Saturday night, we went to this festival/fundraiser in town to celebrate Jason's birthday, which officially happened yesterday (happy birthday to Jason!)
The festival is called Bella Sera, and involves lots of people strolling around one of the riverfront parks, armed with a wineglass and hopefully the phone number of a cab company (or, as in my case, an apartment within walking distance.)
Your ticket to the event entitles you to tapas from five different restaurants (who were all set up under tents along the sidewalk) and all the wine you care to slosh into your glass. The event's proceeds go towards a local organization called Endeavors, which seeks to help people who've been released from prison get their lives back together and get on a positive path.
The evening began clear and warm, and as the sun set over the river, folks from all around gathered under the trees to taste yummy things and chat. My favorite food item from the evening was one I already knew I liked. I don't care who you are, the chicken tortilla soup from Taco Mamacita is AMAZING. They give you a bowl containing neat little piles of fresh ingredients, like avacado, tomatoes, some sort of tasty Mexican cheese, lime and cilantro. The server then pours steaming broth over the contents of the bowl, creating a delicious fresh soup. Their guacamole is also pretty amazing. I'd say my favorite wine of the night was Riesling, which makes my wine tastes disappointingly girly. I tried to drink red but I just plain don't like it.
After picking up our third round of tapas, we sat down at a table with several people we didn't know. Later, we ran into one couple, and the guy (we'll call him Jim) goes "hey it's our neighbors!" His girlfriend goes "um, those aren't our neighbors..." and we all kind of laughed. Then the guy is like "NO from the TABLE," which was true enough. We later sat down with them again. We learned that Jim and his girlfriend (we'll call her Karen) and their friend, the vegan (we'll call her Kate) are entertaining.
Jim has a very distinctive accent, combination southern drawl and someone very, very chill. In response to queries regarding what he does for a living, Jim tells us "I make teeth." To the understanding follow-up question of "how did you get into that?" he offered the clarifying explanation that he formerly worked in a tattoo shop, but doing piercings.
Karen asked if we both lived in town, and upon finding out that Jason lives in Atlanta, all three of them made faces like they'd smelled something dead and chorused "WHY??" (coincidentally, he received this response not just from this group, but from almost every person we talked to at the event. I found this amusing and edifying.)
Jim learned that it was Jason's birthday, and when he heard Jason's new age, he stared at him for a second and then said "dude...I don't know what the h*** you're eatin', but I want some." This was flattering for Jason and amusing for all. (Mild expletive abbreviated for curse-sensitive readers.) It turned out that Karen, Jim's girlfriend, is a nurse, so we consulted her about Jason's sprained ankle. She examined it and began explaining proper care for such a sprain (/ligament damage), all while Jim is interjecting with comments like "dude, no, don't listen to that. you're FINE. just have a couple drinks and you won't even be able to tell. Ice it? Naw. This is just a bunch of malarky."
Eventually we launched into a discussion with Karen regarding swine flu, and she was adament that when a vaccine is available, everyone should get vaccinated, because last time there was a swine flu (in like the 1920's), it went away and then came back even worse. As you can imagine, Jim found this ridiculous also. His solution to avoiding infection?
"Drink scotch and don't wash your hands. I guarantee it."
You heard it here first, folks.