My Accidental Date with David Leavitt

I’ve been busy lately. Busy-busy. So busy, in fact, I have almost no time to read my personal email (much less read it closely). So when a friend of mine mentioned he’d made reservations for a group of us for Wednesday night of DC’s restaurant week, I dutifully got all bundled up last night, timed my Metro trip to give me extra time so that I would be early (a common complaint against me here, that I’m late–a rarity elsehwere in my life), and grabbed a book for the ride.

I got to the restaurant about 40 minutes early. I grabbed an overpriced cosmo from the bar and sat down to read my book for a while. I felt relaxed. I sipped my drink and read “The Wooden Anniversary” from David Leavitt’s novella collection Arkansas. It was wonderful. I didn’t worry myself about the time, although I’d glance up occasionally to see if my friends had arrived, or to hazard how long it would take before the scotch-drunk conventioner to my right would actually fall off his barstool, but other than that, it was a quietly pleasant evening.

Just after nine, I checked my phone and wondered why no one had yet arrived. Since I have a smartphone, I popped up my email and reread the email. I was in the right restaurant, the right time, the right night. Then the date scrolled by: Feb 18.

So, there I was, having travelled 30 minutes by Metro to enjoy a delicious (but overpriced, yes) cosmopolitan while reading a wonderful David Leavitt story in a restaurant bar full of strange people. And I thought it was wonderful.

If only this were an isolated occurrence, I’d not be as embarrassed. But truth be told I once gathered up four friends for dinner and the Margaret Cho performance in Phoenix–a whole night early. That was embarrassing. But since this time it was just me, I actually wondered if it’s something I should do more often.

Although Arden would probably have a different opinion, were I to ask her.

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