillsboro Village was nearly empty, sadly. It was definitely not the way it was back in our “heyday”. We walked up to McDougal’s or something or other, it’s a chicken wings place in that area that actually used to be Michelle’s boyfriend’s house. They were closed as by that time, it was pushing midnight, but still she showed me the room where they had slept, you know, together, and we thought it hilarious that there was a table where the bed once was. So she could go in and sit in essentially the last place that they, um, you know.

After making our way around several blocks, we were bored and we decided instead to drive. We found “Small World”, a house on Chickering Rd in Nashville that always blew our minds as teenagers. We tried to take pics but it wasn’t working properly in the dark. Here’s this though…

This is a house, ya'll. A HOUSE.

Then we drove the long way home, chatting all the way. It was 2 am when I finally got into my pjs and hit the sack.

It was nice, for one night, to not be immediately defined by the person I was hanging out with by my role of “mom”. Michelle doesn’t know me as just Angel the Mom. She knows me as Angel the artist. Angel the intellect, though I’m not sure that still stands. Angel the student, the observer, the girl who, as Michelle put it last night, “plays by her own rules”. I found it thrilling to be with someone who remembered me that way, since I’m so often with my mom friends who only know me because our kids play together on the playground. Not that I’d give up my mom friends. I adore them!

I think it’s nice that there are people that understand the various sides of you– where Michelle understands the pre-mom me, another friend might only truly know and “get” the mom version of me– and they can remind you that one side should not snuff out another side completely. Because all those different “sides”, they’re just aspects of the whole me. Pieces of the pie, if you will.

Michelle basically intervened for me last night. She said I needed to be reminded of who I was on the inside, I needed to remember myself. I couldn’t agree more with anything, except for maybe that maverick quote.

Seriously, I’m so sick of hearing them refer to themselves as mavericks. It’s like people who repeatedly say they’re happy… you’re not happy if you’re having to reassure everyone that you’re happy, dummy. Something is not quite right about it.

What is right though: adding David’s work to your Christmas wishlists! I know he’s on mine, for sure.

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Responses

  1. Bravo, Angel! I am a HUGE believer in the importance of keeping in touch with that ‘pre-Mom’ part of ourselves. And it’s not always easy because we can always come up with a million reasons why our time/money/energy needs to go first and foremost to our kids/husband/responsibilities. Michelle sounds like a fabulous friend- I have one like that, too!
    (P.S. I am also a big fan of Runaway Mom trips, where you go somewhere all by yourself and spend some time reading books, wandering around museums, taking yourself out to dinner… Try it!)

  2. I have always thought your runaway mom trips to be a great idea, Tori. Often, I’ve wondered if I would be bored without someone else there to talk to (since I’m not so good with making small talk with strangers), and only recently have I realized that no, probably not. It’s actually more likely that because I’m naturally a “loner”, I’d have the time of my life.

    I enjoyed your assessment of Chattanooga, by the way. Mike and I go to Chattanooga every year for our anniversary. This last time we stayed at the Bluff View Art District, and I highly recommend it! I’ve always wondered how nice the girly rooms at Stone Fort were, so I appreciated reading and seeing pics on your blog about it 🙂 Next time, try staying at Bluff View if you liked the restaurants there. The Back Porch Cafe has great views of the Tennessee River at night, especially if the sky is clear and the moon is shining brightly. I just love that whole area. It is marvelous to have good eats, lovely strolls, and wonderful history right there at your doorstep.

  3. P.S. Michelle IS a fabulous friend, and we’re lucky to have friends like that!

  4. I was just wondering how your friday went!

    I am glad it was so awesome….

  5. Glad you had a great time.


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