Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bienvenidos a Miami!

For the latest stop in my 2012-2013 Tour de Mooch (as my brother so eloquently put it), last weekend I traveled down to Miami to visit with M, my bestest friend from law school (and one of the only people I know who doesn't want to leave a digital footprint, so we'll keep her google-proof here).

M is one of those friends that everyone should be lucky to have at some point in their life. She is truly one of the most selfless people I have ever met, a total rock in the lives of many, many people (including me). Let's just put it this way-- we lived together for two years in law school. I never found myself even the slightest bit annoyed with her. Not once! Well, maybe once. There was a time we went to New York City. She's super small and has a really speedy, efficient, New York style way of weaving and bobbing through crowds. One afternoon, we were in SoHo, she buzzed her way like a little bee through a crowd at a pace I simply couldn't match, and in my mind, I said, "geez, M, slow down a little." And THAT... was the extent of any annoyance I've ever had with her, ever, despite spending many, many hours with her at what was possibly the most stressful time of my life. That proves a lot, and I'm not sure there's anyone else I can say that about.

We really became friends at the end of our first year of law school, and I think we both brought balance to each other. That first year, I studied too little and had too much fun (defense mechanism, I was NOT the only one, and hey, it was the good ole pre-Recession days and we were all getting jobs anyway). M studied too much, and, in my view anyway, didn't have enough fun. So when we became roommates, we tempered each other. She got me to study more. I persuaded her that if we were going to do this studying thing, we needed to break it up into two hour intervals, watching a Sex and the City episode (or two) in between. We both joined In Vino Veritas, the Wine Club (I wasn't a joiner then and I'm not a joiner now, but I was all about that Wine Club). We went to the same Vietnamese restaurant two or three times a week, both ordering the same exact pho every damn time, and after two years, they still didn't know us. Occasionally we took little road trips, to New York or Providence or to the beach....anything to get out of Boston. Mostly, we just found ways to help each other survive law school, with senses of humor and outlooks on life at least slightly intact when we finished.

Mimi's cute but doesn't care for me.
Anyway, M's living in Miami now. I got there Saturday afternoon and found her fancy highrise with its beautiful view. Living in style, that one is. We did a quick catch up ("OK, explain to me just what is going on with this quitting your job and traveling bit?"), I met her new boyfriend (two very enthusiastic thumbs up, he's a keeper) and her new dog, a three-pound maltipoo who decided within minutes that she didn't care for me and didn't change her mind that whole weekend. And then, because we were in Miami, we ate lunch at 4:30. That makes sense when you're starting your evening with dinner at 9:30. (When did I get so old that 9:30 sounds more like bedtime to me?)

Her view doesn't suck.
After a nice pre-dinner nap, we got ourselves dolled up (i.e., I wore something other than spandex for once). We hit up an artsy part of town, downing tapas and prosecco in a dark restaurant decorated with murals, catching up, sharing stories, testing and comparing the quality of the cameras of our respective iPhones (M and her boy had already upgraded to the 5) by posing for picture after picture. M's boy doted on her the whole time, and would turn to me occasionally, asking "was she this adorable in law school?" I decided I needed one of those types of boys, too.

From my ancient iPhone with the inferior picture quality
Checking out the art galleries
A few cocktails and many dollars later, we took our talents to South Beach, walking right in to a new and trendy lounge (no lines at 11:30, still way too early!). We laughed and danced a little, then moved out by the pool. I started to remember what this felt like, these nights when I would go out and wear my 4-inch stilletos, when I let my hair down and stayed out past midnight and drank, without worrying about a long run or ride that had to get done the next morning, whether my shoes were giving me plantar fasciitis, whether the drinks were just going to make it that much harder to try to get to something resembling race weight. Honestly, THIS was the life I lived for a lot longer than I've been taking sports seriously, and I missed it a little.

Finally, at 2:30 AM, postively geriatric for South Beach, we called it a night and headed home and then slept in past 9:00 the next morning. Again, flashback to a previous life.

The next day, it was raining, but we were going to the beach, dammit. So we drove through flooding streets and torrential downpours and then sat in our car, beachside, until the rain cleared. It was cloudy and still a little drizzly, but we grabbed out towels and headed to the sand. We walked miles in the surf, then laid in the sorta-sun, just talking and catching up on the last 18 months, which have been full of changes for both of us. As always, M knew all the right thing to say, offered advice that was spot on, even about things she had no reason to be able to relate to. Among other things, we talked about my trip, and the anxieties I have about whether I'm doing it "right," whether I'm going to regret this, whether I'm using my time wisely, my fears about what other people think of my decisions. She said the perfect thing: "this is your Year of You. You do it the way YOU want to do it, whether anyone else would do it the same way, whether anyone else thinks it's smart, or not. It's YOUR year." She's right.

We are getting to that damn beach

When it came time to head back home, I was both happy and sad. Sad to be leaving a friend who I know I may not see for a while, but so comforted and happy about our weekend. There's something very soothing about sharing time with someone who has known you for years, through good times and bad. The memories start flowing, the inside jokes and the laughs return. And you know that while some things, lots of things, may change, your lifelong friends (and family) will be there. And in the end, that's really all that matters.

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