The lover, the diplomat and the warrior

These days mostly my weekends are pretty standard affairs, and often I’m fine with that. I don’t need to be on the go all the time painting the town red, as once I did, and besides, I’m committed every weekend to do a certain amount of writing, and I need a certain amount of space and time set aside to do that.

This weekend just gone, I managed to do my scheduled creative writing (and fine it was, too) while managing to get out and about and having a fine old time of it.

It’s funny, our Friday night had been organised a week or so ago, but come the evening I’d have been happy stopping at home and having a quiet night of it. I felt weary and lazy. Just goes to show. Not only was it a grand ol’ night, but I also fired up as well.

We went to a new tapas bar in Hampton street, JV, Cheeseboy and me. I was first there. It was a chilly night, and the restaurant was lit up brightly and full of people. It was a welcoming environment, loud with conversation and the lingering aroma of wood smoke. I was approached by the waitress who enquired if we had a booking. We didn’t. She was sceptical until the owner, a Frenchman, stepped in. I knew him from another bar he used to have, an industrious, passionate guy full of Gallic enthusiasm. He smiled at me and hooked a finger at me, leading towards the back and a long communal table at which people were sitting at either end. He winked at me. “The boss,” he said, ushering his wife and her friend from one end of the table to make room for us. And that’s where we sat all night, the last to leave.

I had a cocktail, and then Cheeseboy arrived in a fine old mood, then 20 minutes later JV who had a cocktail too, before we set about the menu. We ate well through the night and drank well too consuming a few good bottles of good Spanish rioja between us, plus a glass of PX, compliments of the owner. The conversation was often raucous, occasionally puerile (in the best way), and sometimes profound. Bate in the mood he was suffered from a case of playful Tourettes, which just happened to kick-in whenever the waitress walked by, purely coincidental. That, of course, led to much hilarity.

Towards the end of the night, the conversation returned to JV’s experiences with the forum. After some to and fro we had categorised each other in broad terms – Cheeseboy was the self-proclaimed Lover, JV the Diplomat, and I was the Warrior.

For some reason the focus had shifted to me, perhaps because of the extremities of my recent experience – certainly I’m the outlier when matched with a couple of suburban husband and fathers. It returned to the winning formula concept, and JV was keen to consider what mine had been.

Setting aside ‘warrior’ mentality, and even the self-belief that Donna had espoused in me, JV was eager to return to a time before anything extreme had happened, when I was much like them. He postulated that I got ahead of myself thanks to a ‘cosmopolitan sophistication’ – someone who could speak confidently on a range of subjects and who embodied a way of life in which food and literature and travel and politics where beacons.

I was surprised. I could recognise myself in his description, but did it amount to a ‘winning formula’? I thought not. I considered for a moment, casting my mind back to those halcyon times. I was dependable, I said. You could trust me to take on anything and do it well. I inspired trust. I was very capable and willing and determined and ultimately confident enough to have a go at anything, and it was that mentality that drove me forward. As I said it, it seemed true. And I wondered, did it remain true?

The next day I caught up with an old friend visiting from Mullumbimby. He was staying at his mum’s in Safety Beach. If not for my car, we would have missed each other, but with some reluctance, I set out for the drive down to the peninsula (65km). Aside from some car issues, and a wrong address, it was fine. Caught up for a beer with him at his mums before we ended up at the Dromana pub where we caught up on all the news.

I was home by 7.30, just in time to see the Bombers take on GWS, and beat them.

All round, a good weekend.

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