saturday we managed to roll out of bed at a decent time, decent enough to see the free screening of “monkeybone”, which was disappointing although visually fun. afterwards, chad and i headed in a northerly direction up to sonoma state university, where i may be attending graduate school. we of course toured the university library specifically, which blew me away. it’s got a frickin’ art gallery inside it! i immediately fell prey to the usual pangs of missing university libraries and just missing college in general. not who i was then, or where i was, but the whole process of going to classes and doing homework and learning. that’s something i’m really good at: higher learning. well, i’m not sure about the “higher” part but the rest is true.
we returned home in high spirits, hopeful for my future grad school endeavors. earlier in the day, chad had mentioned that he and chris wanted to take me out to dinner that night, and later revealed that we were going to a fondue place. i was so psyched! i once attempted to plan a get-together at a fondue restaurant in birmingham a few years ago, but due to an electrical storm it closed just before we arrived and we never reorganized the venture. since then, i’ve craved fondue but not known enough about it to just find a place and go. and i was being treated to dinner for the second night in a row, no less!
chris met us at home and we left at 19:00 for berkeley, chatting animatedly about the game along the way. once in berkeley, chad made a few wrong turns and we didn’t really see the restaurant before giving up and parking a few blocks away, hoping that we’d find it while walking. of course, it started to rain just as we left the car. we did manage to find the place, fondue fred’s, right on telegraph in a little indoor courtyard, and as we were walking inside i heard what seemed to be a hundred voices yelling, “SURPRISE!”
i screamed. my heart raced and eyes filled with tears as i glanced around the table at my friends. there sat atomicboy and lunesse, josh and jen, felina and jim, franÁois, stef and scott, jerry, darius, and dave. i literally could not believe it; my brain was thumping in my skull and i felt like i would burst from happiness. stef, the mastermind behind this evil-wonderful plot, was quick to note that heath and meredith were going to be a little late and that a few people weren’t able to attend but they sent their best. i was overwhelmed by the kindness and thoughtfulness of the gesture. you should read stef’s account of the surprise party; she even set up an evite for it! heath and meredith did arrive shortly, and then right after that, lara called heath’s mobile to wish me a happy birthday. the whole party was incredible; we had terrific fondue and lots of wine and according to felina, i was fairly entertaining. i am convinced that the best part of fondue parties is the forced mingling aspect; under the guise of eating you can invent yourself next to anyone at all and start chatting. being the guest of honor helps the whole socializing aspect, of course.
after decimating the food and wine and opening my presents and mingling a bit, about half the group retired to stef and scott’s hotel room for some orange muscat and more chatting. mostly i buzzed with the company, the wine, and the thrill of having my birthday wish for a surprise party fulfilled. on the way home i fell asleep and dreamed of the party lasting forever. it’s a good life when your dreams fit into your reality just so. a good life indeed.