Saturday, July 18, 2009

Neighborhood Night

There's something magical about walking through the neighborhood at night. Houses look different. Landscaping I notice during the day gives way to lifescapes revealed by lighted interiors and open windows.

Tonight I was invited to a party several blocks away, and though my husband is out of town, I decided to hire a sitter and venture out alone. Our first grader has been in Art Camp with a former student and he graciously agreed to come over and put the three-year-old to bed forty times.

Perhaps he didn't know that was the bedtime routine.

I seized the opportunity to throw on a Fun Party Shirt, bid adieu to our dauntless sitter and my curious daughters (dialogue as I left: "But why don't you eat meat?" "Because I don't like to." "Okay...but do you eat macaroni and cheese?"), and swing by a few fiestas in the neighborhood, solo.

First stop was across the street, where I was treated to a glass of wine and a hug from a most cheery 11-month-old.

I cruised by my favorite local market for a bottle of wine and a Diet Dr. Pepper (where have these been all my life?), and then down to the party celebrating my daughter's classmate's parent's retirement and bon voyage on a six-week cross-country family adventure in a Westfalia named "Rusty."

The featured drink at the party was the "Rustini," and I swapped some VW van stories with Rusty's skipper, especially the one about my brother's friend puking in the plastic storage bin in the family Vanagon and my high school buddy's VW "Snotmobile" with the loudspeaker, with which he would summon me from my house as well as harass younger kids on bikes and skateboards ("You, on the red bike. Yeah, you. Go home! Your mother is calling.")

I met some nice folks with kids at my daughter's school and ate some fantastic food (the theme was "camp food," but camp food never looked this gourmet--or healthy!).

Only four blocks away was a party I discovered only hours before it started, on Facebook of all places. (As an aside here, I will give a nod to Facebook for bringing people together--its greatest virtue.) A mom I volunteered with on the elementary school's craft fair was hosting an art show with her husband in their amazing old craftsman home, a restoration in progress. There was a band in the backyard, sangria, and inspiring paintings hanging on the fences and walls. Fifteen percent of all proceeds from art sales benefited Plant with Purpose, an organization promoting environmental restoration in developing areas across the globe.

I left with half a glass of sangria, a sweet little painting titled "Hope," and a ten-block walk home on a balmy July night.

I passed a few Pride Parties in progress (Cheers!) and eavesdropped on some live piano from one house and an impromptu dance party.

I felt safe, not too warm and not too cold (mostly San-Diego-ish), and very grateful for living where I do.

And when I reached home, the sitter was still standing; the kids were not.

1 comment:

me said...

This sounds like the start of a novel. . .